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Clinical trial underway for treatment of sleep apnea in adolescents with Down syndrome

An FDA-approved clinical trial is underway at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children to evaluate the use of a hypoglossal nerve stimulator — a technology currently available to adults with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that stimulates the upper airway to facilitate breathing during sleep — in a select group of adolescent patients with Down syndrome and OSA. A case report on the first patient in the trial — whose implantation on April 8th, 2015, represented the first time the technology has been used in a pediatric patient in the United States — has been published in the May issue of Pediatrics. The clinical trial will now be expanded to include four additional sites in the U.S.

Upper Airway Stimulation for OSA in Adolescents with Down Syndrome
Christopher Hartnick, M.D., examines Jesse Rivera, the first pediatric patient in the United States to receive the hypoglossal nerve stimulator implant.
Credit: Photo by Garyfallia Pagonis.