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What is BiPAP?

By Garry Crystal
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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"BiPAP" is a term that is sometimes used colloquially to refer to bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP). A BiPAP machine, which is more accurately called a BPAP machine, is a breathing apparatus that helps its user get more air into his or her lungs. Created in the 1990s, the BPAP machine is derived from the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Unlike a CPAP machine, however, a BPAP machine uses variable levels of air pressure instead of continuous pressure. Both of these devices are used to help treat breathing difficulties, particularly obstructive sleep apnea.

How the Apparatus Works

A CPAP machine works by maintaining a certain amount of air pressure within a mask that the user wears, such as while he or she is sleeping. The air pressure keeps the wearer's airway open, allowing him or her to breathe easily while sleeping. One problem with an apparatus that uses a continuous amount of air pressure is that the person has to exhale against this extra pressure. This makes it imperfect or unsuitable for certain people, such as those who are suffering from neuromuscular diseases.

A BPAP machine allows the air that is delivered through the mask to be set at one pressure for inhaling and another for exhaling. This makes it much easier for the user to adapt to the apparatus and allows a person who has a neuromuscular disease to use the device. These dual settings also allow the user to get more air in and out of his or her lungs.

People Who Might Benefit

BPAP devices have been found to be especially useful for patients who have congestive heart failure or lung disorders, especially conditions that result in above-normal levels of carbon dioxide. In addition, patients for whom intubation — the insertion of a tube through the mouth — is not possible can benefit from the breathing assistance provided by a BPAP machine. Other people who can benefit include those who suffer from atelectasis, which results when all or part of a lung collapses, and which results in the loss of the ability of air sacs at the furthest reaches of the lungs to expand.

Testing and Diagnosis

There are several tests a doctor can perform to find out whether a BPAP machine would be beneficial for someone. One such test is a respiratory test, which involves breathing into a machine to measure lung capacity. The forced vital capacity (FVC) test is another important test, and it measures how deeply a person can breathe. A condition such as obstructive sleep apnea usually is diagnosed through the use of a sleep study, during which the person's breathing is monitored while he or she is sleeping.

Available for Purchase or Rent

BPAP machines usually are covered by medical insurance, although it is possible to purchase a machine independently. If that is not feasible, a person might have the option of renting a BPAP machine from a respiratory care company. Anyone who thinks that he or she might benefit from this type of device should contact a medical doctor or neurologist.

Trademark Information

Although many people refer to BPAP machines generically as BiPAP machines, there are devices that have this name as a registered trademark. Philips Respironics, a division of Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., offers a line of BPAP products under the BiPAP® name. Many other manufacturers also offer BPAP devices.

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Discussion Comments

By anon343290 — On Jul 29, 2013

I've used a bi-pap for the past 16 years of my life. They used to be big and loud machine but technology advances and they now come in cute small sizes. Some can even run on batteries. I even traveled across the world with it!

By anon342442 — On Jul 20, 2013

@anon106454: I also have CMT and am losing pulmonary function. When asleep, my oxygen sats drop to 74. I have been on a Bipap with oxygen being bled into the machine. I feel like a new person now that I don't fight to breathe all night. Go to a pulmonologist who is also certified in sleep medicine. It will not stop the progression of CMT, but you will sleep better and have more energy.

By anon326000 — On Mar 19, 2013

My doctor has suggested I get a Bipap. I purchased the machine and the technician adjusted the in and out pressure at 15 and 5 respectively. I am having problems exhaling. Can anyone guide me what should be the exhaling pressure? What should be the difference between the inhaling and exhaling pressures?

By anon302851 — On Nov 12, 2012

Thanks for the information! I want to try this. Does anyone know of a place that sells bipap machines in Minnesota? I have terrible sleep apnea and I need to do something.

By anon292165 — On Sep 18, 2012

My mother in law is on a bipap machine intermittently during the day and continuously at night in the hospital to help her breathing. She has chf and renal failure as well as pleural effusion in lungs. She is very weak. My father in law and sister in law are, as they put it, going to pull the plug shortly. as they say. How long does she have to live?

By anon281574 — On Jul 24, 2012

My wife can only use her BPAP machine for about an hour at a time. She commences comfortably with a ramp up time of 5 minutes. At about an hour though the air pressure appears to increase and she seems to fight the machine. The mask blows out and she has to stop. If we try again, same thing happens after about the same amount of time. Anyone with similar experiences? Perhaps it's due to her rested body needing to breathe at a lower rate but the machine, of course, continues to push the air through at a set rate?

By anon274797 — On Jun 13, 2012

If you place a patient on a vision bipap and the rate is set at 10 and the patient is breathing at 15, how many mandatory machine breaths is the patient receiving?

By anon273655 — On Jun 07, 2012

Is there anyone out there who works with someone who has Down syndrome and uses a bi-pap? My daughter successfully used one for several years at a setting of 11/16. She developed chronic acid reflux and lost weight and began having trouble wearing the mask.

After several new sleep studies, a new machine with new settings was prescribed but she is having a terrible time using it. The new settings are 8/12. Every night she awakes after a few hours, coughing and gagging. She has difficulty describing what is bothering her but her actions are obvious.

She avoids going to bed, hides in the bathroom and continually finds excuses to get up and take the mask off. I sit by her bed and keep ramping the air flow until she finally falls asleep - two hours later we are repeating these steps. We are both exhausted and getting insufficient sleep. After reading this blog, I'm getting concerned that maybe the settings are still not right. I was not aware that too much pressure could cause damage. Any advice?

By anon273087 — On Jun 05, 2012

I started with a C-Pap and through further sleep studies, it was determined I needed a high enough pressure that a bi-pap machine was for me.

This was a game changer for me. I went from one or maybe two hours of sleep per night to four or six hours in a row. For me the bi-pap machine is a godsend.

By anon271560 — On May 27, 2012

I have been given a BPAP machine from the the VA.

I assume this is to cause my death ASAP. I have not slept for five nights because every time I fall asleep, an alarm wakes me back up over and over. When I try to get up without using a cane, I fall to the floor. What great technology!

By anon259764 — On Apr 08, 2012

I have been using a bipap machine for a few months now. I am finding out that I wake with pressure in my ear and it sometimes causes my vertigo to act up. I am wondering if anyone else has this problem and what to do for it. Thanks for the help. I do use the humidifier on my machine.

By anon250388 — On Feb 25, 2012

I have been using a bipap machine now for three years. I was so ill before. I suffer from severe scoliosis. My oxygen blood levels were 5.7 and the co2 level was 7.9 I felt so ill. I couldn't sleep or walk. The bipap machine has changed my life. At my last check up the blood level was 10.0 and the co2 level was 6.0. I feel so much better. I couldn't be without my bipap machine now. The only downfall I have is the bridge of my nose is sore!

By anon249936 — On Feb 23, 2012

I had my first, and last night, with the bipap. I woke up every half hour. By 2:30 a.m. I'd had it. When I removed the mask, it was like flicking a light switch. I had a tremendous headache and was nauseated. I meet with the doctor tomorrow to return it. Never again.

By denkoko — On Jan 16, 2012

This is for post 67. I am on oxygen 24/7. My setting was 6. I learned this setting was probably too high and could result in carbon dioxide buildup, and would not allow my lungs to get rid of the C/D build up in my lungs.

I reduced my oxygen levels to the point where my oxygen readings were at about 91-94 percent. This allows time for the air sacs to get rid of the C/D build up, and not "smother" my air sacs. I hope this helps.

By anon235528 — On Dec 17, 2011

I have been using a bi-pap for several years and I always experience gas in the morning upon awaking. What can I do for this?

By anon228993 — On Nov 11, 2011

I've had five heart attacks, two triple bypasses and seven stents. I've got an appointment to see my heart doctor to discuss this problem with him.

I don't know anything about sleep apnea, but if I do have it, I'd like to know if I need a machine, do I need one that provides oxygen and I want the newest and cutest one on the market. Maybe you can suggest the correct one for me. Thank you. --Frederick G.

By anon222229 — On Oct 15, 2011

BiPAP has been found to be especially useful for patients with congestive heart failure and lung disorders, especially those that result in above normal levels of carbon dioxide.

In addition, patients for whom intubation is not possible can benefit from the breathing assistance provided by a BiPAP machine. Sufferers of atelectasis will also benefit from a BiPAP. Atelectasis is when all or part of a lung collapses, and results in the loss of the ability of air sacs at the furthest reaches of the lungs to expand.

By anon216279 — On Sep 20, 2011

I have obstructive sleep apnea. I have used a CPAP since March 2008. My setting is 7. I continually wake up in the middle of the night feeling like a balloon! I'm so full of air that it hurts. I've tried chin straps but they don't work. I still fill up with air. Also, I have a round head and chin straps tend to fall off. How can I fix this issue and not blow up each night?

By anon213325 — On Sep 10, 2011

I was switched to an extremely high bipap setting about 10 months ago.(36 ) It was so high the triangular nose and mouth mask was blowing off my face no matter what I tried.

I looked up the maximum setting the mask would tolerate, and it was 30. I met the pulmonologist sleep medicine doctor, who said if I can't tolerate that setting, I must get a tracheostomy.(I had successfully wore cpap for about five years.)

I wore it as much as I could tolerate until july.

I was hospitalized due to viral bronchitis.

Another sleep doctor at the hospital changed my setting and lowered it to 18. Those numbers are the first and highest numbers. I can't recall either of the two second settings.

Now I am on oxygen 24/7 at a 5 liter setting. I cannot function as the bet scan shows fore. My ct scan shows lung scarring. I wonder if too high of a pressure setting could cause lung scarring. Any ideas?

By anon208427 — On Aug 22, 2011

For all of those with dry mouth, try using your humidifier. The moist air helps keep your nasal and oral passages moist. Also, sometimes those who are on nasal masks sleep with their mouths open, and that too, can cause dry mouth and therefore you might need a full face mask (covers nose and mouth) which is great for mouth breathers. Hope this helps. --A registered Sleep Tech

I deal with this on a daily basis as it is my job to titrate those on cpap/bipap and keep you guys apnea free!

By anon203232 — On Aug 04, 2011

I use a bipap and it really helps me. i wake up with dry mouth but that is OK. Enjoyed the information on this page. very good.

By anon186949 — On Jun 16, 2011

My dad has severe COPD and is on a bipap. He also has a transtracheal scoop in his neck which allows him to get off his bipap and on normal oxygen. This past week he has not been able to get off his bipap at all to go on normal oxygen. When we try he can only last for two ( maybe three minutes if he pushes it ) on 13 liters and drops to the low 80s, when a week ago he would stay in the 90s.

So I guess what I'm hoping for is some suggestions on ways to try and get him back off the bipap. I realize he will still need his bipap the majority of the day but were struggling to find a way to get him off for at least brief periods of time -- maybe a few hours. Any suggestions or anyone out there who can please help us?

By anon176411 — On May 15, 2011

Is anyone using Bipap because they have MS? I have been on oxygen for about two years now. No one really understands why, but now they are attributing it to the ms.

I had a sleep study the other day, and a bipap has been ordered for me because my sats fall and CO2 increases. After reading all of this, I am feeling very uneasy about trying it. Thanks, maria

By anon174166 — On May 09, 2011

My dad's just been put on bipap after co2 poisoning, does anyone know the long term prognosis, copd? emphysema? chf? any advice?

By anon173831 — On May 08, 2011

My husband has pompe's disease, and is on a a vap at night and a good portion of the day. His pulmonologist feels his quality of life would be better if he was trached. We understand a trach may be needed soon, but would it be possible to use the a vap 24-7? If a flu or pneumonia lands him in the hospital he would like to use the a vap and trach as last resort, is this practical? Thanks for your time. --Debbie P.

By anon169480 — On Apr 21, 2011

In response to post 51, as a respiratory therapist, I have used CPAP and BiPAP on patients routinely for the past 18 years. Rarely have I initiated BiPAP on a patient who felt comfortable right away. There is usually an adjustment period. This is because when a patient feels short of breath, placing a mask over the face often results in a claustrophobic or panicky feeling. This usually subsides once the patient feels the relief from the ventilatory assistance the BiPAP provides.

I don't know what settings your father was on, but the situation in your post does not sound too unusual. The redness on your father's face was likely caused by the pressure of the mask on the face. If your father required high BiPAP settings, more mask pressure would be required to maintain an adequate seal, resulting in the redness.

Let me also explain BiPAP. It stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure. There are two pressure settings, an inspiratory pressure and an expiratory pressure. The inspiratory pressure is intended to give a "push" of air on inspiration to help ease the work of breathing. The expiratory pressure maintains a minimum level of pressure in the lungs. The positive expiratory pressure in the lungs assists in oxygenation.

In CHF (congestive heart failure), the positive expiratory pressure helps to recruit air spaces (alveoli) by forcing retained fluid back into the bloodstream. This works well when used in conjunction with a diuretic to help patients excrete the retained fluids.

I hope some of this information helps explain what happened. I am sorry to hear of your loss and hope that the information will help ease some of your concerns over your father's treatment. --Matt

By RogerWaters — On Mar 26, 2011

I have been using a CPAP for over two years and continuously wake up with a dry mouth. I have a heated humidifier set as high as it can go and I still wake up with a dry mouth. Is there some device that will keep my mouth closed at night? Thanks in advance.

By anon159277 — On Mar 11, 2011

My son is 8 months old born at 29 weeks and has been on the ventilator for a long time then shifted to CPAP. Then he was able to breathe without either but he got an infection and went back to the ventilator at PIP of 13 and PEEP of 5 and his oxygen need is 21%. Can we shift to the bipap/avap instead as a non-invasive form?

By anon157491 — On Mar 03, 2011

I am a respiratory therapist and in response to post 54 with a 30/25 setting, that is insane. you are bordering on causing lung damage to yourself. Recheck your orders to be sure of these pressure settings. The low setting (25) is what holds our lungs open after exhaling and is normally 0-3 during normal, everyday breathing with no machine. 30/25 are both excessive pressures.

By anon152569 — On Feb 14, 2011

My husband has been wearing the BiPap since being hospitalized in early January 2011. He has been using a home BiPap since his discharge. He says that his chest is sore and he feels really tired in the mornings and his sats are down in the morning also. Could the BiPap be causing him to be really tired and lower sats in the mornings?

By anon152332 — On Feb 13, 2011

I just want to say that anyone who has pressures that are over 24 need to really get a second opinion. Realize that intubated patients rarely receive pressures over 30 because of damage done to the lungs from the high pressure. Please make sure that you are seeing a pulmonologist and not just a regular MD.

When dealing with something this important, it is necessary to have a doctor who really understands the pressures. I have worked with many many doctors who think they know and understand but really do not. Remember "Pulmonologist".

By anon152251 — On Feb 13, 2011

I had a stroke in 1998, due to a blood clot in my brain stem. I was in a coma for a month, and when they took the breathing tube out I had a problem with my breathing at night. I had what I called the never ending gum dream. They did a sleep study and put me on a C-pap with no humidifier. My nose and throat seemed to be on fire, so I quit using it.

My neurologist prescribed a machine with a humidifier, and I was using it but still experience falling asleep with no warning during the day. I use a nose mask and also have dry mouth when I wake up. I have also had three sinus infections and an inner ear infection in the last year. My question would a bi-pap better serve me and how would I find out? The neurologist told me when I had my stroke that I could be model thin and still have apnea. cxtg

By anon127687 — On Nov 17, 2010

I recently started a bipap machine with settings at 30/25. My tech could not believe the pressure. They are having a hard time fitting me with a mask the can seal well. Also my mouth is dry and my lungs hurt. Any suggestions? --Grboom

By anon127099 — On Nov 15, 2010

I have a bipap machine that I use every night. It has the humidifier on it and I use nasal pillows with a chin strap. I still wake up with a very dry mouth and end up taking the bipap off during the night. Would a full face mask help with the dry mouth since I have a built in humidifier?

By anon125698 — On Nov 10, 2010

To all who are interested. I am an RRT and have practiced for 38 years. I have a degree in physiology and have done a fair amount of research on the field. I routinely apply BiPAP, and as recently as yesterday cared for five patients on BiPAP in our AICU with the intent of preventing intubation.

I use BiPAP in the ER extensively, for asthma, CHF, and other forms of respiratory failure not requiring immediate intubation. Indeed, I have treated (early intervention) Swine Flu H1N1 with BiPAP and had three patients on it never require intubation.

Here is the take away: For the proper end expiratory pressure PEEP or CPAP, the lower pressure on BiPAP, the setting is very patient specific, is a moving target in the early phase of the illness/attack and must be adjusted intelligently. Now, adjusting intelligently does not mean cautiously, as some lungs require a CPAP of 8-12 centimeters of water pressure, not the 5 which is the usual.

Importantly, our adult ICU had the best survival statistics for ARDS and Swine Flu in the world from 2008-2010, utilizing this mind set.

What is this mind set? The lung, in the diseased state must be adequately inflated to operate properly, to oxygenate at the lowest inspired oxygen and attain normalized CO2 levels with the lowest ventilator pressures. I don't follow this site, this is my first time on it.

By anon123205 — On Oct 31, 2010

My dad was put on a Bipap when he was in ICU because the regular oxygen mask wasn't giving him enough air. The doctors said he had either pneumonia or congestive heart failure. When they were putting the bipap on him, he was freaking out. He couldn't talk and wasn't able to swallow anymore and they had him on two different kinds of diuretics, anti-viral, and 1200 ml of fluid a day. He was so dehydrated and with them saying he had a case of swine flu he wasn't given enough fluids.

I'm not sure what the pressure was set at but after one day being on the bipap, he coded and passed away and I noticed that the right side of his face was really red like a burn or blood had come to the surface. Could the bipap have caused this? The doctors really didn't explain how the bipap worked and when he freaked out they rushed us out of his room. So I couldn't even see him to make sure he was okay.

Before all this happened he was able to mumble, but you don't fight with anyone here. He was very unhappy and mistreated I think. I'm thinking the bipap machine was not set correctly for him and wasn't the right kind and the settings were too high. Please help. I don't know if he was suffering through all of this. Thank you.

By anon119398 — On Oct 18, 2010

I was prescribed a bi pap machine five years ago for COPD. I did not try hard to get used to the face mask. About five months ago I almost died from C02 poisoning - too much in my body. I started using the bipap machine and in a couple of weeks was so comfortable with it that I sleep through the night. I feel rested in the morning.

@Anon100086: I had your problems for a long time! I am 74. When I got out of the hospital I had a physical therapist come to my house about four times. She showed me exercises to do for my legs. They are easy but they help so much I can walk through Wal-Mart while I use to have to ride their scooter thing. I even take short walks down the street with my husband. You should have a therapist where you live.

My primary care doctor remembered awhile ago that my mother was on thyroid medicine. He tested me. It took two tests to find out I had a low thyroid. That little pill has been my salvation.

When I went to the lung doctor two weeks ago he said I was not doing good, I was doing great! Plus I have lost about 20 lbs. I have decided to be a good girl and stay around awhile. Good luck to all of you.

By anon119242 — On Oct 17, 2010

For anyone who is having trouble with dry mouth and either uses a humidifier or not, you may be a mouth breather. I am and they got me a chin strap to keep my mouth closed at night and now no dry mouth in the morning.

I cannot use my humidifier and not get dry mouth, but will have problems with sinuses so I recommend using it anyway. I use nasal pillows with my bipap and they are wonderful! I tried all the other options but nasal pillows with the chin strap is the way to go for comfort and then I find myself wanting to use the machine which helps me a lot. I have restrictive lung disease and sleep apnea.

By anon117986 — On Oct 12, 2010

To anon106129: I'd sure like to know who set you up on a BiPap of 24/20 and why. Generally quite high levels have a direct hazard of gastric insufflation. Your sleep tech's concerns are certainly well founded. Usually, a poloysomnography exam involves titrating levels of pressure until apnea episodes are minimized and oxygen levels are stabilized at a therapeutic level. Rarely requires pressures as high as yours.

By anon106454 — On Aug 25, 2010

I have CMT and my diaphragm does not function due to the muscle not working, so when I lie on my back i cannot breathe my doctor has mentioned a B pap machine. what do you think.

By anon106129 — On Aug 24, 2010

I just started using a BIPAP set at 24/20. I've been using it for five nights and cannot leave it long because it is making me nauseated and I have to take it off. According to my sleep study, I have episodes 78 times an hour. The tech told me he has never set a machine this high. How can I get rid of the nausea, because if I can do that I think I can get used to the pressure. Help!

By anon100086 — On Jul 28, 2010

Well here I am just surfing and came across your site! I have COPD (since '05) and am on four litres constant, plus a bi-pap hooked into my concentrator!

One, I continue to experience dry mouth and keep ice chips in the fridge to suck on! Secondly, I've gotten so damn obese! I live in a veteran's home where there are four food groups: starch, carbohydrates, fats, and sugars!

No, of course, I don't exercise! I'm tired all the time, depressed, and have no initiative to start exercising and losing weight! I think I'm "sick and tired of being sick and tired!" Suggestions for weight loss and exercises for those with COPD, please!

By anon99652 — On Jul 27, 2010

I have a nine year old son who, after having a sleep study, has been told he needs a BiPAP at home. He suffers with asthma, and takes his meds like clockwork. I am the person who gives them.

Although, every other method of medication isn't helping so a BiPAP was recommended because it could work as his upper airway may be collapsing.

I haven't really been given much information regarding this kind of therapy, as I have only really heard that this is used for sleep apnea.

By anon94084 — On Jul 07, 2010

- anon85548: With that high of a pressure it's highly recommended to use a full face mask. Most of the pressure will come out of your mouth causing your mouth to remain open. You may experience headaches of sinus congestion in the morning. However if you are able to tolerate it, make sure your machine heater and water are running.

The other thing is I don't know they come up with that pressure if you are unable to tolerate it. Things you can do: talk to your doctor about it. Or adjust your ramp time. Ramp time is the amount of time you set before it gets to your set pressure. So set it where it's long enough for you to be on a deep sleep before it reaches your set pressure.

By anon94063 — On Jul 07, 2010

-anon93800: Your primary doctor should have a company he or she recommends to get your machine to take home. It is not something you can buy at a store. However, I did see some on eBay.

By anon93800 — On Jul 05, 2010

my father is confined in a hospital for a lung problem and using bipap machine. we are considering bringing home the patient. where can i buy a machine?

By anon85548 — On May 20, 2010

My original bipap pressure setting was 15/9. Oxygen was added because it would drop. With oxygen, it wasn't high enough. Had another sleep study and now my pressure is at 23/19.

I cannot tolerate that pressure - none of my masks can tolerate that pressure. I don't have it yet, but I ordered a cpap pillow. Hoping that will help. Looking for a mask that can take high pressures. Any suggestions?

By anon85499 — On May 20, 2010

I have bi-lateral diaphragm paralysis and have used a bi-pap for four years. Mine is set for 19/12, and even though the dry mouth is inconvenient, the convenience of being able to breathe when I lie down is well worth the minor dry mouth issue. I have tried the nasal mask and agree that the full face mask is better.

By anon79308 — On Apr 22, 2010

I am a Respiratory Therapy student. I learned just last week that although the pressures on BiPAP go up to 40cmH2O, I was astonished to read that a doctor recommended 25/21 on a BiPAP.

My understanding is that if the pressure on these machines exceed 20cmH2O, this pressure opens the esophagus and the person can end up with gastric inflation. I was also surprised to read of so many people complaining of dry mouths!

This is very interesting for me. Thanks for sharing.

By anon78119 — On Apr 16, 2010

I have a girl, a foster daughter who was a shaken baby and is in a vegetative state. She is blind, has a trach, paralyzed, has a G/tube for drainage of the stomach, is NPO and has a J/tube in the small intestine for feeding.

I have had her for 24 years. She needs much suctioning of the trach for secretions and has some sort of seizure activity in her sleep and aspirates on the secretions in the trachea, causing frequent pneumonias, and atelectasis. She is on 02 at night and cool mist but many times her sats still drop to the high 70's.

Would the bi-pap help keep her airway clear so that she could sleep better? I would be happy to get it for her if it would help.

Last time the pneumonia was so bad she was in ICU on a vent and had to have a central line. The vent helped so much with her breathing at that time. Please advise.

By RThelp — On Mar 30, 2010

-anon72046: with your mom's asthma, taking her meds regularly is the most effective way to manage her asthma. Usually a cpap or bipap at home is used for sleep apnea.

if she is able to manage her asthma with her meds right now, then leave it as it is. I don't think that bipap or cpap will rescue her from an attack.

Have her avoid things that could trigger an attack such as smoking, etc. Only ask for a new method of care when the one she is on is no longer helping her.

By anon73306 — On Mar 26, 2010

Why are most of the people who are using CPAP or BiPAP not happy?

By anon72046 — On Mar 21, 2010

this is manish. i just wanted clarification on use of the BIPAP. My mother is facing asthma so kindly guide us which equipment to use? Which is effective? How is that going to help her? I would be grateful if you all can guide me. Thank you.

By RThelp — On Feb 09, 2010

anon43489: CPAP auto flex is a technology developed by respironics. What it does

is on CPAP, it allows you to exhale comfortably by pressure adjusting when you exhale instead of you exhaling against a constant pressure. So if you are on pressure of 5, after the C-Flex helped you exhale comfortably the machine will work its way back to 5.

BiPAP is breathing on two different sets of pressures. Example: high pressure of 10 and a low pressure of 5. A rate will be set on this mode. Example: rate of 8 (this means that the BiPAP will increase to the high pressure eight times per minute). I hope this helps you understand the difference. Good luck

By RThelp — On Feb 09, 2010

golden 28: CPAP is a continuous pressure and BiPAP is breathing on two sets of pressure.

There are two different types of sleep apnea. There is obstruction where your airway closes due the tongue falling back and obstructing your airway. There is septum deviation, large neck etc. Most of the time, CPAP with the appropriate pressures will help keep your airway open.

The second type is central sleep apnea. This is when your brain (when you're asleep) will tell your body to stop breathing. A continuous pressure will not signal you to start breathing. A bipap, starting from a low pressure then increasing to a high pressure, will signal you that it's time to breathe. It will not breathe for you, but it will give you support.

You are being evaluated to see which type of sleep apnea you have. Good luck.

By anon64735 — On Feb 09, 2010

I just have a general comment on most of the posts.

First, using a nasal mask on CPAP on higher pressures will start to open your mouth when you're more in a deep sleep. This causes the headaches and dry mouth when you wake up in the morning. It is better if you use a full face mask with a heater and humidifier. It may not get rid of the dry mouth feeling but it will minimize it. I hope this helps.

Second, if you are a COPD patient, and you use a CPAP/BiPAP at night and feel short of breath in the morning with a low O2 reading, the next thing you should do have your doctor evaluate you for continuous 02 use. Also depending how severe the COPD, an O2 reading of 88 percent may be normal for some patients. But if supplemental oxygen helps the patient breathe better, then it's right for the patient be on it continuously.

Remember that there is no cure for COPD; sometimes it's what the patient needs to live as comfortable ad possible.

Also, make sure that prescribed breathing treatments are followed properly.

Last thing, BiPAP pressures of 24/21 may need to be reevaluated if you are experiencing chest pain or other symptoms when on it.

Make sure your doctor does some research on the sleep lab that you were referred to. Make sure that the sleep tech is well trained and has some credentials. You do have a choice. You don't want anybody to set your pressures who is not properly trained. You end up having symptoms like that. I wouldn't even continue to use it. Pressures that are too high, especially if you don't really need it, do affect your heart function.

I'm not really surprised at the symptoms you were feeling on it. Good luck to you all.

I will continue to read some of your comments. This is your fellow Respiratory Therapist.

By Sichik — On Nov 26, 2009

My mom is CO2 retentive. She is on the bipap at night and nap time. However, during the rest of the day she cannot breathe. Her O level is 88 upon exertion. Is there something she can use during the day?

By anon53481 — On Nov 21, 2009

I use a Cpap and I always get a sinus infection, which sometimes takes up to three months to get rid of. I also use the humidifier but that does not help.

My doctor doesn't believe me when I tell her that I only get sinus infections when I use the Cpap. Any other time I don't have any. Is there something that can relieve me of the problem?

By kadakia — On Oct 20, 2009

Hi, I am a new patient and my respiratory therapist set my BiPAP at the doctor's prescription level 25/21 cm of water i.e (9.84/8.27 in water). When I tried it out I am literally feeling chest pain due to the high pressure setting at that level. I called my doctor and I asked them to change the setting because this was too much pressure for me. I am confused.

By anon45468 — On Sep 17, 2009

BIPAP is used for many reasons. One reason would be for sleep apnea and for pulmonary diseases like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). For COPD patients it is hard to expel CO2 out of the lungs and for those patients BIPAP is great tool to remove the extra co2 retained. Remember, our bodies need balance. We breathe in O2 and we should exhale CO2 in balance. Sometimes, due to smoking or other pulmonary diseases, it throws our ventilation system out of wack. Remember Co2 is waste. It is left over from the metabolic processes in the body. 10/5 to 8/4 are the lowest BIPAP settings. Sometimes a person can use a nasal mask or a full face mask. Using a full face mask can dry your mouth if you sleep with your mouth open, which is OK, but try using a nasal mask or vice versa. Try the one that works best for you. With a nasal mask air escapes through the mouth, but remember some air is better than no air. Talk to you doctor about your concerns.

By anon44997 — On Sep 12, 2009

I use a bi-pap machine with a humidifier and I still get a very dry mouth. Am I doing something wrong. What can I do to prevent this?

By anon43558 — On Aug 30, 2009

How can I turn the CPAP down? The doctor refuses to. So I can't use it. Thanks

By anon43489 — On Aug 29, 2009

Does a Respironics Cpap Auto Flex A do the same job as a Bi=pap machine

By anon42485 — On Aug 21, 2009

Hi, I work at an answering service for some medical companies and we have a lot of older clients who call in to register their machines, but half of them do don't remember what they are called. Would you be able to tell me if a cpap or bipap go by other names? like a concentrator or compressor, etc.?

By anon40429 — On Aug 08, 2009

There is no value at having the inspiratory level set the same as the expiratory level if you are trying to achieve Bipap. (Note: the air you feel is being measured as a pressure, not as liters).

Anyone suffering from dry mouth/nose should be using a humidifier with their machine.

There are new machines on the market that can accommodate a need for increased pressure that automatically ramps up while you are sleeping. These machines also come with humidification.

I suggest you contact your home health provider for more information on the newest equipment.

By anon40134 — On Aug 06, 2009

The value of using a bipap is that it alternates pressure while the cpap maintains a constant pressure (or at least isn't as good as a bipap at alternating pressure). At least that is how I understand it. That said, I'm not exactly sure how it would help more if it is at the same pressure as the cpap. Hope that helps, though.

By anon40068 — On Aug 05, 2009

I have been on a bipap machine for about 5 years, and I am still having trouble with dry mouth. It is *extremely* dry. I wake up during the night sometimes several times to get my mouth wet and I have been tempted many times to just give up the whole thing, but of course I can't do that. I can't sleep without it and I can't sleep well with it. I would appreciate any help you can give me!

By anon38289 — On Jul 25, 2009

I am 70 years old. I had a procedure 5 years ago to stop atrial fibrillation. The a-fib was gone but I recently experienced 3 or 4 episodes of a-fib recurrence. I also have a pacemaker. Recently I was diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea and the doctor prescribed a cpap machine. I've been using my cpap for a week now and each time I wake up extremely tired and short of breath. I'm thinking of dropping the cpap and would like to know if there are alternatives.

By anon35774 — On Jul 07, 2009

I have been on a Cpap machine for 6 months have turned off the humidifier and my face is still feeling damp in the morning. Any suggestions?

By anon34181 — On Jun 18, 2009

my father is on a bpap machine and for some odd reason his lips are turning purple, is that an effect of that machine?

By anon27949 — On Mar 08, 2009

My husband was in the Cleveland clinic last week with severe COPD and other lung problems & extreme difficulty in breathing. A venti-mask and a non-rebreather were both tried and he was struggling so hard to get a breath that they tried a BiPap. Unfortunately he had to be intubated and shortly after put on life support which was terminated 30 hrs later. This website was very helpful to me as I did not understand how a BiPap worked. Thank you

By anon25473 — On Jan 29, 2009

philfrey says: Have used a CPAP for 3 years and I am very satisfied. I won't sleep without it, because if I do I may as well not be sleeping. Never used a bipap, but from what I understand it "sucks" as well as "blows". The CPAP helps with keeping pressure while inhaling, but does not assist with exhaling. I guess the Bipap does. Anyway, good luck and sweet dreams.

By anon21078 — On Nov 09, 2008

arcompton~ just wanted to tell you that the difference in bi-pap and c-pap it that with a bi-pap you have no pressure to exhale against where as with c-pap the pressure is continuous thus the name. This change might allow you to breath easier. Bi-pap is especially helpful for people with COPD. Your Dr. must have some reason for changing this therapy. You should ask him/her to explain.

By saumyashah — On Sep 25, 2008

hi. this saumya shah.i just wanted clarification on use of CPAP & BIPAP.My grandmother is facing sleep Apnea Syndrome and she is troubled by constant CO2 retention in her blood. So kindly guide us which equipment to use?? Which is Effective??? How is that going to help her??? I would be grateful if you all can guide me. Thank you.

By anon15639 — On Jul 17, 2008

If you are on a bi-pap you should have a heated humidifier.

By jgolden28 — On May 04, 2008

I am currently under evaluation for a BiPAP. Is there any downside to the use of a BiPAP compared to a CPAP?

By lorriesityar — On Jun 18, 2007

Hi, My daughter was born June 4, 2007 and she is still in the neonatal ICU until now and was diagnosed with a Congenital Central Hypo ventilation Syndrome. They tried using a CPAP but it did not work the doctor told me that they will try a BPAP but they will try to look for one. My questions are:Will a BPAP work in her condition? Was there any cases similar to my daughter that you know BPAP worked? How much will it cost to get one unit for my daughter and where? If it doesn't work what other devices can you recommend? Thank you and hope you can answer my questions and help me. Lawrence (Canada)

By arcompton — On Jun 06, 2007

I've been using a cpap for about 15 years. I recently under went another sleep study due to being lethargic, constantly tired, muddled mind, wear down quickly, etc.

During the sleep test I wore a full face mask (my cpap has a nose only mask) and wore a bipap machine. I didn't particularly care for the bipap and didn't sleep well.

Per the techncian I still maxed out the pressure on the test.

Based on the test and neuroligist evaluation of the sleep study my dr. is recommedning a bipap.

I'm a little confused. I have no real issues with my cpap (maxed out at 20 liters and has been for several years). If both machines were maxed out at 20 liters, what good would a bipap do over a cpap?

While wearing the bipap my mouth was extremely dry several times during the night, yet I continued to snore.

I'm willing to try the bipap but would like to unedrstand why it might be helpful, if it will. It just doesn't seem to be logical to me.

I understand the need for test results, analysis, etc. In simplest terms - If my cpap is pumping 20 liters of air (No problems sleeping, once I'm asleep) and a bipap is pumping air at 20 liters (drying out my mouth due to air pushing through it), is there any value in switching?

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