Sleep on it: Medical devices and wearables for sleep apnea treatment

May 13, 2021

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which breathing starts and stops. According to a 2018 study from ResMed, the disorder affects over 936 million people around the world. Men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women. Weight and age can also play a factor in the illness as can smoking and alcohol use.

According to Grand View Research, the global sleep apnea devices market was valued at $3.7 billion last year, and the market is only supposed to get larger.  Grand View estimates that the market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of over 6% over the next six years.


Types of sleep apnea

There are three types of sleep apnea, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea - The most common type of sleep apnea, occurring when throat muscles relax and breathing stops involuntarily.
  2. Central sleep apnea - The brain doesn’t send the right signals to muscles that control breathing
  3. Complex sleep apnea syndrome - A combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

 

Discovering medical device companies

We looked in Foundation for device companies focusing on sleep apnea. We found 84 companies operating in this area. The breakdown for those companies looks like this:

Sleep apnea device companies currently in operation as tagged by Foundation.

Tag Number
Apnea 2
Atmospheric pressure 2
Obstructive sleep apnea 8
Sleep apnea 18
Snoring 6
Total 84

 

Sleep apnea medical devices

We looked at some of the 26 medical device companies operating in apnea/sleep apnea/obstructive sleep apnea to see what they were working on:


  1. LinguaFlex, based in Pittsburgh, was founded in 2007. The company has a device called the LinguFlex™, a device implanted on the underside of the tongue during a 10-minute outpatient procedure. The device prevents the tongue from moving backward while sleeping so that the airway remains open. This product has not been cleared by the FDA, though the company does have five patents related to sleep apnea and snoring, according to our database.

  2. Nyxoah was founded 2009 in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium. Its product, Genio®, is a minimally invasive neurostimulator that treats moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. Genio stimulates the hypoglossal nerve bilaterally, helping to maintain an open upper airway. Nyxoah has three patents for the treatment of sleep apnea.

  3. AirAvant Medical, based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, was founded in 2016. AirAvant’s Bongo Rx is an Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP) device with soft nasal pillows that seal inside the nasal openings. When inhaling, small valves open and when exhaling, those valves close. The exhaled air goes through vent holes to generate EPAP, keeping the airway open until inhaling occurs again.
  4. ImThera Medical Inc., founded in San Diego, was acquired by LivaNova. Its LivaNova THN Sleep Therapy is an implantable treatment for sleep apnea. It provides neurostimulation technology and delivers muscle tone to various tongue muscles. This helps control upper airway flow. LivaNova currently has two patents.

  5. San Clemente, Calif.-based Somnera was founded in 2011. Its Somnera™ Positive Airway System delivers therapeutic breathing pressure to patients, providing positive airway pressure during expiration and during the onset of apnea. With this system, there is no continuous high airflow of continuous positive airway pressure and no humidifier.


Sleep apnea wearables

When we break our search down further, we found two companies that focus specifically on wearables for sleep apnea:


  1. Nukute based in Oulu, Finland, was founded in 2015 and received its most recent funding earlier this year. The company has two wireless wearable sensors, a tablet computer, and a cloud application. The patient wears a neck band/collar and also has an oximeter affixed to the wrist along with a sensor attached to an index finger.

    According to Nukute, the wearable sensors record various biosignals, including breathing, blood oxygenation saturation, heart rate, and sleeping position. Using a machine learning algorithm, all of that information is analyzed in the cloud. Doctors then receive the results and can make a diagnosis. Nukute currently has one patent.

  2. CardiacSense was founded in 2009 in Israel and received its most recent funding in early 2021. It has a watch that allows for self-monitoring of heart conditions and vital signs, which could be linked to sleep apnea. Reports are sent to doctors in real time.

 

Research across all of these databases was conducted quickly and efficiently using ResoluteAI’s Foundation. To talk to a real person about how Foundation can help your company or organization, please email us at info@resolute.ai.

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Lesley Pink

Lesley Pink, our senior digital editor/writer, has written across a range of industries including artificial intelligence, actuarial science, government, law, and financial journalism. She's a fan of the serial comma and mint chocolate chip ice cream. And no, pink is not her favorite color. You can reach Lesley at lesley@resolute.ai.