Former Truck Driver Finds Sleep Apnea Relief After Years of Poor Sleep

George Boardman

September 06, 2022

George Boardman, from Beachwood, New Jersey, was used to feeling tired. For years, he attributed this to his time on the road as a truck driver sleeping at odd hours. When he was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea during employer medical testing, he hoped that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy would improve his sleep. Unfortunately, the CPAP machine felt claustrophobic to him, and after a year of trying it with no improvement, he gave it up and returned to accepting tiredness as part of his life.

But his symptoms continued to worsen. “I'd fall asleep at the kitchen table. I'd fall asleep as soon as I'd sit down on the sofa. Everybody was saying, ‘It's your sleep apnea,’” he says. George needed a solution that would work for him. When he saw an advertisement for an innovative sleep apnea treatment called Inspire, he was intrigued.

Inspire is an FDA-approved device that is placed inside the patient’s body to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The small device applies gentle stimulation to open up the airway, helping the patient breathe normally. Before going to sleep, the patient simply turns it on using a remote—no mask or hose needed. For someone like George who struggles with using a CPAP machine, it sounded like a dream come true.

The Right Fit

In the summer of 2021, George made an appointment for a consultation with otolaryngology specialist Thomas Brandeisky, D.O., at Ocean University Medical Center.

“Dr. Brandeisky said, ‘You’re 76 years old, you're in good shape, but if you don't start getting some sleep, you could have a stroke,’” says George.

Sleep apnea causes breathing to stop many times during sleep and can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure and heart complications if left untreated.

“When you have sleep apnea, your blood oxygen levels drop and your heart works harder. Every organ system is stressed,” says Dr. Brandeisky. “A person with sleep apnea isn’t sleeping well and neither is their bed partner. But the major health risk is stroke, heart attack and organ damage.”

Treatment for sleep apnea, such as CPAP therapy, Inspire and lifestyle changes, can improve your symptoms and lower your risk for complications.

Several criteria must be met to make sure Inspire and a patient are the right fit. For example, it can only be used with obstructive sleep apnea, not central or mixed sleep apnea. Patients must have moderate to severe sleep apnea, which is determined during a sleep study.

George completed a sleep study to see if he met Inspire’s criteria. He was diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea, reflecting the worsening of symptoms he’d been experiencing. He also met all other criteria.

Like a Miracle

In September 2021, Dr. Brandeisky performed an outpatient procedure on George, placing the device under the skin of his neck and chest.
Four weeks later, George returned to Ocean to have the device activated. It was started at a mild voltage setting and tested to make sure it was comfortable for sleeping.

George is happy with his decision to try the Inspire device. He’s lowering his health risks and sleeping better than he has in years. “The very first night, I slept for five hours without waking up. It was like a miracle,” says George. “I've been using it every night, and it’s getting better and better.”

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

 
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