Baptist Health Medical Group doctor implants 100th Inspire Therapy device

Baptist Health Paducah. March 22, 2024

PADUCAH, KY (March 22, 2024) - Otolaryngologist Shawn Jones, MD, of Baptist Health Medical Group Ear, Nose & Throat has completed his 100th Inspire procedure at Baptist Health Paducah. Inspire Therapy is a breakthrough obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) treatment option for those who cannot use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy. 

Sleep apnea is one of the most overlooked health conditions that can have serious effects of an individual’s health and wellbeing. According to the American Medical Association, an estimated 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from sleep apnea, yet only 6 million are diagnosed and receiving treatment. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to life-threatening consequences such as vehicle and workplace accidents, mood and memory deterioration, stroke, heart attack and even death. 

Neil Ward was used to pushing through most days with little sleep as a small business owner of two successful businesses, Bob’s Drive-In and Neil’s Catering.  Ward tried CPAP therapy four different times before ultimately deciding it was not for him. “I just fought it and fought it and could not use it, “ said Ward. 

He became so accustomed to living run down until he saw a commercial on TV for Inspire therapy and realized this could be the solution to his sleepless nights. It was then that he asked his son, Baptist Health Paducah cardiothoracic surgeon Austin Ward, MD, about the new technology — a few weeks later, Ward had his first appointment with Dr. Jones. The sleep study revealed Ward was indeed a candidate for Inspire. “I was so tired. I quit breathing 30 times an hour during my sleep,” said Ward.

The Inspire device is implanted during a short, outpatient procedure. Most patients can return home the same day and take over-the-counter pain medicine to manage the pain as needed. Inspire uses a patient’s natural breathing process to treat sleep apnea. Mild stimulation opens the airway during sleep, allowing oxygen to flow naturally.  

To his surprise, the first night of using the device, there was a noticeable difference. “I did not really expect it would work as well as it did,” said Ward. “I had gone years and years not sleeping well and I think that first night I slept over 7 hours without moving and I couldn’t remember the last time I had done that.”

Unlike the CPAP machine, no mask is needed for this treatment. Instead, the patient uses a small, handheld remote to turn Inspire on before bed, and to turn it off in the morning. Ward jokes that although he is 65 and terrible with cellphones, even he can use it. “It was so simple, it was unbelievable.”

“This procedure can be life changing for individuals who qualify,” said Dr. Jones. “The Inspire implant allows patients who are unable to tolerate a CPAP mask an opportunity to sleep more naturally and still effectively treat their obstructive sleep apnea. This is critically important because the risks of living with untreated sleep apnea are so high.”

Recovery for this same-day, outpatient procedure is minimal. The majority of patients return to daily activities almost immediately, avoiding strenuous activities for a couple of days. Patients should make a full recovery within 1-2 weeks.

“I would highly recommend Inspire to everyone,” said Ward. “Because of my job, I push myself so hard and sleep was not important. If I got 4-5 hours it was good, but now I can go to sleep earlier and feel more refreshed for the morning and can work even harder.”

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and are having issues with using the CPAP, talk to your primary care provider to see if Inspire Therapy is right for you.