BOSTON (CBS) – A lot of people have sleep apnea.
CPAP machines help treat it, but many people find them bulky and annoying.READ MORE: Gunfire At Ohio Vigil For Homicide Victim Kills 1, Hurts 5
Lots of companies have tried to make less-invasive devices. Now, a Massachusetts company developed one that might be the least cumbersome yet.
“I not only had sleep apnea, I had serious sleep apnea,” Kisten Balderston said.
That came as a big surprise to Balderston, whose family had told her for years that she snored.
“I didn’t believe them,” she said.
Most people don’t. With sleep apnea, there’s a blockage in the back of the throat causing snoring and choking through the night. And over time, that can have serious consequences.
“High blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes,” Dr. Jeffrey Bass said.
To prevent that, patients have to wear a CPAP machine that blows air into the back of the throat stenting it open.
While these machines work, they can be really annoying and many people stop using them.
“It’s just very clumsy. So, if you want to sleep on our side you’ve got this tubing that gets in the way,” Balderston said.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Brings Back 'Picnic In Your Park' Event For June
So, a Massachusetts company, called Airing, developed a device with no cords, no tubing, that’s battery-operated and disposable.
It’s outfitted with hundreds of microblowers.
“While they’re very, very small, there are a lot of them and when they operate repeatedly – many, many thousand times a second, it blows enough to treat sleep apnea,” Stephen Marsh, the president and co-founder of Airing, said.
Dr. Bass is a primary care physician and serves on Airing’s advisory board.
“This would be an absolute breakthrough in the treatment of sleep apnea. They’d find it comfortable, they’d be able to use it through the night and get the full benefit and travel readily with it. This would be an absolute liberation from current devices that are out there,” Dr. Bass said.
Airing is using a crowdfunding site to raise money to develop the prototype. So far, they’ve raised more than $600,000, but they could still use more.
“The invention happened. The “Aha” moment. Now, we just have to execute and to execute we resources. And I really like the idea of getting it from people who will benefit from it directly,” Marsh said.
Like Kristen, who herself made a donation.
When she saw the device for the first time she said, “That’s amazing. That would make life so much more livable.”MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Public Schools Plans For In-Person Commencement Ceremonies