You know what a smart phone is…but what about a smart CPAP machine?
On the most basic level, a PAP (positive airway pressure) machine is a medical device that blows pressurized air through the airway to prevent the throat closing during sleep apnea. But increasingly advanced technology in these machines is leading to all sorts of capabilities, including air pressure that is perfectly adjusted to your needs and the ability to track your CPAP usage or compliance.
Auto-adjusting CPAP Machines
Auto-adjusting devices, called autotitrating CPAP or APAP, respond to the breathing patterns of each individual patient to optimize the air pressure administered. The machine monitors the breathing patterns of the user and outputs the right amount of pressure at the right time to prevent apneas with maximum comfort.
The idea behind auto-adjusting CPAP is that it adjusts it’s pressure based on the severity of your sleep apnea. The pressure may change from night to night or throughout the night.
Often, the mean pressure for automated devices is lower than the mean nightly pressure for CPAP devices. The more comfortable the treatment, the more likely patients are to use it regularly and to effectively treat their dangerous sleep disorder.
Another, more common type of PAP machine that has a similar function is a bilevel device. These machines have two pressure settings–one higher setting during inhalation designed to keep the airway open, and another, lower pressure during exhalation. This makes therapy more comfortable for some patients because it’s easier to breathe against a lower pressure. These are a good option for patients who have trouble sleeping with a CPAP machine because they require a higher treating pressure for their sleep apnea (learn more about insurance coverage for bilevel machines here).
Data Storage Capability
Data storage capability means that the CPAP machine can store data and measurements about how often you use your CPAP machine, how you are sleeping, and whether the settings on your device are effective. With software imbedded in the machine, any irregularities are tracked over time and analyzed by health care providers.
With this new capacity, you and your doctor will be able to monitor your sleep quality and compliance over time. You can motivate yourself to use your machine more, and adjustments can be made to your treatment with greater accuracy which will in turn produce better outcomes. However, there are inevitably privacy concerns over the collecting of CPAP data. You can read more about the issue here.
Since 2014, most new CPAP machines also come with internal wireless modems that use cell phone networks to transmit usage data each morning to your CPAP provider. This means that you will no longer have to bring a data card from your machine to your doctor or CPAP provider so that they can monitor your usage. Data is available immediately.
Both of these advances in CPAP technology are aimed at improving the therapy experience for patients with sleep apnea. If you think you may benefit from an autotitrating CPAP or a CPAP with wireless monitoring, contact us today for more information including information about insurance coverage.
We also offer CPAP device in our online store.
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