Published on May 26, 2022

Inspire Therapy a Life-Changer for New Lenox Man with Sleep Apnea

For many reasons, Edward Meyers Jr. of New Lenox hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in many, many years. 

EdEdward Meyers of New Lenox was the first Inspire Therapy patient at Silver Cross Hospital and says he can’t imagine living without Inspire therapy.

That made it rough getting up for his job as an electrician at Caterpillar in Joliet, as well as for life in general. 

“I couldn’t sleep more than a couple hours each night,” said Meyers, 68, now retired. “One night about 12 years ago, my wife Peggy noticed I had stopped breathing while I was sleeping. Good thing she’s a light sleeper!

“I scheduled a sleep study, and the doctor said I stopped breathing 46 times … in one hour! I said, ‘How am I still alive?’”

Some 25 million Americans go to sleep at night and don’t realize they may stop breathing 15 to 65 times an hour. They are victims of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), and it’s about as dangerous as it sounds.

OSA occurs when soft tissues in the airway collapse during sleep and block the flow of oxygen to the brain. The brain senses a lack of oxygen and wakes the body up just long enough to take a breath, then the body falls back asleep. 

Meyers was prescribed a home CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, which he said initially worked OK. But then he started having dry mouth and sore throats, as well as being limited to sleeping or napping only near the CPAP. 

Then he heard about another procedure called Inspire Therapy, which works inside the body with a patient’s natural breathing process to treat sleep apnea. Meyers called the number he saw on the commercial and hooked up with Dr. Rajeev Mehta, a board-certified otolaryngologist at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.

Dr. Mehta was intrigued when he heard a few years ago about Inspire Therapy, a procedure that would allow those with OSA to do away with the masks, while getting the airflow their bodies need for a healthy, good night’s sleep. 

Meyers turned out to be Dr. Mehta’s first Inspire patient at Silver Cross Hospital in November 2021. But first, Dr. Mehta performed surgery to open Meyers’ nasal breathing passages two weeks before implanting Inspire.

To be a candidate, Dr. Mehta said OSA sufferers must have been diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep apnea, cannot use or get constant benefit from a CPAP, are not significantly obese (BMI 35 or less), and must be 18 years or older. 

The Inspire device system, implanted during a 1 ½-hour surgery, delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, allowing the airway to open during sleep. 

Meyers said he needed to heal a few months before Dr. Mehta gave him the controller, which he said is easy to use. 

“When you’re ready for bed, you push the big green button, which turns the device on,” Meyers explained. “I can feel the stimulation move my tongue forward, away from my throat. Then it pauses for about a half hour to give you time to fall asleep without feeling that sensation. And you don’t feel it while you’re asleep.”

In the morning, he says, he turns it off, until it’s time to go back to bed for the night, or for a nap during the day, “which I like to do at my age.

“But I slept nine hours one night. I don’t remember the last time I did that. When you go to bed at midnight and wake up at 9 a.m., that’s a good way to start your day.”

While Dr. Mehta notes Inspire Therapy may not work for everyone, studies show 90 percent of bed partners reported hearing no snoring or just soft snoring.  

Inspire is covered by most major insurance providers, as well as Medicare reimbursement and VA benefits at select locations. Learn more at inspiresleep.com.

Meyers said it has been a life-changer.

“I love it. I can’t imagine living without it now.”

For more information, join Dr. Rajeev Mehta Wednesday, June 15, at 6 p.m., as he hosts a free virtual lecture about sleep apnea solutions, including Inspire. Register online at silvercross.org, click on the “classes & events” tab at the top. Once there, select “community lectures” and click on the link for “Sleep Apnea solutions with Dr. Rajeev Mehta and Inspire.”

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.