Find out how Disc Pump is revolutionising sleep therapy

Within minutes of discovering this micropump they knew their whole plan had changed

Disc Pump technology will play an enabling role in Sommetrics’ aerSleepTM system, which offers an innovative new approach to treating obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). The system, which takes advantage of Disc Pump’s silent operation and compact form, has the potential to transform the comfort of OSA sufferers worldwide. The aerSleep product is an example of how Disc Pump’s unique feature set can enable entirely new product concepts.

OSA is a disorder characterised by airway collapse during sleep, causing sufferers to stop breathing temporarily. The muscles supporting soft tissues in the throat relax, allowing the tissues to close over and obstruct the airway. Each episode can last 20 to 40 seconds, and in severe cases sufferers’ breathing can be interrupted more than 30 times per hour.

OSA can lead to daytime fatigue and vision problems and is often associated with depression, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension. It is estimated that there are more than 100 million sufferers worldwide, with more than 22 million in the United States alone.

The leading conventional treatment for sleep apnoea – continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – prevents tissue collapse by applying positive pressure internally within the airway. To deliver the treatment, users wear a face mask connected via a hose to a large bedside pump unit. Whilst effective in preventing airway collapse, CPAP systems are often uncomfortable, disruptive, and restrict users’ movement during sleep. Many CPAP users eventually abandon treatment due to the discomfort caused to their self or their bedfellow.

Conventional CPAP systems are effective at preventing airway collapse,
but the face-worn mask and hose tethering users to a bedside pump can
be uncomfortable and disruptive.

Unlike CPAP systems, aerSleepTM has no hose, no bedside pump and no face mask.

Sommetrics’ aerSleep adopts an entirely new approach to the problem by applying negative external air pressure on the outside of the neck to gently open the airway.

This approach improves user comfort over CPAP by avoiding the need for a face-worn mask; however, initial prototypes still required a six-foot tube to connect to the collar to a pump located on the bedside table.

We had already developed prototypes by the time we met LEE Ventus and we knew that our technology worked. But we were still tethered to a bedside pump, and that was a problem for us,

said Jerry Aarestad, Co-founder of Sommetrics.

From nine minutes after the time they introduced [Disc Pump], I knew that our whole plan had changed.

Disc Pump’s silent, vibration-free operation and high pneumatic performance enabled Sommetrics to integrate the pump directly into the soft collar within which the negative pressure is applied, eliminating the need for a hose and a bedside pump.

Tom Harrison, Business Development Manager for LEE Ventus, commented

Sommetrics’ aerSleepTM is a great example of the how Disc Pump can enable genuinely disruptive products. Silent operation was critical to enabling this wearable sleep product; in other applications it’s our millisecond response time or non-pulsatile flow that bring value. We are proud to have partnered with Sommetrics to bring this ground-breaking product to market, and we hope their success will inspire other applications of our technology.

aerSleepTM is worn on the neck and opens the airway through the application of a gentle
negative pressure on the soft tissues that it sits over. Unlike CPAP systems, aerSleepTM
has no hose, no bedside pump and no face mask.

Owing to Disc Pump’s unique feature set, Sommetrics has been able to deliver a product which promises to revolutionise the treatment of OSA, with the potential to benefit millions of people across the world who suffer from this debilitating condition.

Clockwise from top left: the Sommetrics aerSleepTM system as worn on the neck during sleep;
the product shown with its fully-integrated, battery powered, hose-less and wireless pump unit;
LEE Ventus’ silent and compact Disc Pump technology, which is at the heart of the aerSleepTM pump unit.