Bayfront Health St. Petersburg Announces Procedure To Reduce The Harmful Effects Of Sleep Apnea

New treatment for sleep apnea eliminates the need for a CPAP machine

St. Petersburg, FL – (July 21, 2021) – Bayfront Hospital St. Petersburg is among the first hospitals in Florida to offer Inspire, an innovative FDA-approved device that treats sleep apnea without requiring patients to wear a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) mask while they sleep. Trina Espinola, MD., the chief medical officer at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, and Julia Pfaff, MD., who specializes in image-guided and minimally invasive otolaryngology techniques, are among the first physicians to treat patients at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with this innovative technology.

“This is the first truly effective alternative to CPAP we’ve had, and we are very excited to be able to offer Inspire to our patients,” said Dr. Espinola. “CPAP is still the most effective and widely available treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). But there are many patients that can’t or won’t use it.”

Obstructive sleep apnea is a very serious condition that affects nearly 22 million Americans. It interrupts a sleeping person’s normal breathing rhythms when muscles surrounding the airway experience extreme relaxation, causing the airway to collapse and leaving the person without air for dangerous periods of time. The next morning the unrested person may experience drowsiness, irritability, memory issues and increased risk of stroke or heart attack.

Inspire is a device that is implanted under the skin of the neck and chest and which monitors the patient’s breathing. From there, the technology provides mild muscle stimulation to keep the airway open without waking the patient. Five-year clinical studies showed that the device reduced apnea events in patients by 79 percent and 94 percent of patients said they were satisfied with it.

To determine if Inspire is the optimal form of treatment, a patient must undergo a sleep study to determine the severity of their apnea and to consider all of the factors affecting their health. The implantation is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, involving two small incisions. Once the patient is fully healed, the patient will have a second sleep study to activate and adjust the device to the individual patient. Afterward, the patient can activate Inspire before they go to sleep, using a small hand-held device and then turn it off when they awaken.

About Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

The 480-bed Bayfront Health St. Petersburg was founded in 1910. It was acquired October 1, 2020 by Orlando Health, a not-for-profit healthcare organization with $7.1 billion of assets under management. The hospital’s areas of clinical excellence include heart and vascular, surgical services, rehabilitation services, neurosciences, maternity care and – as home to the only state-accredited Level Two Adult Trauma Center in Pinellas County – emergency services and trauma care.

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg is integral to the 3,200-bed Orlando Health system which serves the southeastern United States through 15 wholly-owned hospitals and emergency departments; rehabilitation services, cancer and heart institutes, imaging and laboratory services, wound care centers, physician offices for adults and pediatrics, skilled nursing facilities, an in-patient behavioral health facility, home healthcare services in partnership with LHC Group, and urgent care centers in partnership with CareSpot Urgent Care. Nearly 4,200 physicians, representing more than 80 medical specialties and subspecialties have privileges across the system, which employs nearly 22,000 team members.

As a statutory teaching healthcare organization, Orlando Health hosts more than 325 residents and fellows including more than 40 who are enrolled at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg’s OB/GYN, Family Medicine, Sports Medicine and Pharmacy programs.

In FY20, Orlando Health served nearly 150,000 inpatients and nearly 3.1 million outpatients. During that same time period, the organization provided approximately $760 million in total value to the communities it serves in the form of charity care, community benefit programs and services, community building activities and more. Additional information can be found at or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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