CPAP machines are not all made equal. Before you take out your wallet to buy a CPAP machine, kindly spend about 5 minutes here to understand different types of CPAP machines and what makes them different from each other.
The differences mean so much to the success of sleep apnea therapy.
I’ll Explain, One-by-One
There are 4 types of CPAP machines, each with different functions, comfort level and clinical indications (determined by a healthcare provider)
Humidified CPAP machines – Pushes in humidified air to prevent drying caused by air in motion.
These are the cheapest CPAP machines you can get. Their function is to push air in at a set rate and pressure. This means that if you set the machine to deliver 14 breaths per minute (Normal breaths per minute are -12-20), it will deliver those breaths at a regular interval over one minute period
What is the problem with this?
The problem with these types of CPAP machines is that they do NOT SENSE when you are breathing out (exhaling). They will FORCE air against you when breathing out if their setting coincides with the time when you are breathing out.
This can cause a lot of discomfort and tends to wake up the patient.
Think about a patient coughing out when the machine is forcing the air in against a cough. This explains why these are the lowest in rank and of course, as you would expect, the cheapest.
These machines, unlike regular CPAP, has an added layer of comfort. It only pushes air in when the patient is breathing in. This means the machine will not push air against an exhalation or a cough.
This means a great deal of comfort to the patient when sleeping
What is the Main Problem With These?
Synchronized CPAP machines DO NOT detect episodes of apnea (missed breathes). They only detect an inhalation (breathing in) but may not be very helpful if the patient is missing breaths. Sleep apnea is the main reason why patients wear CPAP machines.
These machines are more expensive than regular CPAP but they are also rare to find. Why? Because the next machine takes care of all those features.
Pay attention to the next type of CPAP machine because it will make you realize why it is the best CPAP machine you can buy.
This is arguably the best machine you can own for treatment of sleep apnea and all other conditions that require Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.
Unlike the first two types of CPAP, this machine delivers a synchronized dose of air at a set pressure, rate and also detects episodes of missed breath (apnea)
This makes APAP the King of CPAP machines. Patients are put on CPAP machines mainly because of sleep apnea. APAP machine can be set at a rate of 14 breaths per minute and if the patient misses a breath, the machine will detect and automatically deliver a set dose of air.
APAP also detects the depth of the breath. Meaning, if the patient initiates a breath but it is weak and shallow, the machine will automatically take over and deliver a full dose of set breath settings.
If the patient is taking full breaths continuously (especially the first hour after falling asleep), the machine will not push in any air until the patient starts missing breaths or taking shallow breaths.
Some APAP machines come with an extra setting for BIPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure). This makes APAP the best and most cost-efficient machine you can ever own.
BIPAP machines are not exactly CPAP machines. They are required y patients who need better breathing support than what a CPAP offers.
Patients with conditions that decrease the elasticity of the lungs or alveoli surfactants (example, infections) may require a certain amount of pressure to be maintained inside the lungs after exhalation to prevent lung collapse.
On the other side, these diseases that cause the lungs to lose elasticity means, if the air being pushed in exceeds a certain limit, it can cause lugs to puncture (just like a balloon), a condition called barotrauma.
BIPAP supports both lower and higher pressure limits of the patient lungs. It is the reason why they are called Bilevel.
This explains why BIPAP machines are advanced types of machines needed for advanced and more critical ventilation needs.
Some APAP machines come with a BIPAP mode. Contact us to discuss your options.
BIPAP machines, just like CPAP machines require healthcare to prescribe the rate of breaths per minute, lower & higher limit pressures.
This is one additional feature you must make sure to observe when buying a CPAP or a BIPAP machine. Moving air tends to cause the mouth and nasal cavities to dry up quickly.
Having a CPAP with humidifier adds a layer of comfort and prevent infections. This is the same case with oxygen concentrators.
At GM-Medical, we focus on educating and empowering our clients with industry best practices without compromising on quality and safety. We carefully evaluate each person as an individual and recommend the best machine for you.