APAP Vs CPAP Machines: Which One Should You Choose?

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you have probably used a CPAP (continuous passive airway pressure) device. CPAP therapy is the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea, delivering successful outcomes for a lot of patients in India.

CPAP machine usually consists of a mask that you must wear over your nose and mouth while sleeping. The mask has a hose connected to a small machine that you can keep at your bedside. This machine pumps air into your airway via the hose and the mask to ensure the airway is kept open. It is the least invasive method to help you sleep restfully through the night.

Currently, you have two kinds of CPAP devices available in the market - fixed and automatic CPAP. Here is a look at what they are, and how they are different.

What is an Automatic CPAP Machine?

The auto CPAP machines (APAP), also called self-adjusting CPAPs, can flexibly maintain the right amount of air pressure you need throughout your sleep. This eliminates the need for you to change the pressure manually at within the night, or when your health conditions change.

There are a range of auto CPAP machines available in the market that you can consider. These include ResMed auto CPAP machines like AirStart 10, FloTon, AirCurve 10 VAuto, AirSense 10, AutoSet, AirCurve 10 S, AirCurve 10 ASV, and AirCurve 10 ST.

APAP Vs CPAP Machines: Which One Should You Choose?

Is APAP Better than CPAP?

Although the treatment mechanism for both CPAP and APAP machines is the same—air is pumped through a hose which is connected to a mask that you wear on your nose—the pressure with which the air is pumped is different for the two devices.

In a CPAP machine, the air pressure is fixed at a particular level and maintained throughout the night. On the other hand, APAP machines can automatically adjust the pressure depending on your requirement and breathing pattern while asleep.

When both the machines deliver the same results—uninterrupted sleep—why is an APAP machine better than CPAP?

  • The air pressure you need today to keep your airway open may change tomorrow, for a number of reasons. 

  • Or, the air pressure you need during different stages of your sleep also differs through the night, depending on how relaxed your airway muscles are.

  • Alternatively, you may catch flu, have nasal conditions, catch a seasonal allergy, or your body may change depending on your lifestyle.

All these factors can alter the amount and the pressure of air you need to sleep well. And therefore using an APAP device can yield better results.

APAP Vs CPAP Machines: Which One Should You Choose?

In such situations, you will need to consult your healthcare provider who will determine the correct pressure that you would now need. The CPAP machine must then be calibrated to the new pressure requirements. This may need to be repeated many times in a year and can be a major hassle. However, a device that’s intelligent enough to adjust the air pressure according to your changing requirements can save you a lot of time and frequent trips to the healthcare provider.

APAP devices have inbuilt algorithms that sense bodily events to adjust the air pressure automatically, so that your airway is open and you can breathe easy despite changing body conditions. These devices are especially useful for people who want to customize their device for specific conditions—flu, allergy, and so on.

That said, it’s important to understand that pressure adjustments on APAP devices, at times, may be a tad slower than expected. For instance, if you roll over to another side, your machine may take some time to adjust and reach the optimum air pressure. This is not to suggest that the air pressure will not reach the correct level, it eventually will, but not immediately.

Research proves that treatment results from both CPAP and APAP machines are similar. However, if comfort is one of your primary parameters while purchasing a CPAP device, then investing in an automatic CPAP or APAP device is a good choice for you. Similarly, you can also look into purchasing a portable CPAP machine that is particularly helpful for people who are travelling.

If you’re still exploring CPAP therapy and whether it’s a good option for you, take the CPAP trial to know for sure.

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