PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The first-of-its-kind device in Oregon to treat sleep apnea was surgically implanted by doctors at OHSU recently.

Sleep apnea interrupts sleep through periodic airway obstruction which results in heavy snoring, pauses in breathing, even gasping.

This new FDA approved pacemaker-like device stimulates the tongue to maintain breathing and uninterrupted sleep.

“When you turn it on there is an initial pulse,” said patient Randy Everett. But the device “allows you to fall asleep.”

Depending on the severity of the condition, sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications which can affect your heart or brain.