Inspire Medical Systems has been granted a patent for an implantable stimulator to treat sleep disordered breathing (SDB). The apparatus includes a therapy device implanted in the head/neck region, a microstimulator with stimulation circuitry and a rechargeable power element, and a control portion with a therapy manager. The device can be implanted in a non-muscle, extravascular location and uses a stimulation electrode array to treat obstructive sleep apnea. It also includes external components such as coils, sensors, and a charging station for wireless transmission of power and physiological information. GlobalData’s report on Inspire Medical Systems gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Inspire Medical Systems, cardiac activity monitoring wearables was a key innovation area identified from patents. Inspire Medical Systems's grant share as of September 2023 was 41%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Implantable stimulator for treating sleep disordered breathing

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Inspire Medical Systems Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11771901B2) describes a system for treating obstructive sleep apnea. The system includes a therapy device that is implanted in the head/neck region of a patient. The therapy device consists of a microstimulator with stimulation circuitry, a rechargeable power element, and a control portion with a therapy manager. The device also includes a stimulation electrode array and a flexible lead that connects the electrode array to the microstimulator. The therapy device is implanted in a non-muscle, extravascular location and is designed to stimulate a nerve to cause contraction of an upper-airway-patency muscle, thereby treating obstructive sleep apnea.

The system also includes a patient support external to the patient, which incorporates coils and an external power element. Additionally, there is at least one external sensor that senses physiologic information, particularly respiratory information. The control information for the therapy device is based on the sensed respiratory information. A charging station, located externally to the patient, wirelessly transmits power from the external power element to the rechargeable power element of the microstimulator. It also transmits the sensed physiologic information from the external sensor via the coils.

The patent claims various additional features of the system, including the integration of the charging station into the patient support, the ability for the therapy device to be fully implanted via a single incision, and the use of a non-conductive material for the housing of the microstimulator. The system may also include a further electrode mounted on the housing, and the patient support may incorporate various external sensors such as pressure sensors, accelerometers, or piezoelectric sensors. The therapy device itself may include internal sensors such as accelerometers, acoustic sensors, EMG sensors, or piezoelectric sensors.

The charging station is designed to provide continuous charging to the therapy device, ensuring that it remains powered. The rechargeable power element of the therapy device has a storage portion that can store enough energy to apply stimulation therapy for at least one overnight therapy period. The system may also include a hand-held external charging device that can transmit power to the rechargeable power element.

Overall, this patented system offers a novel approach to treating obstructive sleep apnea by implanting a microstimulator in a non-muscle, extravascular location and using external sensors and a charging station to control and power the device.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.