Intermittent negative air pressure (iNAP) is a treatment for those who need an alternative to CPAP. Read about this new offering from Somnics.
You’ve probably noticed that the healthcare system in the United States is expensive, dysfunctional, and often provides poor outcomes when serving its population. Yes, there are many reasons as to why this is the case, but one reason is the inadequate handling of treatment for chronic conditions.
A chronic disease is one that a patient must live with almost all their life, or at least for a very long time. Most people think of diabetes, heart disease, or depression when speaking of chronic conditions. One of the least thought about conditions, but one that affects a huge share of the adult population, is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Untreated OSA can exacerbate comorbidities like COPD, obesity, heart disease, depression, and many more. One of the most common symptoms of OSA is excessive daytime sleepiness, which causes poor work performance, diminishes social life, and leads to vehicular accidents at work or on the road.
For decades, the main treatment for OSA patients has been Continuous Positive Air Pressure, or CPAP: a pump that continuously pushes air into patient’s airways, ensuring the obstruction is removed and the airway stays open. It works quite well if patients can tolerate it. For many patients, that is a very big IF. The bulky mask and noise, the cumbersome maintenance, being required to plug it into a wall socket, the dryness of mouth and throat, pain and discomfort from pressure of the mask on your face, the bloating…these are all complaints of CPAP users that make the overall experience miserable. Yet, to get their OSA and comorbidities under control, they must adhere to this treatment.
At Somnics, we believe there is a better way to approach the treatment of this chronic condition. Our engineers have designed and manufactured a small, light-weight device that is quiet, and battery operated. We designed this device with the patient’s comfort and lifestyle in mind. Our aim with this type of treatment is to make patients love it and use it night after night. We call it iNAP: intermittent Negative Air Pressure.
If a patient can breathe through his/her nose, iNAP is efficient in reducing the rate of apneas and hypopneas per hour. For those that question their ability to breathe nasally, we have developed a coaching program with tools and tips to get the patient on the right track to breathing nasally again. iNAP has been proven in many clinical trials to effectively treat OSA as shown in the table at right. The FDA granted us a clearance in May 2020 (Class II device) to treat all severities of OSA.
This is the dawn of a new era for sleep apnea treatment. A time of patient-centric medical care that understands that a chronic condition is best treated when the patient is motivated and willing to receive the treatment that is being offered.
Unlike CPAP, iNAP is a static pressure device. This means that the device has a small pump that will create negative pressure in the patient’s mouth. All the unsupported tissues, like the tongue or soft palate, will be pulled forward and upward to minimize the volume of the oral cavity in response to this low pressure. Once the target pressure is reached, the pump goes into an idle mode and the device is silent. Any leakage, or loss of negative pressure, is detected by a sensor, which triggers the pump to restart until the target pressure is reached again. Our goal is to have patients at the target pressure for more than 80% of the time. This means that 80% of the time the device is idle, it doesn’t need any energy from the battery, and therefore the Li-Ion battery of the device (like the one in your cell phone) can last for up to 6 nights without the need to recharge.
Our vision is to make an OSA diagnosis a non-event for the patient’s life, with little to no negative consequences for their lifestyles. Even better, this little device will get them back on track to a life full of energy, recovering from debilitating conditions, full of fun adventures, and free from annoying side effects.
- Need to go on a camping trip? Check!
- Bed partner is very sensitive to noise? Check!
- Don’t want the throat and mouth dryness? Check!
- Don’t want the bloating and stomach cramps? Check, Check!
As with any chronic condition, the symptoms and severity of OSA can evolve over time, meaning the treatment needs to adapt to stay efficient. iNAP allows for this flexibility through our companion app. Patients can download the app on their phone to both follow the treatment progress and (soon) to allow remote tuning of the device’s pressure by their physician.
iNAP has rapidly gained users since its commercial introduction in January 2021. We have close to 1,000 patients in the US and distribution in almost every state. The patient experience as a user is more comfortable, and we have made the experience of getting the device and being trained how to use it properly a user friendly one. Now our system allows the patient to receive the device at home within 7-10 days from the time we receive their Rx from their physician!
In an effort to constantly improve the patient experience, we are eager to talk to as many providers and patients as possible to collect their feedback on the iNAP experience. We appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions and address your concerns. Our goal is to free as many patients as possible from the cumbersome hassles of living with OSA. If you have any question about iNAP, you’ll find many answers here: https://somnics.zendesk.com/hc/en-us.
For patients who need an alternative to CPAP, read “Non-CPAP Treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea” by Dr. Jyotsna Sahni at https://dentalsleeppractice.com/non-cpap-treatments-for-obstructive-sleep-apnea/
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