Sleep apnea treatment puts control in the user's hands

Jody Phillips has sleep apnea like many others. She said she feels better than she has in a long time.

"It's an issue with someone's sleep where they actually stop breathing, or their oxygen levels drop in their sleep at nighttime, which can have long term consequences on the heart, the blood vessels, the neurological system," said Dr. Julia Pfaff of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.

"My husband would say Jody you stopped breathing in the middle of the night and of course I thought he was exaggerating, and my family said you snore like a freight train," said Phillips.

Phillips said her sleep apnea affected her marriage. 

"I would wake up in the morning, and he would be in the other bedroom," said Phillips.

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For a while she used a CPAP machine, a common treatment for sleep apnea. But she said it wasn't for her. 

"I tried to use it for probably two or three months, but it was claustrophobic," recalled Phillips.

"Some patients have difficulty tolerating it just because of the idea of having something on their face and something that's attached to a machine. They feel restricted in their sleep position, they can't find a mask that's comfortable," said Dr. Pfaff.

Photo: CPAP machine on someone in bed

But now, Phillips uses a remote on a device implanted inside her through a surgical treatment called Inspire. 

"This provides a new option that's a surgically implanted device. A patient doesn't wear anything on their body at night. They simply have an implant that's activated with a remote before they go to sleep," said Dr. Pfaff. "It's designed to open the airway every time the patient initiates a breath and prevent them from obstructing from the inside out." 

Jerry Cole said he's noticed a difference after getting the Inspire implant.

Photo: Inspire sleep apnea implant

"It's been amazing. I went from 56 episodes an hour, stopping breathing, to five," said Cole.

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It's putting control in their hands.

"I sleep better. I'm more rested," said Cole.

"It will save your life and maybe your marriage," shared Phillips.

Dr. Pfaff said the implant changes sleeping patterns and improves energy levels.

"It's changed their overall well-being. It's changed some of their psychological and mental health issues. It's been remarkable to see the transformation that's happening in these patients lives," said Dr. Pfaff.

For more information about Inspire visit: or,