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New Sleep Apnea Device Approved by FDA

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WebMD News from HealthDay

May 2, 2014 -- A new device to treat obstructive sleep apnea has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The pacemaker-like unit is the first of its kind and stimulates a specific nerve in order to prevent tongue and throat muscles from relaxing too much during sleep and blocking airways, the Associated Press reported.

The device, made by Inspire Medical Systems, offers an alternative for sleep apnea patients who have trouble using continuous positive airway pressure machines, which keep airways open by pumping air through a mask that's worn while sleeping.

Left untreated, sleep apnea increases a person's risk of accidents, heart attack and stroke, the AP reported.

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