There’s a new treatment for sleep apnea available in Phoenix, and Valley Sleep Center is one of just a few providers in the US to be approved to administer it.

It’s an outpatient surgery called Inspire Therapy and for many sleep apnea sufferers, it could be a life saver.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, over 25 million adults in the US have obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a chronic medical condition that means you stop breathing while you sleep. The most common treatment is called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

The CPAP machine includes a mask that covers a person’s nose and mouth (or sometimes just nose) and is connected to a machine that pumps pressurized air into the mask, effectively opening the blocked airway so people can breathe (and stay asleep).

The problem is that CPAP therapy doesn’t work for everyone. It can feel claustrophobic and restrictive, and for some people, just downright uncomfortable. As a result, many people don’t wear it, and continue to suffer with being sleepy and worn down.

Sleep apnea, if left untreated can lead to more serious health complications including hear disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, depression and even death.


“Sleep apnea can suck the energy right out of you,” says Lauri Leadley, Sleep Expert and Founder of Valley Sleep Center.

Inspire Therapy is an outpatient procedure that involves surgically implanting a neurotransmitter (generator), a breathing sensor lead and stimulation lead via small incisions in the neck and chest. The transmitter and leads sense breathing patterns and deliver mild stimulation to maintain an open airway and promote regular breathing.  Put another way, the transmitter and leads function like a pacemaker, but for sleep apnea instead of cardiac issues.

The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. For some patients, an overnight stay may be required. During a follow-up visit, the system is activated and personalized to the patient, who then controls the system with a handheld remote, turning it on before bed and off after waking.

Appropriate candidates for the procedure are:

  • Diagnosed with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea
  • Unable to use a CPAP or derive a consistent benefit from it
  • Age 22 and older
  • Not significantly overweight (BMI of 32 or less)

Inspire Therapy was approved by the FDA in 2014. Research has shown that Inspire results in a 79 percent decrease in patients’ sleep apnea events during sleep. It was also shown that Inspire therapy reduced daytime sleepiness, improved daytime functioning and resulted in soft or no snoring for most patients.  The first patient in the U.S. received the therapy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 16, 2014. Valley Sleep Center started providing this treatment in 2017. So far over 5,000 procedures have been performed in the US.

Inspire Therapy is provided as part of the complete sleep health management services available at Valley Sleep Center which is fully accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

To learn more about Inspire Therapy for sleep apnea, go to