Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Sleep Medicine


Dr. Thomas Colletti



Purpose: This article aims to review the effectiveness, indications, and common side effects of hypoglossal nerve stimulation (HNS) as a treatment for patients with obstructive sleep apnea who are intolerant to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

Method: A PubMed and Cochrane Library database literature search was conducted with search terms hypoglossal nerve stimulation, obstructive sleep apnea, neurostimulation, and upper-airway treatment. Twelve pertinent articles were identified and reviewed for this clinical review.

Results: Upper airway stimulation by electrical neurostimulation of the hypoglossal nerve is an emerging technique used in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and more research is needed to determine the best clinical pathway.

Conclusion: While HNS is not indicated for all patients with OSA, it is a safe and efficacious alternative for OSA patients not tolerating CPAP. Criteria are being established to identify the patient phenotype that leads to the best clinical outcome.

Keywords: Hypoglossal nerve stimulation, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Neurostimulation, Upper-Airway Treatment.


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