Breathing: Sleep Apnea: Microvalve

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Microvalve Technology Description

 

Microvalve technology is a relatively new medical device treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.  It consists of two small stickers that are placed on the bottom of the nose when the user goes to bed. Upon waking up, the user peels them off and repeats process the next night.

 

The valves open when the user inhales, allowing him to breathe in easily. Upon breathing out, the valves close down increasing resistance. That resistance generates air pressure in the back of the throat, helping to prevent the airway from collapsing.

 

Fresh stickers are used every night and some people find that it takes some time to get comfortable with how it feels. The device microvalves are obtained through a prescription from a physician, and it tends to work for people who don’t breathe out of their mouth while they sleep, because if the user opens her mouth the air can escape and that negates the benefit of the device.

 

One difference between positive airway pressure and the microvalve technology is the period during which they function. Positive airway pressure generates air pressure in the back of the throat during inspiration (breathing in) and expiration (breathing out). Since the pressure builds up with the microvalves when the user breathes out, they are functioning during expiration (breathing out). 

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