Monday, August 26, 2013

CPAP water chambers and chronic sinus symptoms

Many of my patients ask if using CPAP can contribute to sinus problems. It is rare that CPAP use increases sinus problems. Much more common is that CPAP use reduces sinus symptoms.

Most people who use a CPAP use a water chamber to increase the moisture content in the air. Distilled water is supposed to be used and the water chamber is cleaned weekly. However, bacteria can still live in the chamber (called colonization). This study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine investigated whether bacterial colonization of the water chambers was associated with chronic sinus symptoms.

Researchers swabbed the water chambers and different types of bacteria did grow. Overall, almost 50% of the water chambers tested grew bacteria. However, there was no association between bacterial colonization of the water chamber and chronic sinus problems. The researchers concluded that bacterial colonization of the water chambers seems to be of no clinical significance.

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