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Personalising the treatment of sleep apnoea

Associate Professor Bradley Edwards, Institution: Monash University

2016 Future Leader Fellowship

Years funded: 2017-2020


Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a common disorder in which the airway repeatedly closes throughout the night and has serious consequences for cardiovascular health. While the gold standard treatment (to wear a mask connected to a machine that blows air into your airway to prevent airway collapse) is highly effective, it is poorly tolerated by many. Mandibular advancement devices (MAD) and upper airway surgery (UAS) are the most common alternative treatments. Unfortunately, a significant number of patients referred for these treatments do not respond and suffer from residual OSA with its inherent cardiovascular sequelae. Furthermore, current clinical predictive tools are poor at identifying responders to UAS/MAD and there are no proven additional therapies to offer those patients failing UAS/MAD therapy.

This proposal aims to
  1. investigate the effect of UAS/MAD on the physiological processes underlying OSA and allow for the successful selection of patients for these therapies and
  2. determine if patients who fail to respond to UAS/MAD can be effectively ‘rescued’ with the addition of oxygen therapy.

The potential outcomes of this research are that it will enable an individualised and effective mechanism-based therapy approach for the many patients whose OSA currently remains untreated and at great risk of serious cardiovascular complications. Most importantly, the tools generated through this work will also be immediately translatable to clinical practice.

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