Novel device for obstructive sleep apnea in Down Syndrome

Ellen Roche, Ravi Rasalingam & Tarsha Ward with David Vaknin, Daniel Gottlieb, and Fernando Deleon


Graphic depicting obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is marked by repetitive obstructions of the airway as muscle tone reduces during sleep. This team has created a custom-fit oral prosthesis with a pump that stabilizes the mouth muscles and prevents obstruction of the airway at night. The prosthesis could have a positive impact in particular on the Down Syndrome patient community, which has a high prevalence of OSA. Current treatments are cumbersome, uncomfortable, and disrupt the normal sleeping environment, leading to noncompliance among patients. Serious, long-term consequences associated with lack of treatment for OSA in Down Syndrome patients include impaired cognitive development, reduced independence, and cardiovascular disease. The team’s goal is to provide a therapy that is discreet, comfortable for regular use, and effective in reducing apnea episodes.

This project is funded by the Alana TTIA program at the Deshpande Center.

Watch Dr. Ravi Rasalingam present A Novel Device for Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in People with Down Syndrome at IdeaStream 2021.