Bi-level positive airway pressure (BIPAP) is a method of
treatment for sleep apnea. It was developed from the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). It uses pressurized air to keep a person’s airway open, thus preventing apnea attacks.
The cpap and bipap machines have the same system set-up. They look alike with the bipap machines only slightly bigger. They are both composed of the portable machine, the hose and the mask. The sleep apnea mask delivers the pressurized air to the patient. The main difference between a CPAP and a BIPAP is the way they provide air pressure. The CPAP pumps air continuously into a person’s airway to aid inhalation. The BIPAP pumps air both during inhale and exhale. The air pressure is set higher during inhale and lesser during exhale. This allows the patient to breathe normally without going against the incoming air when he or she exhales. The dual setting feature of the bipap allows patients to get more air into their lungs.
The cpap treatment therapy is normally not advisable for people suffering from neuromuscular diseases. One advantage of the bipap machine is that it can be used by people with neuromuscular conditions. It has also been proven useful for those suffering from congestive heart failure and those with high levels of carbon dioxide.
These machines are not only used by people with sleep apnea but other respiratory requirements as well. For those patients in which intubation are not possible, the bipap machine can help them with breathing. It is also proven to be useful for patients suffering from a collapsed lung, losing ability to breathe normally.
The use of a bipap machine should be prescribed by a doctor. The doctor will first perform several tests to determine if this will be beneficial to the patient. The tests are usually respiratory types of tests which measure lung capacity. This will also help the doctor prescribe an air pressure setting for the machine. One such test is the Forced Vital Test which tests how deeply a person breathes.
The success of a sleep apnea treatment depends largely on compliance to the machine and proper cleaning and care. One of the most common reasons why patients quit this treatment is due to discomfort. Some simply cannot get used to sleeping with a sleep apnea mask attached to the face every night. That is why the mask is the most important component of the machine. The fit has to be snug so that the patient will feel comfortable while sleeping. A good fitting mask will also prevent leaks and help deliver the correct pressure of air to the lungs. The mask also needs to be washed daily after use and thoroughly cleaned with a mild soap or cpap cleanser once a week. The filters of the cpap or bipap machine needs to be replaced monthly.
Bipap machines are not cheap. In fact, its a little bit pricier than the cpap machine. However, the added comfort and health benefits that a bipap can provide cannot be measured. Good news is, it can be covered by medical insurance but it will only depend on the insurance coverage. Some insurance plans cover a certain percentage from the total price of the machine. Other insurances are able to pay for the whole amount of the machine. Some companies allow bipap machine rentals and others offer a staggered monthly payment scheme.
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