Jun 10, 2016 | By Benedict

Australian medical device company Oventus Medical will this month bring O2Vent, its 3D printed device for snoring and sleep apnea, to U.S. shores. The titanium jaw advancement will be showcased at the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine's 25th Annual Meeting and at Sleep 2016, both in Denver.

Whether through excitement, confusion, or fear, 3D printing has given us a few sleepless nights over the years. For serial snorers, however, additive manufacturing could soon have quite the opposite effect, by providing an effective solution to uncomfortable sleepless nights. No, we won’t recommend that you 3D print your own mattress and pillows, but we would recommend looking into Oventus Medical, whose 3D printed medical device could soon become one of the most useful over-the-counter treatments for snoring and sleep apnea.

The U.S. is a particularly troubled nation between the bedsheets, with an estimated 37 million Americans regularly suffering from snoring and an estimated 12-18 million US adults having sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. With this in mind, Oventus has left its Brisbane HQ and set its sights squarely on the States, where it will showcase its 3D printed O2Vent at two events in Denver this month: first, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine's 25th Annual Meeting (June 9-11), followed by Sleep 2016 (June 11-15), the world's largest scientific meeting about sleep medicine and research.

So what is the O2Vent and how does it work? The large majority of cases of sleep apnea are caused by obstructions in the respiratory system, in which case breathing is interrupted by a physical blockage in the airways, a common side-effect of which is snoring. The O2Vent, a 3D-printed titanium mandibular (jaw) advancement device, seeks to combat this problem by taking in air through a “duckbill” and directing it to the back of the mouth via a separate airway, bypassing any obstructions in the nose, tongue, and back of mouth. Each mouthguard-shaped O2Vent is custom-fitted to a patient’s mouth using CAD software, purportedly leading to maximum comfort and efficacy.

The 3D printed device, which was 510-cleared by the FDA in April and has been ARTG-listed in Australia, was developed by Australian dentist Dr. Chris Hart, Oventus' founder and clinical director. Hart’s invention may well prove to be the stuff dreams are made on: a clinical study in Australia showed that snoring was completely eliminated in 82 percent of O2Vent users, with the full 100 percent reporting “significantly reduced” snoring. The device proved particularly effective for people with nasal obstructions and who breathed mainly through their mouths.

“The recent clinical trial data strongly showed that the O2Vent significantly reduced snoring and sleep apnea in most patients studied, even in those who historically did not benefit from other treatments due to chronic nasal obstruction,” Hart said. “The trial also demonstrated that the device improves oxygen levels in most patients. A greater number of patients who snore or who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea but who are CPAP intolerant, now have an alternative treatment option available.”

After receiving medical clearance for the 3D printed product, Oventus initially released O2Vent in limited quantities in Australia. The company is currently scaling up, and will be hoping that the U.S. market wakes up to possibilities afforded by the titanium device. With the global sleep disorder market estimated to be worth $50 billion a year, Hart and his team will sure sleep soundly if their product causes a stir.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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