CINCINNATI — It’s estimated that 40 million adults in the United States live with the chronic sleep-related breathing disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea.

Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, is usually the first option, but at least one-third of patients can’t fully stick to the treatment.

What You Need To Know

  • University of Cincinnati creates VortexPAP to help sleep apnea patients get better rest.

  • Millions of patients have difficulties with traditional CPAP masks because of the fit, airflow, and sound.

  • VortexPAP uses a different type of airflow and offers different fits for the device.

For millions of CPAP users, the main problem is the fit of the mask, the flow, and the forced air.

However, researchers at the University of Cincinnati have come up with a new solution and technology.

It’s called the VortexPAP.

“The model that I am using right now is actually pretty good. It fits in my nostrils very well,” said sleep apnea patient Louis Brown.

Brown has lived with sleep apnea for a long time.

“I have no idea how long, my wife tells me ‘sometimes you don’t breathe properly when you’re sleeping,’” he said.

Brown has spent a lot of time with Liran Oren and Dr. Ann Romaker at the University of Cincinnati.

“Mr. Brown was our first patient. We tested him three years ago, and we brought him back now,” said Oren.

However, it took about ten years for the VortexPAP to get to this point.

“One of the biggest challenges was how to make it quiet because it’s very easy to pulsate air and create these vortices, but in a quiet way was a real challenge for us,” Oren said.

The VortexPAP doesn’t need a seal like a traditional mask and relies on vortical air to help a patient breathe.

With different styles available, the team hopes everyone can find a perfect fit.

“There are too many people who struggle with CPAP, and most of them it’s a claustrophobic feeling or a feeling that things are tight and not liking things on their face. Having this option, I think will really revolutionize care,” said the University of Cincinnati Sleep Medicine Center medical director Dr. Ann Romaker.

For Brown, his biggest problem is the tightness of traditional mask straps.

“I don’t feel any stress being pulled on my skin or anything. So I think I would be able to sleep with this a lot easier,” he said as he wore the VortexPAP.

For Oren, it’s a “dream” come true.

“It’s very fulfilling, it’s amazing. I’ve been working on it, it’s been my baby for so long and to finally see it materialize and all things come together…I always say, the first few years I figured out all the ways this thing is not going to work,” he said.

Brown is looking forward to the ‘night’ he can wear it.

“The only thing I need now is airflow and just to go to sleep. That’s pretty much it,” Brown said with a laugh.

The next step is to open clinical trials with up to 30 or 40 patients and submit findings to the FDA.

The goal is to have the device ready to hit the market within a year.

For more information on the trial, visit their website.