January 28, 2023

Your doctor could suggest positive airway pressure (PAP) devices if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea in order to keep your airway open while you sleep.

You wear a mask over your nose and occasionally your mouth with these devices attached to it. PAP devices deliver air as you sleep at a pressure that is just high enough to keep your upper airway from collapsing. You can breathe easily and fall asleep without having to wake up thanks to this.

You may already be familiar with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and the Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP) if you currently use CPAP therapy or believe you need it (APAP). We’ll discuss what a BiPAP and CPAP machine is, how it functions, and the distinctions in this article.

CPAP Therapy

The most common form of therapy for obstructive sleep apnea is using a machine that keeps your airway open while you sleep. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can be used to accomplish this.

Depending on your demands, a doctor will frequently choose the pressure level for this airflow. Depending on your risk factors, including your anatomy and weight, this may be assessed as part of a sleep study or calculated. In addition to lowering the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) below five and alleviating other sleep apnea symptoms, an effective pressure setting is intended to stop snoring as well as apnea.

While you’re trying to exhale, the pressure may occasionally continue to apply, giving you the impression that you’re choking. Reduce the pressure rate as a possible solution. Your doctor could advise using an APAP or BiPAP machine if this doesn’t improve things.

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An linked therapy is known as AutoCPAP, or APAP, in which the device provides a variety of pressures. The pressure applied will automatically adjust within a set range if resistance in the upper airway is detected (at the level of the soft palate or base of the tongue in the neck).

APAP Therapy

In response to a change in airflow, an auto-adjustable positive airway pressure (APAP) machine raises or lowers the level of positive airway pressure. It operates between 4 and 20 cmH2O pressure settings, giving you freedom to choose your preferred pressure range. With the help of these varied pressures, the machine can automatically adapt to your changing pressure requirements when you change positions as you sleep or go through different stages of sleep.

To enable regular breathing while sleeping, the APAP machine automatically raises pressure as needed. This equipment boosts pressure just enough to restore regular breathing when you have OSA. While you sleep, the machine’s air pressure changes as necessary to maintain an open airway.

BiPAP Therapy

The term “bilevel” describes the fact that there are really two pressures, which the machine may switch between. A BiPAP machine is a type of PAP treatment equipment that has two pressure settings: one for inhalation and another for exhalation.

BiPAP therapy uses two pressures instead of the single pressure that CPAP typically uses: an inhale pressure and an exhale pressure. IPAP (inhalation positive airway pressure) and EPAP (exhalation positive airway pressure) are the names of these two pressures (EPAP).

Although it may resemble an APAP device that automatically adjusts based on a user’s breathing, this system is more sophisticated. A BiPAP machine is often only prescribed to people with certain types of sleep disorders, including Central Sleep Apnea, Complex Sleep Apnea, Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

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When compared to CPAP, which only offers one air pressure setting, BiPAP allows for a difference in inspiratory and expiratory pressures. This implies that your doctor may recommend two air pressures: one for inhalation (often greater than a regular CPAP will allow) and one for expiration (typically lower).

Sleeping with a BiPAP is essentially equivalent to sleeping with a CPAP. An air compressor and a motor are present in both devices (and an included or optional humidifier to moisten your therapy air). The room air used by the BiPAP is introduced, filtered, and compressed. You wear a CPAP mask while you sleep to provide the pressured air to your airway through tubing. When you’re sleeping, this air acts as a splint to keep your collapsed airway open.

Difference between CPAP and BiPAP Therapy

  • BiPAP devices are programmed with two separate pressures—one for breathing and one for exhaling—in contrast to CPAP machines, which are set at a single pressure for both inhalation and exhalation.
  • BiPAP devices are used to treat Central Sleep Apnea, Complex Sleep Apnea, or COPD, while CPAP machines are often used to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
  • If you suffer from one of these types of sleep apnea, utilising BiPAP is your main option. The only therapeutic equipment that can prompt you to breathe in case you stop breathing for these two of the three forms of sleep apnea is a BiPAP.
  • There are travel-friendly CPAP machines but no ultra-portable BiPAP devices.
  • Centimetres of water column, or cmH2O for short, are used to measure the pressure of PAP machines. Only 20 cmH2O may be dialled into CPAP and APAP equipment. BiPAP machines have an upper limit of 25. It’s likely that you need greater PAP air pressures to adequately cure your sleep apnea if your oxygen levels are low.
  • When a person has both COPD and any sort of sleep apnea, it is referred to as overlap syndrome. A BiPAP can be used to address a number of overlap syndrome-related possible health concerns.
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Wearers of sleep apnea who also suffer from other breathing-related conditions, such as COPD or obesity hypoventilation syndrome, may find the pressure gradient to be beneficial. By drawing in more oxygen and expelling more CO2, the dual pressure function helps you to enhance your gas exchange. For patients with sleep apnea who are unable to adhere to or tolerate the higher air pressures of CPAP therapy, a BiPAP is a viable alternative treatment. A BiPAP always provides a better and more comfortable therapy than a CPAP Machine.