Do you know anyone with sleep apnea? Did you know they stop breathing from 10 to as many as 30 times an hour?
So that means they could stop breathing hundreds of times every night?
No wonder those with sleep apnea wake up tired and suffer from a higher incidence of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Plus, this is one of those conditions where the cure may seem worse than the problem, at least in terms of quality of life. A CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressurization) device has the benefit of being effective 100% of the time, but it has the disadvantage of being cumbersome, unattractive, and let's just say intrusive on one's social life, as illustrated by the photo at right.
There is a better solution, but almost no one uses it.
50 - 60% of patients could replace all that rigamarole with an unobtrusve dental device that provides Oral Appliance Therapy or OAT, as shown at left. Just think, your significant other wouldn't have to feel as though she were on a scuba-diving trip every time she got into bed. And you could roll over and walk around without discomfort and inconvenience.
But only a tiny fraction - just a few percent - of people with sleep apnea use OAT. The reasons are tactical: CPAP always works, and it can be fitted and tested in the sleep clinic. An oral appliance requires fitting at the dentist's office and then it may or may not work when tested at the sleep clinic. Lots of trouble and lots of expense for almost everyone involved and really, it's only the patient that is inconvenienced by the 100% effective CPAP device (note slight sarcasm!).
Zephyr is making OAT practical
Zephyr's new MATRx system enables sleep clinicians to determine ahead of time whether OAT will work for a patient, thereby taking the guesswork out of choosing between OAT and CPAP. Given that the therapies are similar in cost, we may see a dramatic increase in the number of OAT devices sold thanks to MATRx.
Zephyr doesn't plan to stop there: as the company grows, they plan to add a line of OAT therapeutics in addition to the MATRx tool. Learn more from their executive summary in Canada's AdvaMed2012 Simple Incubator or meet them and at the upcoming AdvaMed conference.
AdvaMed2012: October 1 - 3 in Boston
Zephyr Sleep Technologies is one of 18 companies in the Canadian mission to AdvaMed2012 that is being held in Boston for the first time this fall. The conference brings together industry leaders, international MedTech executives, business development professionals, investors, distributors and many others.
Disclosure: I have been retained to coach each of these companies on their pitches for the conference. After I coach entrepreneurs on their pitch, I often write blog posts about them based on what I have learned in the coaching process. Any errors are mine and mine alone.