How Does a BiPAP Machine Work?

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AirCurve 10 VAuto

A BiPAP – or BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure – is a therapeutic device prescribed for patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), COPD or other complex breathing-related complications. The machine helps to deliver the prescribed pressure of oxygen into the lungs and thus maintaining the airways open to avoid obstructive events. These devices help patients get a good night’s sleep that is restful and during which the patient can breathe normally and easily.

How does a BiPAP Machine Work: Why patients complain about CPAP treatments?

Typically, OSA patients are prescribed CPAP machines to help them breathe regularly and effortlessly during sleep. However, many patients complain about the fact that they struggle breathing against the constant pressure delivered by a CPAP. The BiPAP is a much more technologically advanced and complex device that is capable of delivering oxygen at reduced pressures during the exhalation process. Thus, exhaling is not challenging anymore, so patients do not have to breathe out against a high pressure of oxygen coming from the CPAP.

Versatile oxygen therapy: BiPAP machines deliver two different pressure settings

The BiPAP machine has two different pressures:

- IPAP pressure - Inspiratory Positive Airway Pressure- the pressure delivered by the device will be higher during the inspiration phase

- EPAP - Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure - the pressure delivered by the device will be lower upon the exhalation phase

Whenever the patient inhales, the device increases the pressure in order to maintain the airways open. However, to help with a comfortable breathing pattern, the device will lower the pressure upon the exhalation process. This way, the patient can automatically breathe out without struggling against the high prescribed pressure that is needed only for inhalation. The greatest majority of patients will find the BiPAP machine use much more efficient and comfortable than the single pressure CPAP machine.

Even in some cases of congestive heart failure, physicians prescribe the use of a BiPAP device. Other patients with complex lung or heart-related diseases can also benefit from BiPAP assisted breathing therapy. Then, patients who struggle with muscle and nerve related health issues will benefit better from the use of a BiPAP machine. The BiPAP device can be set to ensure the patient will breathe a given number of times per minute (Timed breathing setting). Thanks to the fact that the pressure will be reduced upon the exhalation phase, the patient will enjoy a much more restful night of sleep and highly efficient therapy.

In many cases, the CPAP fails to deliver adequate therapy to patients. This is when the physician might reconsider therapeutic needs and recommend the use of a BiPAP instead. CPAP devices are usually prescribed in the case of patients with moderate Sleep Apnea. Patients with more advanced and severe cases of OSA will require more assistance during their breathing which can be delivered only by the BiPAP. If you need to find out even more information on how a BiPAP Machine works, you should consult your doctor; he is the one who can recommend the right course of treatment suitable to your individual requirements.

General features of BiPAP machines

There is a wide range of BiPAP devices available on the market, offered by top reputable brands such as Philips Respironics or ResMed. You should carefully consult the list with features and benefits of each machine before making a purchase. Some general features that today’s technologically advanced BiPAP machines may be equipped with include:

  1. High-quality non-invasive ventilation devices

2. Several modes/settings available – Spontaneous, Spontaneous Timed, Pressure Controlled and Timed (settings differ depending on model/brand of BiPAP)

3. Optional heated humidifiers – so that patients can enjoy air therapy at optimal temperatures, while humidification reduces dry mouth and soreness symptoms

4. Advanced Detection of Sleep Apnea events

5. Integrated Bluetooth for easy connectivity

6. Smart ramp feature – the ramp feature allows patients to start their therapy at lower pressures, while the device will gradually increase the pressure to prescribed pressure over a set period. This ensures the patient can fall asleep comfortably while receiving air therapy at a much lower, comfortable pressure. Slowly the device increases the pressure until prescribed levels are reached to ensure therapy compliance.

7. Advanced leak detection- if the mask does not deliver a proper seal, leaks can occur and then compliance and therapy efficiency are reduced. With the help of leak detection patients will know when to pay attention to such problems and solve them efficiently by adjusting the mask or using another more efficient mask.

9. A BiPAP device is also capable of delivering oxygen pressure that matches the patient’s individual breathing pattern by using complex algorithms and charts. This translates into custom tailored oxygen therapy for each patient.

How does a BiPAP Machine work: adaptive treatment for natural breathing

BiPAP machines are constructed using incredibly advanced technology that is capable of helping patients to follow a natural breathing pattern even if they struggle with complex health issues. For example, the AirCurve 10 S BiPAP machine has integrated the Easy-Breathe waveform that mimics the form of the natural breathing of each patient. Thus, the machine helps patients receiving a restful night of sleep while breathing in a pattern that is closest to their natural breathing.

Several BiPAP machines also have integrated CPAP functions. This means a patient can set the BPAP machine to work as a continuous pressure Fixed CPAP. The pressure is delivered at a continuous, fixed flow in this case. However, if the patient requires more adaptive therapy, the machine can be set to AutoBiPAP or Fixed BiPAP. Then, the machine will deliver therapy at the prescribed pressure during the inhalation phase, and reduce the pressure upon exhalation to ensure a more comfortable breathing cycle.

Patients who require higher pressure therapy will always benefit most from the treatment with a BiPAP machine. These devices are capable of adjusting much better to the changing breathing patterns of the patients, and the devices can assist more efficiently patients with complex breathing difficulties.

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