Electrical stimulation of upper airway (UAW) muscles has been under investigation as a treatment method for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Particular attention has been given to the electrical activation of the genioglossal muscle, either directly or via the stimulation of the hypoglossal nerve (HG), since the genioglossus is the main tongue protrusor muscle. Regardless of the stimulation site or method, an implantable electrical stimulation device for OSA patients will require a reliable method for detection of obstructive breaths to apply the stimulation when needed. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that the activity of the HG nerve can be used as a feedback signal for closed-loop stimulation of the HG nerve in an animal model of UAW obstruction where a force is applied on the submental region to physically narrow the airways. As an advantage, the method uses a single electrode for both recording and stimulation of the HG nerve. Simple linear filtering techniques were found to be adequate for producing the trigger signal for the electrical stimulation from the HG recordings. Esophageal pressure, which was used to estimate the size of the UAW passage, returned to the preloading values during closed-loop stimulation of the HG nerve. The data demonstrate the feasibility of the closed-loop stimulation of the HG nerve using its activity as the feedback signal.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Chronic nerve recording
- Closed-loop functional electrical stimulation
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Upper airway loading