A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is used mainly by patients for the treatment of sleep apnea at home. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the the upper airway becomes narrow as the muscles relax naturally during sleep. This reduces oxygen in the blood and causes arousal from sleep. The CPAP machine stops this phenomenon by delivering a stream of compressed air via a hose to a nasal pillow, nose mask or full-face mask, splinting the airway (keeping it open under air pressure) so that unobstructed breathing becomes possible, reducing and/or preventing apneas and hypopneas. This has the additional benefit of reducing or eliminating snoring.
Care and maintenance
Most manufacturers recommend that the end user perform weekly maintenance. Units must be checked regularly for wear and tear and kept clean. Worn or frayed electrical connections may present a shock or fire hazard; worn hoses and masks may reduce the effectiveness of the unit. Most units employ some type of filtration, and the filters must be cleaned or replaced on a regular schedule. Hoses and masks accumulate exfoliated skin, particulate matter, and can even develop mold. Humidification units must be kept free of mold and algae. Because units use substantial electrical power, housings must be cleaned without immersion.
Nasal Pillow Masks
Express Medical, Inc. mainly carries Respironics units, but are able to order Resmed and Fisher and Paykel units as needed.