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What Are The Different Types Of CPAP Machines?


Whether you heard about them at the doctor’s office or in passing from a friend, CPAP machines have become a popular and widespread form of treatment to prevent upper airway collapse, the root cause of sleep apnea (a medical condition in which the patient’s breathing stops repeatedly during rest). But what is a CPAP machine and what kinds of CPAP machines are there? 

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and CPAP machines work to keep the airways in a person open through the application of light air pressure through a CPAP mask. CPAPs are commonly worn during sleep to allow the patient to breathe comfortably and easily throughout the night. Whilst the use of such a device may not cure sleep apnea, it assists to manage the symptoms so that the wearer can get a restful sleep.  

We can generally classify three CPAP machine types:

  • Standard CPAP 

The standard CPAP machine delivers air pressure at a pre-set rate which does not vary throughout the night. This level of airflow you use will be recommended during a sleep study either conducted in-lab or at your home. Some machines will allow you to adjust the pressure, but others are pre-determined at a sleep clinic or by your healthcare provider. 

  • Automatic CPAP (APAP)

Automatic CPAP (or APAP) machines are like your standard CPAP machines in function, but they are also able to regulate their air pressure according to variations in your airway that may happen at night. For instance, if you were to roll onto your back from your side, your airways may be more prone to collapse, and the CPAP machine may increase the pressure of airflow being fed into your mask. It does this through sensors that detect your breathing rates to determine the ideal course of action. 

Automated CPAP machines are often the best choice for a patient with sleep apnea, though they do tend to be more expensive than standard CPAP machines. The Dreamstation Auto CPAP is a high-end, cost-efficient device that comes with an LCD touch screen display. It can be linked up with the DreamMapper App or Desktop tool to help you keep track of CPAP therapy records too. 

  • Travel CPAP 

Travel CPAP machines are designed with portability in mind. They tend to be more lightweight and compact than regular CPAP machines, and often have a built-in chargeable battery if you are unable to find a place to plug it in whilst you rest. Important things to consider before getting a travel CPAP are the levels of noise it emits and the battery life. You may also want to make sure if the device is allowed on airplanes before taking it with you on your flights. 

Cleaning and Maintenance of your CPAP Machine

It is important to look after your CPAP machine to ensure it works at maximum capacity and to avoid machine breakdown. Regular cleaning is essential to also avoid the build-up of bacteria within the machine. Your healthcare provider can give you advice on how to clean your machine manually using soaps, waters, and chemical products. Alternatively, you can also rely on automated cleaning kits that can do all that work for you. The SoClean 2 is an automated device that sanitizes and cleans your CPAP’s hose, mask and reservoir during the day, so that by bedtime all your sleeping equipment will be ready for you to use.