New physicians first to offer innovative sleep apnea treatment in the Quad Cities
December 18, 2022
Dr. Ryan Krogmann and Dr. Adam Schwalje join ENT Professional Services, PC with outpatient surgeries at Mississippi Valley Surgery Center
Two new physicians are seeing patients at ENT Professional Services, PC with locations in Moline and Davenport and performing outpatient surgeries at the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center. Both specialists come to the Quad Cities with diverse backgrounds and experiences that will help them in their practice. They’re also bringing new technology to the Quad Cities that could help hundreds of people – and their partners get a better night’s sleep.
Meet Adam Schwalje, MD
Before he became a medical doctor, Adam Schwalje was already a doctor of music. He earned his doctor of musical arts degree in bassoon performance and music education from the University of Cincinnati. As a professional musician, he performed with the Macau Symphony based in China and later taught middle and high school band students. But Dr. Schwalje never anticipated how his love of music would lead to fulfillment in another of his passions – science.
“Sometimes, your own life experiences can either draw you towards something or push you away,” he explained. “For me, I got very interested. My experiences drew me in.”
Since he was a child, Dr. Schwalje learned to live with moderate to severe hearing loss. He’s worn hearing aids since the age of four and relied on his own team of ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialists to help him navigate school and social situations and ultimately, become a professional musician. But they also inspired him to take another bold step – going to medical school. He studied at University of California San Francisco and then went on to complete his residency at University of Iowa. Through his medical training, he would draw on own his life experience as a child having trouble hearing.
“Empathy is what makes a really great clinician,” he explained. “Even if what a patient is going through is not exactly your personal experience, you can try to relate.”
Empathy and experience guided his research in Iowa when the pandemic hit in March 2020. When the country shut down, he started to research how to safely get musicians back to work, even with all the unknowns of COVID-19 and how it spreads.
“We brought in a large team of aerosol engineers, HVAC experts, building engineers, scientist, architects,” he said. “Our team helped several orchestras around the world implement practices that would allow them to continue performing.”
The University of Iowa research team developed guidelines around ventilation, distance between musicians and time of potential exposure. Their goal was always to keep musicians doing what they love and performing in conditions that made them feel safe, all while developing best practices for the future.
“It wasn’t until I went back to medical school that I realized how well music and science go together,” he said. “Science is what had been missing from my life.”
Meet Ryan Krogmann, DO
Dr. Ryan Krogmann returned to the Quad Cities to join ENT Professional Services, PC after five years in residency in Ohio. He grew up on a family farm near Clinton, Iowa, but he says his experience as a young athlete sparked his interest in the body and led to a career in medicine.
Dr. Krogmann earned his degree in osteopathic medicine from Des Moines University, then completed his surgery and otolaryngology residency at Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. This summer, he jumped at the opportunity to bring his wife and 18-month-old son back to the Quad Cities. Being present for his young family was also a big part of his decision to follow a specialty in otolaryngology.
It’s a broad practice that allows him to work with all age ranges and patients with a variety of issues from tonsils to head and neck cancers.
But one patient complaint he’s hearing more often involves post-covid complications like hearing loss and long-term trouble with taste and smell. Dr. Krogmann says there’s a direct correlation to those problems since the emergence of COVID-19.
“Fortunately, we can typically help those patients,” he said. “But it’s just a matter of getting them care in a timely fashion and making sure we intervene within a couple of weeks.”
Researchers haven’t found the direct connection between COVID-19 and those complications, but Dr. Krogmann says the latest information points to nerve damage, though the exact physiology is still being studied.
“There is a strong push for research and papers coming out every day,” he said. “We are staying on top of it.”
For patients experiencing acute hearing loss, he recommends starting testing within two weeks of noticing a problem. But when it comes to problems with smell, patients have more time. Dr. Krogmann says most people will regain those functions within six to eight weeks. But for patients who don’t, he can recommend solutions including oral medications or olfactory retraining. He says the most satisfying part of his job is offering solutions that improve a patient’s life.
“That’s a pretty good day at the office,” Dr. Krogmann said.
ENT Professional Services, PC has locations on both sides of the river where most treatment happens. But when surgery is needed, both Dr. Krogmann and Dr. Schwalje will be doing most of their procedures at Mississippi Valley Surgery Center (MVSC), the area’s largest outpatient surgery center located in Davenport, Iowa.
“It’s a patient-centered facility, and I think that’s really important. When patients come in, they’re in a vulnerable situation,” Dr. Krogmann said. “But the MVSC staff does a tremendous job taking care of patients. I have been really impressed with the entire team.”
Dr. Schwalje also prioritizes a comfortable experience for his patients.
“Before a procedure at MVSC, we want our patients to understand that everyone is there – just for them,” Dr. Schwalje said. “Everybody’s focused on the job, and the job is taking care of that person. We hope that level of focus is comforting to a patient.”
Outpatient procedures at MVSC also offer patients the security of more personalized care that can help them recover faster and get back to their normal lives.
“MVSC is a top-tier facility, second to none in the Quad Cities,” Dr. Krogmann said. “The quality of the team is impressive.”
New sleep apnea treatment
A surgical intervention, brand-new to the Quad Cities, could be a game-changer for patients with sleep apnea. Dr. Schwalje and Dr. Krogmann are leading the launch of Inspire, an implanted device that works as an alternative to a CPAP machine. Inspire is an FDA-approved treatment that works inside your body to treat the root cause of sleep apnea with just the click of a button.
The device is implanted by a surgeon during a same-day, outpatient procedure. Patient will receive one small incision under the chin and one below the collarbone. Some patients will also have an additional incision on the side of the rib cage. At bedtime, the patient clicks a remote to turn on the Inspire device, and it works while they sleep to keep them breathing normally.
“As you breathe in, it senses that you’re breathing in,” Dr. Schwalje explained. “It stimulates the muscles of the tongue to allow the air to actually get in, instead of collapsing the airway.”
Dr. Krogmann says he’s seen good patient outcomes with Inspire. He says it’s especially beneficial to patients who can’t tolerate a CPAP machine or those who can’t fit the machine into their lifestyle, like military personnel.
Inspire reports patients see a 79 percent reduction in sleep apnea-related events, and 90 percent of bed partners report there’s no more snoring at night.
ENT Professional Services, PC expects the Inspire treatment will be available to patients by the end of the year. To learn more, visit the Inspire website.
Getting settled in the Quad Cities
Both physicians are taking their time getting their families adjusted to living in the Quad Cities.
Even though he’s lived all around the world, Dr. Schwalje fell in love with the Midwest while studying at the University of Iowa.
“Iowa surprised us,” he said. “It’s a great place to raise a family.”
Music is still a big part of all their lives. His wife plays the flute, and together, they’re giving lessons to their six-year-old daughter. It won’t be long before their two-year-old daughter can join the band too.
Dr. Krogmann is loving parenthood so far and is settling into his life as a new dad. While he still helps out on the family farm, Dr. Krogmann says he enjoys living closer to the action in the Quad Cities, where he and his wife can check out new restaurants, festivals and explore the miles of bike trails.
“We just want to immerse ourselves in this community,” he said. “We’re having a lot of fun.”
Dr. Tyner and Dr. Dvorak retire after decades of dedicated service to the Quad Cities
Dr. Krogmann and Dr. Schwalje are joining ENT Professionals following the retirement of two highly respected otolaryngologists.
Ralph Tyner, MD retired from practice in June after 34 years. Dr. Tyner came to the Quad Cities after finishing his residency at Indiana University.
Douglas Dvroak, MD is also retired from practice after 27 years in Davenport. He studied medicine at the University of Iowa and dedicated his practice to surgical treatment of sleep apnea and complex ear surgeries.
ENT Professional Services, PC and Mississippi Valley Surgery Center thanks both physicians for their years of service and outstanding patient care.