Antwerp Multidisciplinary Sleep Disorders Centre, Antwerp University Hospital and University of Antwerp

Dept of Sleep Medicine

Johan A. Verbraecken
Medical Coordinator
Wilrijkstraat 10, B-2650
Edegem (Antwerp)
+32 3 821 38 00
+32 3 821 42 97
Research Domain
  • Methodology / Technology
  • Clinical
  • Instrumentation-Methodology
  • Sleep and Medical Disorders
  • Neurological Sleep Disorders

Laboratory description

Our centre, funded in 1979, aims at offering optimal diagnostics and treatment for all kind of sleep-wake disorders in adults. Our research focuses predominantly on pathophysiology of sleep-disordered breathing and innovative treatment modalities, like hyoid expansion, tongue anchor implant and upper airway pacing. Patient selection and phenotyping of the upper airway in OSA is of utmost importance, and is part of most studies. We participate in clinical trials like the Star trial (Inspire Medical Systems), vigilance drug studies (Bioprojet), and in many trials in insomnia and restless legs. Recently, we started trials on the evaluation of cognitive behaviour in OSA patients, on sleep misperception and on innovative bedding systems.

Additional Descriptors, Keywords

CPAP, MAD, upper airway surgery, pacing, drug therapy, cardiovascular consequences, personality, sleep endoscopy, functional imaging.

Key Publications of the Laboratory:
(1) Schwartz AR, Bennett ML, Smith PL, et al. Therapeutic electrical stimulation of the hypoglossal nerve in obstructive sleep apnea. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2001;127:1216-1223.

(2) Oliven A, O'Hearn DJ, Boudewyns A, et al. Upper airway response to electrical stimulation of the genioglossus in obstructive sleep apnea. J Appl Physiol 2003;95:2023-2029.

(3) Boudewyns A, Van de Heyning P. Temperature controlled radiofrequency tissue volume reduction of the soft palate (Somnoplasty R) in the treatment of habitual snoring. Results of a European Multicenter Trial. Acta Otolaryngol (Stockh) 2000;120:981-985.

(4) Hamans EP, Van Marck EA, De Backer WA, et al. Morphometric analysis of the uvula in patients with sleep-related breathing disorders. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 2000;257:232-236.

(5) Hamans E, Boudewyns A, Stuck B, et al. Adjustable tongue advancement for Obstructive Sleep Apnea: a Pilot Study. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 2008:117:815-823.

(6) Vanderveken OM, Oostveen E, Boudewyns AN, et al. Quantification of pharyngeal patency in patients with sleep-disordered breathing. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec 2005:67:168-179.

(7) Vos W, De Backer J, Devolder A, et al. Correlations between severity of sleep apnea and upper airway morphology based on advanced anatomical and functional imaging. J Biomech 2007;40(10):2207-13.

(8) De Backer J, Vanderveken O, Vos W, et al. Functional imaging using computational fluid dynamics to predict treatment success of mandibular advancement devices in sleep-disordered breathing. J Biomech 2007; 40:16: 3708-3714.

(9) Verbraecken J, De Backer W, Willemen M, et al. Chronic CO2 drive in patients with obstructive sleep apnea and effect of CPAP. Respir Physiol, 1995;101:279-287.

(10) Verbraecken J, Willemen M, De Cock W, et al. Influence of longterm CPAP therapy on CO(2) drive in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Respir Physiol 2000;123:121-130.

(11) De Backer WA, Verbraecken J, Willemen M, et al. Central apnea index decreases after prolonged treatment with acetazolamide. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1995;151:87-91.

(12) Verbraecken J, Willemen M, De Cock W, et al. Central sleep apnea after interrupting longterm acetazolamide therapy. Respir Physiol 1998; 112:59-70.

(13) Verbraecken J, Willemen M, Wittesaele W, et al. Short-term CPAP does not influence the increased CO2 drive in idiopathic central sleep apnea. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis 2002;57:10-18.

(14) Verbraecken J, Willemen M, De Cock W, et al. Relationship between CO2 drive and characteristics of apneas in obstructive and central sleep apnea. Respir Physiol 1998;114:185-194.

(15) Boudewyns A, Punjabi N, Van de Heyning PH, et al. Abbreviated method for assessing upper airway function in obstructive sleep apnea. Chest 2000;118:1031-1041.

(16) Boudewyns AN, Van de Heyning P, De Backer WA. Site of upper airway obstruction in obstructive apnoea and influence of sleep stage. Eur Respir J 1997;10:2566-2572.

(17) Boudewyns A, Willemen M, Wagemans M, et al. Assessment of respiratory effort by means of strain gauges and esophageal pressure swings: a comparative study. Sleep1997;20:168-170.

(18) Boudewyns A, De Cock W, Willemen M, et al. Influence of uvulopalatopharyngoplasty on alpha-EEG arousals in nonapnoeic snorers. Eu. Respir J 1997;10:129-132.

(19) Schneider H, Boudewyns A, Smith PL, et al. Modulation of upper airway collapsibility during sleep: Influence of respiratory phase and airflow regimen. J Appl Physiol 2002;93:1365-1376.

(20) Vanderveken OM, Devolder A, Marklund M, et al. Comparison of a custom-made and a thermoplastic oral appliance for the treatment of mild sleep apnea. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2008;178:197-202.

(21) Shivalkar B, Van de Heyning C, Kerremans M, et al. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: more insights on structural and functional cardiac alterations, and the effects of treatment with continuous positive airway pressure. J Am Coll Cardiol 2006;47:1433-1439.

(22) B. Shivalkar, M. Kerremans, C. Van de Heyning, D. Rinkevich, J. Verbraecken, W. De Backer, C. Vrints. Research Highlights: Structural and functional cardiac consequences of obstructive sleep apnea.
Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine 2006, 3(7): 348.

(23) S. Kiekens, V. De Groot, T. Coeckelbergh, M.J. Tassignon, P. Van de Heyning, W. De Backer, J. Verbraecken. Continuous positive airway pressure therapy is associated with increase of intraocular pressure in obstructive sleep apnea. Investigative Ophtalmology & Visual Science 2008, 49(3):934-940.

(24) J. Verbraecken, W. De Backer. Upper airway mechanics. Respiration 2009;78:121-133.

(25) WJ Randerath*, J Verbraecken* (*equal authors), S Andreas, G Bettega, A Boudewyns, E Hamans, F Jalbert, JR Paoli, B Sanner, I Smith, BA Stuck, L Lacassagne, M Marklund, JT Maurer, JL Pepin, A Valipour, T Verse, I Fietze. Non CPAP therapies in OSA. Eur Respir J 2011;37:1000-1028.