Tampa General Hospital, a private not-for-profit hospital in Tampa, Florida, has carried out what it claims is the first paediatric sleep apnoea implant surgery in Florida.

The procedure involved the use of an Inspire implant device to treat a paediatric patient diagnosed with Down syndrome and sleep apnoea.

Dr Abhay Sharma, an otolaryngologist from the University of South Florida (USF) Health, conducted the surgery with assistance from Dr Tapan Padhya.

The Inspire implant is a small device that is placed under the collarbone and operated via remote control.

It delivers electrical stimulus to the base of the tongue, aiding airflow and eliminating sleep apnoea symptoms.

The implant is designed to address the root cause of obstructive sleep apnoea and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this condition.

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It can be implanted in a same-day, outpatient procedure and work as an alternative to traditional continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

This procedure is for paediatric patients aged 12 to 18 with Down syndrome, who have moderate to severe sleep apnoea and cannot use a CPAP machine.

It could also be used to treat paediatric patients with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental conditions.

Tampa General Hospital Children’s Hospital and Women’s Institute vice president Melissa Golombek said: “We are proud to have been a part of this innovative milestone for the TGH ENT Institute.

“This is another example of Tampa General’s leading-edge approach to treating all types of complex paediatric medical conditions and is an indicator to the families we serve that our academic health system can provide their children with world-class, advanced care.”

Earlier this year, Tampa General Hospital broke ground on the TGH Behavioral Health Hospital in partnership with Lifepoint Behavioral Health and USF Health.