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J Thorac Dis. 2016 Jul;8(7):1820-4. doi: 10.21037/jtd.2016.04.69.

Short-term effects of a vibrotactile neck-based treatment device for positional obstructive sleep apnea: preliminary data on tolerability and efficacy.

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Unit of Respiratory Pathophysiology, Campus Bio Medico University and Teaching Hospital, Rome, Italy.



Positional supine obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) characterizes a subgroup of patients suffering from OSAS. Several devices designed to limit supine position have been developed, but evidences of their efficacy and safety are lacking. It is unclear whether a neck-worn vibrating device could induce positional change in patients with positional OSAS. We evaluated the efficacy of a neck-worn device to induce supine avoidance positional feedback over a short-term trial in OSAS patients and its impact on sleep quality and polysomnographyc indexes.


Twenty patients with positional apneas/hypopneas were prospectively studied. Baseline characteristics of daytime somnolence and risk of sleep apnea were screened and the efficacy of a 3-day trial of supine-avoidance therapy by vibrotactile neck worn device assessed by reporting the self-perceived change in quality of sleep and performing cardio-respiratory polysomnography. Comparison between baseline and treatment results was performed.


The neck device produced a reduction in overall apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) (mean AHI pre =16.8/h and post =4.4/h, P<0.0001), oxygen desaturation (pre =13.7/h and post =3.8/h, P<0.0001) and Respiratory Disturbance Indexes (RDI) (20.0/h vs. 5.2/h; P<0.0001).The time spent in supine position decreased from 62.1% to 33.7% of the total (P<0.001). However, the impact on the perceived quality of sleep was unpredictable.


The neck position therapy device is effective in restricting supine sleep, improving AHI and related polysomnographic indexes. However, at least in a short-term trial, it seems unable to improve the patient's sleep quality.


Positional obstructive sleep apnea; polysomnography; positional therapy (PT); sleep quality

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