Monday, July 12, 2010

Not Your Parents CPAP

Many of my patients have heard of or know someone who uses CPAP. When I discuss this treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea, the most common question is if the CPAP flow generator is loud. They've heard that the fan inside the CPAP can be loud.

It is true that older models of CPAP were louder. But modern CPAP units are whisper quiet. And they have many comfort features. Most can ramp up the pressure from the lowest to the prescribed pressure over an amount of time chosen by the patient. I always prescribe a heated humidifier with CPAP to ease the dryness. The size of CPAPs has gradually decreased over time, meaning they fit easier on a nightstand or in your luggage.

My two favorite CPAPs currently are the S9 from Resmed and the System One from Respironics. Both of these offer a pressure relief feature that can make breathing out more comfortable. Plus, the data recorded from these devices gives me a wealth of information about a patient's breathing while they are asleep. I can download this data from the CPAP and go over it with the patient in my office during follow ups. Most patients appreciate this information, as they are unaware of how they might (or might not) be breathing when they sleep.

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