A Method to Prevent Airway Obstruction in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Stanford University, 2005 - $20,000

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a clinical disorder characterized by instability of the upper airway during sleep, leading to frequent episodes of breathing cessation (apnea) or decreased airflow, during which the patient has a brief arousal from sleep that allows for the resumption of breathing. These episodes can occur 400-500 times per night, resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness that can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular events, stroke, car accidents, and premature death. There are numerous treatments for OSA currently on the market, but most of them have poor efficacy, poor patient compliance due to discomfort, and/or are very invasive. In response to this market need, this E-Team developed the Minimally Invasive Tongue Advancement Device (MiTAD), a tongue implant made of shape memory material that decreases the risk of obstruction during sleep by bringing the tongue upwards and forwards, increasing the cross-sectional area of the airway. The device can be implanted in an outpatient setting using a catheter-like delivery system: the implant is compressed and packed into the delivery system, then inserted by making a puncture in the lower aspect of the chin.

The E-Team believes its procedure is less invasive than current OSA treatments, provides for more accurate advancement of the tongue, allows the patient adequate tongue movement during speaking and swallowing, and comes at a low cost.