Evaluation of Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation Treatment in Obstructive Sleep Apnea

David T Kent, Kelly A Carden, Li Wang, Christopher J Lindsell, Stacey L Ishman
JAMA Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery 2019 September 26

Importance: Hypoglossal nerve stimulation is a treatment option for patients with obstructive sleep apnea unable to tolerate continuous positive airway pressure. This study evaluates demographic factors that may be associated with greater improvements in postoperative outcomes of interest.

Objective: To examine the association of hypoglossal nerve stimulation with obstructive sleep apnea severity, daytime sleepiness, and sleep-related quality of life.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Patient-level data were pooled from 3 prospective cohorts and 1 retrospective observational cohort comprising 584 adults with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea unable to tolerate or benefit from continuous positive airway pressure. The data were gathered from the Stimulation Therapy for Apnea Reduction Trial; a postmarket approval study conducted in Germany; the multicenter, international Adherence and Outcome of Upper Airway Stimulation for OSA Registry; and a retrospective cohort study from 2 sites in the United States.

Exposure: Hypoglossal nerve stimulation.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Severity of obstructive sleep apnea was the primary outcome. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) (<5, normal; 5-15, mild; 15-30, moderate, and >30, severe) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (range, 0-24; score >10 indicates pathologic sleepiness) outcomes were available at 2 to 6 months from 2 cohorts (n = 398), at 12 months from 1 cohort (n = 126), and at both times from 1 cohort (n = 60). Sleep-related quality of life and oxygen saturation nadir data were collected where available. Linear mixed-effects models were constructed to examine associations between clinical variables and reported postoperative outcomes at 6 and 12 months with study included as a random effect.

Results: Of the 584 patients included in the study, 472 were men (80.8%); mean (SD) age was 58.5 (11.0) years. Greater improvement in the postoperative AHI was associated with a higher preoperative AHI (-0.74 events/h; 95% CI, -0.82 to -0.67), older patient age (-0.10 events/h; 95% CI, -0.20 to -0.00), and lower body mass index (0.52; 95% CI, 0.22-0.83). After adjusting for these variables and considering all patients in the analysis, the AHI was statistically higher at 12 months than at 6 months (3.24 events/h; 95% CI, 1.67-4.82 events/h).

Conclusions and Relevance: Hypoglossal nerve stimulation demonstrated clinically significant improvements in obstructive sleep apnea severity, daytime sleepiness, and sleep-related quality of life in this pooled cohort of patient-level results. Age, body mass index, and preoperative AHI appeared to be associated with treatment outcomes, and these variables may explain some of the difference between 2- to 6-month and 12-month outcomes.


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