SleepZone FAQs

Some Frequently asked Questions relating to CPAP machines

Question:
How does the CPAP machine and masking work for me?.
Answer:
The CPAP machine forces air to flow via a nasal mask to your lungs, keeping the airway open with continual positive flow acting as a type of airway splint,the pressure is determined during a Sleep study prescribed for your individual condition on your Respiratory Specialist's recommendations. At bedtime the CPAP machine is switched on when you are ready to go sleep and the mask is fitted to your face. A nasal mask does not cover your mouth, just the nose. Alternatively, their may be a full face mask that may be prescribed by your specialist particularly if you have nasal obstructions and breath habitually through your mouth. The machine operates all night delivering the pressure required to keep your airways open thus preventing apneas or cessation of breathing.

Question:
Are there different types of CPAP machines?.
Answer:
There a three types of CPAP machines
  • The constant pressure CPAP machine . This machine can be started with a pressure ramping feature delivering increasing pressure over a selected time period until the user goes to sleep. at the end of this ramping period the machine is delivering the continuous prescribed pressure and continues to do so until the user either reactivates the ramp (some machines have continual ramping), these machines are most suitable for patients on low to moderate pressures, this is not a set guide as some CPAP users on very high pressures approaching 20 CMH20 cope with and prefer the high continuous pressure.
  • "Self titrating CPAP machines" these machines go also by the names of "Automatic" or "Smart CPAPs" the major difference to the constant pressure CPAP machine is that they deliver the lowest possible pressures to "stop" an "event" whether this event be an apnea ( closure of the airway) or hypopnea (partial closure of the airway) The "Smart CPAPs" respond by detecting airway instability the self titrating CPAP system utilizers an algorythmn that users a pressure transducer and microprosessor to monitor the airway for flow limitation and /or vibration patterns (snoring) the machine then delivers the required predicted pressure to "stop" the event with no interuption of sleep to the user.The "Smart CPAP's are becoming more popular particularly for users who find it extremely difficult to cope with high constant CPAP pressures. Our experience shows that female users find the treatment more tolerable.
  • "BILEVEL" or "BIPAP' CPAP 's . These machines administer dual pressure levels , one for inhalation and one for exhalation both these pressures can be adjusted to enhance the machines performance. They are generally prescribed for patients on very high pressures which are difficult for the patient to tolerate or where a ventilating effect is required the user breathes in a set inspiratory pressure and breaths out against a lower pressure also set into the machine. These machines vary in their features , some have timed responses ( breaths per minute)or spontaneous (on breath demand ) some machines are both timed and spontaneous. they are much more expensive than either the constant CPAP or Smart self titrating CPAP. Your Respiratory specialist will prescribe these machines if they are required.

Question:
Just exactly what is a CPAP machine and what does CPAP mean ?.
Answer:
Let us start with the name CPAP "CEE" "PAP" the name of the appliance is derived from a pressure of flow measurements expressed in CM H20 ( centimeteres of water ) all this measurement means is that a given pressure under flow will raise a column of water in a pipette of known diameter a certain height so if the pressure prescribed for the setting of your CPAP machine is say 8 CM H20 the pressure under flow will raise the column of water 8 centimetres. The word CPAP is derived from the air flow delivered by the machine which is "Continuous Postive Airway Pressure", machine

Question:
Will my CPAP machine ever need it's pressure adjusted ?.
Answer:
The CPAP pressure is determined at the time of your sleep study and the pressure may be changed or fine tuned if certain events arise e.g. breakthrough snoring, in this case your machine may need a slightly higher pressure adjustment. It is also a good idea to have the pressure checked from time to time especially if breakthrough snoring occurs or you start to experience symptoms of your sleep apnea condition. Altitude above sea level is also a reason why CPAP may have to be changed, some machines automatically adjust for altitude , some machines have to be manually set, in this case an adjustment table can be supplied by you CPAP's manufacturer

Question:
Can I power my CPAP machine from a battery ?.
Answer:
Some CPAP's are 12/24 volt switchable a new CPAP machine which has just come on to the Australian market and we are most please to distribute is the DeVilbiss 9001D which you can power from the cigarette lighter outlet in your car or truck and can be powered from any other 12volt sourse( see this products highlighted in the CPAP menu.) most however are compatible for use with a DC/AC power inverters these devices take the power from an input voltage sourse (eg a 12/24Volt DC battery)and invert this power up to 110-220-230-240 VoltsAC at 50 -60 HZ it is important to select an inverter that will give sufficient power capacity. A rated inverter of up to 350 watts should be adequate even if a heated humidifier is used. To estimate the lenghth of time that your CPAP will operate using an inverter use the following formula. firsty know the amp hour rating of the battery you are using (eg 100 Amp hours) multiply this rating by the voltage of the battery say 12Volts this equates to the battery (if fully charged) having 1200 watt hours available, the next step is to check the CPAP maximum power rating eg 60watts and divide this into the total watt hours available, the formula and the answer is 100 (amp hours) X 12 (Volts)divided by 60 (watts) equals 20 hours, of course if a heated humidifier is used the maximum power in watts would have to be included.

Question:
Sometimes my wife is disturbed by the noise from the CPAP and I find it noisy sometimes as well ?.
Answer:
This all depends on the machine you have . most new machines have very low noise levels, some as low as 30dp. if you have an old machine that's noisy and you can afford it investigate and maybe invest in a new one, you will be surprised at the difference. Another option is to have the machine attatched to longer tubing and away from the bedside table if you do this have your machine pressure checked to compensate for the extra length of tube. other simple methods are place the machine on the floor away from head height or invest in the latest expandible ear plugs.

Question:
Can I use my CPAP machine in another country ?.
Answer:
Most CPAP machines now made have automatic switchmode power supplies that will operate on the diferent power supplies in different countries , no special adjustments are required except for the purchase of a power cord or adaptor kit which will fit the type of power outlet used.

Question:
I have heard that the CPAP pressure can be difficult to cope with what can I expect when first starting my treatment ?.
Answer:
Most peaple adjust to the pressure of their CPAP machine quite quickly the higher the prescribed pressure the more difficult adjustment may be . Most CPAP machines have " ramping features " a ramp allows the user to fall asleep as the machine delivers a gradual increase in pressure over a period of time for e.g. some machines have pressure adjustments over times of 5, 10, 15 and 20 minute intervals. Our experience has shown that a high proportion of users become so accustomed to the CPAP pressure that they dispense with the use of the ramp. If the pressure experienced is unbearable to the user other products are available such as "SMART CPAPS" that give varying responses that are only required to intervene at the lowest possible pressure to stop an apnea event these machines are referrered to as "automatic" or "smart" CPAP'S

Question:
I am taking an international flight, can I use my CPAP on the aircraft.
Answer:
Yes, most manufacturers apply and submit their products for evaluation and acceptance for use by airlines. Before the CPAP unit may be used on aircraft approval must be abtained from the Airline ( e.g.for QANTAS approval must be obtained from QANTAS Medical Services on each occasion, prior to reservation.)

Question:
How soon should I notice some improvements and not feel so tired all the time ?.
Answer:
Everyone is different some people take to CPAP therapy very quickly, the simple answer is that as soon as you can comply with your CPAP treatment the sooner you will start feeling the benefits , as a general sort of rule you should start feeling the benefits within a fortnight of commencing and perservering with your treatment.

Question:
If I need to go to hospital will I need to take my machine with me ?
Answer:
Definately yes, without the use of your CPAP your condition will deteriorate quickly. If you are having an operation it is vital that you inform your surgeon and anaethetist that you have sleep apnea and are using CPAP treatment.

Question:
When I have become accustomed and am feeling better due to my CPAP treatment do I have to use my machine every night ?.
Answer:
There is no cure for sleep apnea, to stop using your CPAP is not advisable, sleep apnea is a life time condition and as soon as you stop using your machine the condition and the problems will return . Your sleep apnea will always be under control if you use your machine and equipment correctly every night and you will mostly always feel better.

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