Health Library


Nasal Disks for Treatment of Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Topic Overview

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a device (Provent) that attaches to the outside of the nose for the treatment of sleep apnea and snoring. The device, called an expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) device or an expiratory pressure resistance valve, looks like a disk. One disk is attached over each nostril. A valve positioned over the nostril does not block air that you breathe in. But the valve makes it harder to breathe out. A little back-pressure builds up in the airways, and that pressure can help keep the airways open during sleep.

One study tested the device on people with mild to severe sleep apnea. Results showed that it reduced the number of times breathing was disrupted while sleeping.1 Use of the nasal disks also reduced daytime sleepiness in the people who used them.

Results of another study showed that half of the people who used the disks had a measurable improvement in their sleep apnea.2 The device worked best for people with mild sleep apnea.

You need a prescription from a doctor to get the disks.



  1. Berry RB, et al. (2011). A novel nasal expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) device for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea: A randomized controlled trial. Sleep, 34(4): 479–485.
  2. Patel AV, et al. (2011). Predictors of response to a nasal expiratory resistor device and its potential mechanisms of action for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 7(1): 13–22.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
Last Revised June 25, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

First Nurse

First Nurse

Call First Nurse 24 Hours a Day for free health care advice, resources and referrals!

Ames: 515-239-6877
In Iowa: 800-524-6877 

Search health information online in our Mulimedia Health Library.

High Quality Care

Guardian of Excellence

Mary Greeley consistently delivers high quality patient care.

  • 2013 Guardian of Excellence Award for Clinical Quality
  • Grade 'A' Patient Safety from the Leapfrog Group
  • 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures ranking from The Joint Commission
  • Highest percentage bonus of any Iowa hospital in Medicare's quality incentive program

Mary Greeley on Facebook

Like us on Facebook

Patient Privacy | Net Learning for Employees | MGMC PACS for Physicians
Emergency Preparedness

1111 Duff Avenue Ames, IA 50010 - 515-239-2011 -

©2014 Mary Greeley Medical Center - All rights reserved.