Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation in Veterans With Comorbid Insomnia and Sleep Apnea

Reena Dhanda Patil, Michael P Hong, Stacey L Ishman
Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 2021 January 5, : 194599820982638

OBJECTIVE: Insomnia and sleep apnea frequently co-occur, with additive effects of both disorders presenting clinicians with unique treatment challenges compared to one disorder alone. The hypoglossal nerve stimulator (HNS) is a promising treatment for patients with comorbid insomnia and sleep apnea (COMISA), many of whom have positive airway pressure (PAP) intolerance. Our aim was to determine adherence to and efficacy of HNS in veterans with COMISA refractory to PAP therapy compared to those with obstructive sleep apnea alone (OSA only).

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective case series.

SETTING: A single, academic Veterans Affairs medical center.

METHODS: Review of clinical records, pre- and postoperative polysomnography, and clinical measures of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), sleepiness, and insomnia was conducted in 53 consecutive cases of veterans with OSA undergoing HNS implantation. HNS adherence was obtained at postoperative visits. HNS adherence and efficacy were compared between individuals with COMISA and OSA only.

RESULTS: COMISA was noted in 30 of 53 (56.6%) veterans studied. There was no significant difference between HNS adherence in patients with COMISA and OSA only (5.6 vs 6.4 h/night, P = .17). HNS implantation improved polysomnographic and clinical measures of OSA and sleepiness in both COMISA and OSA only, and 56.5% (13/23) of patients with COMISA self-reported improvement in insomnia after surgery.

CONCLUSION: HNS was successful in treating a complex veteran population with COMISA refractory to PAP when examining measures of treatment adherence and efficacy. Future studies of patients with COMISA undergoing HNS will examine effective combination therapy targeting insomnia and a multidisciplinary effort to optimize treatment adherence.

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