If you have used a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to treat your obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) for any length of time you know that the battle toward smaller and quieter machines has been raging for years. Today, the battle has been won. No more will a CPAP machine be louder than the snoring of the person who uses it. Also, today’s machines are sleeker and much smaller than earlier models while providing advanced features to help all OSA patients better cope with compliance. If you haven’t seen the CPAP machines of today, you are missing out on some great features that can make your CPAP experience more comfortable.
Manufacturers of CPAP machines like Philips Respironics, ResMed, DeVilbiss Healthcare, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare have taken great strides in the past few years to produce CPAP machines that are not only technically more capable with features like exhalation relief, data recording, auto titration, and heated humidification but have also made the effort to make CPAP machines look less like obtrusive medical devices and more like household products such as a clock radio. The effort made by manufacturers helps to increase patient acceptance of CPAP therapy and therefore increase patient compliance.
Silent. It’s the best word to describe any major CPAP machine designed in the last year to 18 months. The DeVilbiss Healthcare IntelliPAP boasts a published 26 dBA noise level. If you consider a whisper in a library will register around 30 dBA, you can imagine just how quiet this machine from DeVilbiss is. Can your existing CPAP machine make that claim? Similar newer machines from Respironics and ResMed can certainly claim the same honor in quietness. These new machines are nothing like the freight train sound-alikes from the past.
Features such as exhalation relief and auto titration have helped increase patient acceptance of CPAP therapy. Exhalation relief allows the patient to exhale against an automatically lowered pressure. The CPAP machine recognizes the end of an inspiratory cycle and can reduce the pressure for exhale by up to 3 cm H20. Exhalation relief is offered by most major manufacturers and may be labeled at C-FLEX (Respironics), A-FLEX (Respironics), SmartFlex (DeVilbiss), or EPR (ResMed). Auto-titrating machines, or Auto CPAP or APAP, have recently become more mainstream in the CPAP therapy industry too. Titration can be automatically adjusted by the machine to produce more pressure when needed or less when applicable. Some patients will find that having a set pressure at all times is not necessarily the best therapy. Factors such as alcohol consumption, sleep position, or prescribed medication can affect the way CPAP titration is delivered. An Auto CPAP can make adjustments to the air flow as needed and provide you with the therapy that is required for any given night.
Fisher & Paykel Icon CPAP MachineThe newest machine on the market is from New Zealand-based Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. The new Icon Premo is shaped unlike any previous machine before it with a footprint of only 6.5″ square and includes a forward facing digital clock on the display that makes the entire machine look like nothing more than a simple alarm clock on your bedside table. In fact, it is also an alarm clock with the addition of AlarmTunes allowing you play MP3 files directly from your CPAP machine to start your morning. The features of the machine are far from simple, however. Fisher & Paykel is known for advancements in humidification including ThermoSmart. ThermoSmart Technology, with its unique heated breathing tube, delivers higher, customized humidity levels that are maintained through the night regardless of ambient temperature change. These higher humidity levels help maintain normal airway conditions without the side effect of condensation, or rain-out as it is affectionately called by CPAP patients. The Icon’s humidifier is built into the device with no need for two separate devices any longer. The new Icon is certainly a machine to watch in the industry.