The Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation as a Novel Therapy for Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea-A Literature Review.


Mashaqi S(1), Patel SI(1), Combs D(2), Estep L(1), Helmick S(1), Machamer J(1), Parthasarathy S(1).
Author information:
(1)UAHS Center for Sleep & Circadian Sciences and Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.
(2)UAHS Center for Sleep & Circadian Sciences and Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder that affects all age groups and is associated with many co-morbid diseases (especially cardiovascular diseases). Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the gold standard for treating OSA. However, adherence to PAP therapy has been a major challenge with an estimated adherence between 20% and 80%. Mandibular advancement devices (MAD) are a good alternative option if used in the appropriate patient. MAD are most effective in mild and moderate OSA but not severe OSA. Surgical options are invasive, not appropriate for severe OSA, and associated with pain and long healing time. Hypoglossal nerve stimulation (HGNS), or upper airway stimulation (UAS), is a novel therapy in treating moderate and severe degrees of OSA in patients who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy. We reviewed the MEDLINE (PubMed) database. The search process yielded 303 articles; 31 met the inclusion and exclusion criteria and were included. We concluded that hypoglossal nerve stimulation is a very effective and novel alternative therapy for moderate and severe OSA in patients who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy. Adherence to HGNS is superior to CPAP. However, more developments are needed to ensure the highest safety profile.