Reena Mehra, MD, MS: Approaches to Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea


The director of the Sleep Disorders Research Program at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine offered perspective on the currently available interventions for OSA, including the use of upper airway neurostimulation.

“There are certain characteristics of patients who are more likely to respond to this particular kind of therapy—those who are less obese, for instance, are thought to do better. We’re actually finding, in relatively newer data, that increasing age may actual be a predictor of responsivity to upper airway stimulation.”

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is plagued by a number of challenges—namely, that estimates suggest up to 80% of individuals with moderate to severe OSA are undiagnosed.1 Although, while work is underway at institutions such as Cleveland Clinic to help address this, there are a number of interventions available which have shown success in improving patients with OSA.

Like so many others, Reena Mehra, MD, MS, director, Sleep Disorders Research Program, and professor of medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, and colleague are seeking to improve the overall state of care in OSA. In a conversation with NeurologyLive, Mehra provided an overview of the available treatments for the sleep disorder, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and upper airway surgery.

Additionally, she provided insight into the use of hypoglossal nerve stimulation, or upper airway neurostimulation, in the treatment of OSA. Mehra explained what research literature has uncovered about the treatment and some of the challenges that clinicians experience with getting insurance approval for such interventions.


1. Sleep Apnea Information for Clinicians. American Sleep Apnea Association website. Updated 2019. Accessed October 15, 2019.

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