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Saw this interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on a new snoring prevention device. I agree with Richard Schwab that there needs to be more studies in to safety and effectiveness if it is to be compared to the CPAP gold standard:

“A variety of nasal devices are being marketed for sleep apnea and snoring. Most of them are simple nonprescription “nasal dilators” that fit in the nostrils and prop them open to improve air flow. Those devices can provide some benefit for snoring but don’t do much for sleep apnea where the problem is in the throat, not the nose, says Lawrence Epstein, chief medical officer of Sleep HealthCenters, a network of sleep-medicine clinics and centers.

The Provent, which hit the U.S. market in 2008, is a patch with a tiny valve that fits in your nostril. The valve is open when you breathe in, but closes partially when you breathe out, providing a resistance, the company says, that results in increased pressure in the airway, which helps keep the throat open. While a nasal device eliminates the hassle of being tethered to a machine, some patients have trouble adjusting to the resistance of the valve when exhaling, which can give a momentary feeling of suffocation, doctors say. In studies, published or soon-to-be presented at meetings, 59% to 80% of patients tolerated the device.

Two recently published studies, funded by Ventus, have shown the Provent to be effective for those who can tolerate it. A study published February in Sleep Medicine looked at 59 patients who couldn’t use CPAP or were using their machines less than three hours a night. Of those patients, 47 were able to tolerate the Provent. Of those, 56% had their sleep apnea reduced to a level the researchers considered clinically significant. In those patients, the number of times they stopped breathing per hour decreased to 12 from 32 at the end of five weeks.

A 250-patient study, published April 1 in the journal Sleep, found the Provent more effective than a sham device in a broad range of patients who had never used the CPAP.

“I think there needs to be more studies,” says Richard J. Schwab, co-director of the Penn Sleep Center at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. He says he would like to see an imaging study that shows improvement in the size of the airway while sleeping.”

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