Milestone in Helping Sleep Apnea Patients

Published: Jan 10, 2022

The Inspire device gives Tampa General Hospital and USF Health patients a compact, user-friendly alternative to traditional treatments.

Tampa, FL (Jan. 10, 2022) – Dr. Tapan Padhya, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and medical director of Tampa General Hospital's Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, has completed a landmark 250th procedure of an implantable device that can significantly reduce the snoring and oxygen deprivation caused by obstructive sleep apnea.

The minimally invasive treatment works inside one’s body, utilizing a device similar to a cardiac pacemaker and activated by a small remote control. Padhya, a renowned ear, nose, and throat physician, was an investigator in the original clinical trial that helped gain FDA approval for the device in 2014.

A year later, he performed the first procedure known as hypoglossal nerve implant in the state of Florida. “This surgery has real potential to help our patients return to a normal quality of life. In fact, over 85 percent of patients experience a significant reduction in sleep apnea events,” Padhya said. “This procedure is just one example of how we are working to achieve Tampa General's vision to be the safest and most innovative academic health system in America.”

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that can occur when the upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflow. When someone with sleep apnea falls asleep, the muscles around their tongue and throat relax. Sleep apnea afflicts more than 18 million people, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and other issues.

The device that Padhya implants is placed underneath the skin near the collarbone during a minimally invasive outpatient procedure and turned on shortly after the procedure is complete. Electrical connectors beneath the skin deliver a small electrical stimulus to the base of the tongue when a patient takes a breath. “It gently pushes the tongue out to help the airflow,” Padhya said. “With an open airway, patients don’t have that struggle to breathe and can experience a more restful sleep.”

The device offers an alternative to the most common treatment of sleep apnea, a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. The CPAP supplies pressurized air flowing into the person’s throat, preventing the airway from closing. Some patients find the device cumbersome, distracting, and uncomfortable. 

Called Inspire, the compact design of the implanted pacemaker-like device can be a less obtrusive option. It is easily activated by a remote control before a patient goes to bed.

Padhya’s commitment to excellence in patient care was recently recognized by Inspire, which named him as a Physician of Excellence. The award honors Padhya for his focus on providing his patients with an exceptional experience.

Tampa General’s Sleep Disorders Center offers assessment and continuing care for adults and children suffering from an assortment of sleeping disorders. It is the first center in the U.S. to be accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). For more information on sleep disorders and treatment, visit the Sleep Disorders Center website.


Tampa General Hospital, a 1,041-bed non-profit academic medical center, is one of the largest hospitals in America and delivers world-class care as the region’s only center for Level l trauma and comprehensive burn care. Tampa General Hospital is the highest-ranked hospital in the market in
U.S. News & World Report's 2021-22 Best Hospitals, and one of the top 4 hospitals in Florida, with five specialties ranking among the best programs in the United States. The academic medical center’s commitment to growing and developing its team members is recognized by two prestigious 2021 Forbes magazine rankings – America’s Best Employers by State, third out of 100 Florida companies and first among health care and social organizations and 13th nationally in America’s Best Employers for Women. Tampa General is the safety net hospital for the region, caring for everyone regardless of their ability to pay, and in fiscal 2020 provided a net community benefit worth more than $182.5 million in the form of health care for underinsured patients, community education and financial support to community health organizations in Tampa Bay. It is one of the nation’s busiest adult solid organ transplant centers and is the primary teaching hospital for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. With five medical helicopters, Tampa General Hospital transports critically injured or ill patients from 23 surrounding counties to receive the advanced care they need. Tampa General houses a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center and its 32-bed Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit is the largest on the West Coast of FloridaIt also is home to the Jennifer Leigh Muma 82-bed Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, and a nationally accredited rehabilitation center. Tampa General Hospital’s footprint includes 17 Tampa General Medical Group Primary Care offices, TGH Family Care Center Kennedy, TGH Brandon Healthplex, TGH Virtual Health and 19 outpatient Radiology Centers. Tampa Bay residents also receive world-class care from the TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track network of clinics, and they can even receive home visits in select areas through TGH Urgent Care at Home, powered by Fast Track.  As one of the largest hospitals in the country, Tampa General Hospital is first in Florida to partner with GE Healthcare and open a clinical command center that uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to improve and better coordinate patient care at a lower cost.  For more information, go to

USF Health's mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the Taneja College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and USF Health’s multispecialty physicians’ group. The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News & World Report’s national university rankings than USF. For more information, visit


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