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CPAP therapy

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy opens the airways by continuously pushing air through a mask. The blown air keeps the upper airway open and eliminates hypopneas or apneas (decreased or stopped breathing) and snoring. For the treatment to be effective, the device must be used every day, for the duration of sleep.

There are three types of CPAP therapy:

  • Fixed (CPAP): The device delivers fixed, continuous positive pressure.
  • Automatic (APAP): The device delivers positive pressure that varies automatically according to respiratory events during the night.
  • Bi-level (BiPAP): The device delivers two levels of pressure: one for inhalation, the other for exhalation. It is used to treat more complex cases of apnea or for patients who have difficulty adapting to fixed or automatic therapy.

Who benefits from this therapy?

Continuous positive airway pressure is considered the best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It is the most commonly used method of treating apnea, including moderate to severe cases.

People who suffer from apnea must give themselves time to adapt to their therapy. After a few nights, patients usually begin to feel the benefits of the treatment. The therapy becomes more and more comfortable and patients gradually regain their energy level to the point where they do not want to do without it. There are many accessories and tools that improve comfort and promote treatment compliance. CPAP therapy is generally well tolerated, but to increase your chances of success, it is recommended that you receive professional care during the process.

Who prescribes it?

Only a doctor can prescribe this treatment after a diagnosis of sleep apnea has been confirmed by an appropriate examination. The doctor will recommend the type of treatment best suited to your condition (i.e., fixed, automatic or bi-level) and perform a follow-up to make sure that any apneas and hypopneas are appropriately corrected.

What equipment is required?

The equipment used for CPAP therapy includes two main components: the breathing apparatus and the mask. Various accessories are then added based on the patient’s needs.

The device, which varies according to the type of treatment (fixed, automatic or bi-level), is equipped with a humidifier, tubing and filters. Given the climate in Quebec, humidity plays a key role in treatment comfort. Incorrect humidity settings can cause a number of adherence issues such as nasal congestion, pressure intolerance, mouth openings, and oral or nasal dryness. The device can also be connected to an app that sends data to the treatment team, allowing a more effective follow-up.

A well-fitting and comfortable mask is the key to successful CPAP therapy. There are several types of masks (nasal pillows, nasal, full face) that are adapted to different breathing habits. For example, a nasal pillows mask will be more suitable for people who want a more minimalist mask, while full face masks are for people who breathe through their mouth. It is preferable to be guided by a professional when selecting your mask to ensure that it suits your morphology and needs.

Where can the equipment be purchased?

Equipment is available from specialized suppliers, most often sleep laboratories or home oxygen therapy providers.

At Biron, we offer several models of devices and masks as well as a wide variety of accessories to make CPAP therapy as comfortable as possible, thereby promoting compliance.

We also offer the services of a respiratory therapist specializing in sleep care to help clients choose the equipment that best suits their needs and to do a follow-up to ensure that the treatment is optimal. A follow-up or compliance report is generated and forwarded to your doctor.

The devices
  • Fixed pressure model
  • Automatic pressure model
  • Bi-level pressure model
The masks

In order to provide optimal comfort to each individual, three types of masks are available at Biron.

  • A nasal pillows mask has tips that are placed at the entrance to the nostrils. Smaller than a nasal mask, it frees up the field of vision, and contact with the skin is minimal. For new users, it can sometimes irritate the nostrils. However, the use of nasal lubricants can avoid this inconvenience and make it easier to adapt to this type of mask.
  • A nasal mask covers the nose only and is designed to fit a wide range of faces. This type of mask is the most widely used due to its high stability, allowing it to maintain an airtight seal even during movement.
  • A full face mask covers the nose and mouth. This type of mask is used when a person is unable to breathe solely through the nose when wearing a nasal pillows or nasal mask.
The accessories

Many accessories facilitate treatment and increase daily comfort.

  • A foldable tube support provides great freedom of movement and leads to greater mask stability when changing positions. It also promotes a better seal by reducing the tension on the tubing.
  • A CPAP pillow is specially designed for CPAP therapy and suitable for all mask types. It provides maximum comfort thanks to hollow areas and reduces the risk of the mask moving, regardless of the position (lateral or ventral). The pillow supports the neck perfectly and ensures proper alignment of the spine.
  • Several cleaning products such as mask wipes and brushes facilitate equipment maintenance, which is essential to preserve treatment effectiveness.