CPAP (constant positive air pressure) devices work on a similar principle: To deliver a prescribed air pressure into a patient's airways that acts as a splint by keeping the airways from collapsing. The air delivered is just enough to push open any potential obstructions while maintaining a level of air flow that feels as close to natural breathing as possible.
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CPAP machines are comprised of three parts:
- The Motor, which acts as a miniature compressor. It works by drawing in air from the room, which it then pressurizes to the prescribed amount and is then delivered to the patient via a mask and hose. Most newer CPAP devices come stock with a heated humidification water chamber that helps keep the air being delivered moist to maximize comfort and reduce symptoms of dry mouth and nasal passages.
- The hose is simply the delivery system that transports the pressurized air from the motor to the mask. Most hoses are 6 foot in length making storing the device on a nearby nightstand easy.
- CPAP masks come in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes. Finding the right mask is one of the most critical components of quality PAP therapy as well as user compliance, which is why there are so many different choices for masks.
How is APAP Different than CPAP?
CPAP devices are titrated to a single set pressure setting by a sleep specialist after a CPAP titration study. The titration study is conducted after a sleep study test and is meant to find the exact pressure needed to set the machine to eliminate apnea events during the night.
CPAP devices use a single set pressure that may be difficult to tolerate (especially at higher settings), and doesn't adjust to varying pressure needs throughout the night. It is recommended to have your pressure checked every 18 - 24 months. CPAP devices with data recording capabilities may eliminate the need for repeated titration studies, and therefore be more cost effective in the long run.
APAP therapy solves this problem by having 2 pressure settings: a low range pressure setting (which is the minimum amount of pressure required to prevent apnea events), and a high range pressure setting. APAP devices detects on a breath-by-breath basis what pressure the patient needs at that moment to prevent apnoea events throughout the night.
Each person is unique, with his/her own unique pressure settings. Your pressure settings will be provided by your health care professional through an overnight titration study.
**It is important that your CPAP treatment is overseen by a professional