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Case Number 111098 - An Acoustic Jet Device for Sleep Apnea

Description:  Dr. Ephraim Gutmark and Dr. Siddarth Khosla have developed a device for the treatment of sleep apnea.

Approximately 15 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Portions of the upper respiratory tract collapse in OSA patients resulting in the blockage of the airways and reduced blood oxygen levels. As blood oxygen levels drop, the patient awakens and gasps for air. This cycle is repeated many times during the night. Left untreated, OSA is associated with a significant increased risk of cardiovascular events including hypertension, stroke and heart attack. Obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with a high risk for motor vehicle accidents; OSA increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents and is thought to account for 15-20% of the 40-50,000 deaths and almost 4,000,000 emergency department visits annually. Continuous Positive Air Pressure, or CPAP is an effective and widely recognized therapy for sleep apnea but is often under prescribed by physicians and under-utilized by patients. The positive air pressure prevents the airways of the upper respiratory tract from collapsing, preventing the apneic event. CPAP is efficacious but is not well tolerated by patients. Studies show that somewhere between 46% and 83% of patients are not compliant with CPAP therapy and remove the CPAP early in the night or skip use altogether.

The Acoustic Jet Device (AJD), developed by a collaboration between Dr. Ephraim Gutmark of the School of Aerospace Systems and Dr. Siddarth Khosla of the Department of Otolaryngology, has the ability to solve many of the problematic issues associated with CPAP therapy without compromising the therapy's effectiveness. Our technology circumvents the need to provide the tight seals required of traditional CPAP because it does not rely on pressurizing the entire upper respiratory tract. Instead the AJD needs only to be directed towards the nostrils of the patient to give a desired effect. Additionally the AJD has relatively low energy requirements to achieve airflows sufficient for therapeutic efficacy. These low energy requirements enable the AJD product to be run on batteries. In combination with its size, the AJD would lead to un-heard of mobility for CPAP patients who are currently tied to bulky equipment plugged into the mains. The AJD also has the potential to be used to provide improved airflow for patients with diseased lungs or even as a portable ventilator.

The AJD has the following advantages over current CPAP therapies:
  1. a tight fitting mask or nasal interface is not required;
  2. patients can open their mouths during sleep;
  3. minimal tubing and equipment allows for increased freedom in sleep positions and mobility
  4. selective pressurization of the respiratory tract reduces abdominal bloating;
  5. it is much smaller and cost significantly less than the current CPAP therapies.


We have a provisional patent pending.


For more information please contact Doug Nienaber at 513-558-3098 or doug.nienaber@uc.edu



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