Dr. Christopher Hart is a true innovator. Thanks to his inventive O2Vent Optima device, sleep apnea treatment has been given a whole new perspective.
Chris has been an adventurous researcher and practitioner in the search for better alternative therapy to cure sleeping disorder disease. Hailing from a dentist background, Chris possesses impressive expertise in the mechanism of nasal obstruction and mouth breathing.
As a victim of sleep apnea himself, Chris has been devoting to finding better sleep apnea treatment that would bring users greater benefits and convenience. The result is the O2Vent Optima oral device. The O2Vent Optima offers users comfort as it customizes user needs to provide a perfect fit.
The O2Vent Optima is impressively lightweight in comparison to the bulky CPAP machine. With no uncomfortable mask or complicated machines attached, the O2Vent Optima guarantees flexibility and mobility in user experiences.
It functions as a second nose that allows air to be directly delivered to the back of the throat and avoids dry mouth or sore throat.
The necessity for the O2Vent Optima invention
Kulture Hub: What inspired you to create the O2Vent Optima? where does the name come from?
Christopher Hart: Necessity is the mother of invention. I’m a dentist by trade, but I was also a severe sleep apnea patient.
Because of my nasal obstruction, I couldn’t tolerate CPAP and the standard mouthguard that just deals with the tongue flopping back wasn’t effective enough. Out of desperation, I made a mouthguard with some other ways that allows the air to get to the back of my throat, and to my lungs.
I had a network of dental clinics, so I started using it in patients. Over time, those planned expenses started to increase. I was going to forget the idea altogether until the previous CEO of the company of Anderson got involved. He took my prototype for the CSR, which is the Australian version of the NIH. Within 11 months, he developed the software design with a CSR on the 3d printing technology. That was the first O2Vent.
The vent was invented at that point in time. Optima is our 28th generation. And we think we have it right, the beautiful device.
“Mouth breathing is not favorable physiologically and nasal breathing is ideal. What we do is we offer to the extent the patient can breathe through their nose, they still do. But instead of switching to mouth breathing, we manage that mouth breathing by putting what we call a second nose in the mouth guard. So the lips are still sealed around our extended airway and the jaw position remains in place.”Christopher Hart for Kulture Hub
The O2Vent Optima oral device vs the traditional CPAP Machine
KH: How does the mouthpiece work? How is it different from the traditional CPAP machine?
CH: A CPAP machine stands for continuous positive air pressure. It’ll use a pump, and a hose and a mask to splint the airway to inflate it basically, with positive air pressure. Unfortunately, many patients can’t tolerate its quite uncomfortable feeling and being tethered and claustrophobic and noises and leaks and abrasions on the face.
With our technology, instead of pumping the air in, we have an air channel within the mouth guard and the jaw position remains where it should be. With a mouth guard maintaining that stable jaw position, the patient breathes through the nose as they normally would but receive her pain with standard mouth guards.
Now instead of banning therapy, treatment actually improves if the patient’s nose congests to the point where they’d normally switch to mouth breathing.
KH: What are the reasons that you’ve seen CPAP machine as not effective in treating sleep apnea?
CH: I think CPAP is very effective, there’s no question that it splits the airway by pumping air and keeps it open.
But it’s the problems with adherence. It’s the feeling of being waterboarded with something strapped to the face and being tethered to a machine feeling of claustrophobia. It’s the lack of portability and abrasions on the face that leaks noises, waking up the bed partner and not being able to shift your sleeping position.
Potential risks of sleep apnea if not properly treated
KH: If sleep apnea is not properly treated, what kind of risks might patient encounter in the future?
CH: There are some very significant long term health effects as well as the socioeconomic effects. Health wise, you know, hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, increased cardiovascular risk, and then obviously increased risk of workplace accidents.
There is a shortening of life expectancy with untreated sleep apnea, particularly given that it leads to hypoxia, or our oxygen levels in the body.
A design based off of personal dental experiences
KH: How much did the devices designing and prototyping process actually benefit from your background as a dentist?
CH: All the device wouldn’t exist if I wasn’t a dentist. It wouldn’t exist if I was in a severe sleep apnea with narrow obstruction either. I was shown that 82% of patients that have sleep apnea, also suffer from nasal obstruction the way I do and we switch to mouth breathing.
But had I not been in that situation myself and being a dentist, there wouldn’t have been the opportunity to develop the technology. As I said before, necessity is the mother of invention. And I think it was quite fortuitous that I was working in the field and was desperate to fix my own problem. So that is absolutely critical to the development of technology.
Usage of the O2Vent Optima in the age of Covid-19
KH: How has COVID-19 affected users’ experiences with the device?
CH: We have had patients who actually have worn the device during the day. One physician in particular, who believes that the event actually helped him tremendously during COVID. It helped him to breathe even while he’s away.
The other thing that has arisen out of COVID is that, you know, a lot of respiratory clinics, obviously, this is a respiratory pandemic, so many of them shut down, and some of them haven’t reopened.We were then forced to develop our own virtual clinical models. So we can now actually treat patients anywhere, anytime, with a totally remote patient workflow.
Obviously, it’s been terribly difficult for us and many other people working in the respiratory space. But there certainly is a silver lining to that cloud. I think it’s presented a remarkable opportunity for us to help many more patients.
The future for Hart and treating sleep apnea
KH: What do you hope the future of your company and curing sleep apnea looks like?
CH: In terms of the company and the future, we have arguably the most effective treatment on the market and and now that we have access, or we can give access to patients globally and affordably, I think that we would like to help as many people as we possibly can with this disorder.
And now we talk about freedom, freedom to sleep anywhere, anytime, anywhere, and having that safe app in your pocket, allows patients to get their freedom and their lifestyle back while managing the medical risk of very serious health conditions.Christopher Hart for Kulture Hub
What can the O2Vent Optima and solving sleep apnea mean to society?
It was a learning experience talking to Chris. Thanks to his generous sharing of his professional knowledge and insights, we are introduced to such beneficial technology that can bring profound changes to patients who have been suffering from sleep apnea.
Besides Chris, we also reached out to Todd Goodstein, a sales engineer from Philly, whose life has greatly benefited from the O2Vent Optima. This small mouthguard has helped treat his UARS and largely improved his sleeping quality.
Todd now happily reunites with his wife after years of sleeping in separate bedrooms; he wakes up with more energy throughout the day. Since the device is fairly portable, Todd travels with it everywhere.
The O2Vent Optima is a significant innovation of the time. It is truly out-of-the-box thinking, free from the traditional machine form and size, and offers its users a convenient, simple, and portable option.
The invention of the groundbreaking O2Vent Optima enables patients to reclaim normal lives and reunite with their families. The advanced technology of the device indeed promises a significant and creative breakthrough in the industry as well.