Leading sleep centers estimate that one in five veterans experience sleep apnea, a rate of OSA that is four times higher than in the general U.S. population.
A condition in which the flow of air pauses or decreases during breathing while you are asleep because the airway has become narrowed, blocked, or floppy. A pause in breathing is called an apnea episode. A decrease in airflow during breathing is called a hypopnea episode. Almost everyone has brief apnea episodes while they sleep.
Ventus Medical, maker of Provent Therapy, today announced the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has granted a multi-year, Federal Supply Schedule contract that would expand access to Provent Therapy among veterans.
It's estimated more than four million U.S. veterans suffer from OSA, with a 61 percent increase of diagnoses between 2008 and 2010.
Experts attribute that to an enhanced awareness of OSA, and exposure to dust and sand in Afghanistan and Iraq which may compromise respiratory health. People with OSA stop breathing multiple times each hour during sleep, often for ten seconds or longer. They frequently don't recognize the symptoms, but their bed partner complains of loud snoring and long pauses in breathing.
"OSA is a chronic condition creating a significant burden on the Veterans Healthcare System. While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a safe and effective treatment, a substantial percentage of veterans don't accept or adhere to this treatment," said Richard B. Berry, M.D., Professor of Medicine at University of Florida. "There is a great need for access to new, clinically-proven therapies - particularly easy-to-use treatments - for the increasing number of veterans with obstructive sleep apnea."
One of them is retired Air Force fighter pilot Colonel Win Reither, who is married with five children. Despite being slim and fit, he was diagnosed with OSA in late spring 2011. After completing a sleep test that documented mild to moderate sleep apnea, he was prescribed a pressurized CPAP mask to wear during sleep.
"I tried the CPAP device and it reminded me of the oxygen mask I wore in F-102 fighters," said Reither from his home in Virginia. "I didn't mind a bulky mask in the jet, but sleeping with one was a nightmare. All those tubes and the pump chugging away at night weren't for me. My doctor offered Provent as an alternative and I've been sleeping great ever since."
OSA is associated with serious medical conditions including high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, stroke and diabetes, as well as an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to sleep deprivation. People with moderate to severe OSA are almost five times as likely to suffer from heart disease, and have up to 10 times as many motor vehicle accidents compared with people who don't have OSA.
"Leading sleep centers estimate that one in five veterans experience sleep apnea, a rate of OSA that is four times higher than in the general U.S. population," said Peter Wyles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ventus Medical, and former U.S. Marine. "We're pleased to offer a clinically-proven solution to the millions of veterans who have served our country, but currently go untreated with this serious condition."