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‘Good vibrations’: positional treatments for obstructive sleep apnoea
  1. Raphael Heinzer
  1. Center for Investigation and Research in Sleep, CHUV, Lausanne 1011, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Raphael Heinzer, Center for Investigation and Research in Sleep, CHUV, Lausanne 1011, Switzerland; Raphael.heinzer{at}

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Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is at least twice more severe in the supine position compared with the non-supine positions in about three quarters of patients with OSA.1 About one-third of them even have ‘exclusively positional’ sleep apnoea with normal apnoea–hypopnoea index (AHI) in the non-supine positions, which makes them accessible to positional treatment (PT). Until recently, most PT devices were derived from the traditional ‘tennis ball technique’, which makes the supine position uncomfortable and stimulate patients to sleep on their side. There are plenty of such devices on the market, but they are by essence uncomfortable, and their long-term usage was reported to be very low.2

A new generation of ‘active’ PT was developed in recent years. It consists of small electronic devices worn either at the neck or at the chest level, which vibrate when the patients are in the supine position until they turn to their side. Several …

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  • Contributors RH wrote this editorial.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests RH is a member of the medical advisory board of Nightbalance (Philips), which develops and sells a positional therapy device. He is also a medical advisory board member of Dreem company. He has received speakers fees from Philips and Resmed companies.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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