I am looking for possible treatment for sleep apnea and came upon these two options. What is the difference between a CPAP machine and a BiPap machine and which one is more effective?
Doctors Answers (3)
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. The flow of air is set at a constant pressure when you inhale and exhale. This is generally regarded as the gold standard treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) delivers a preset positive airway pressure when inhaling and a preset pressure when exhaling. The difference is that the pressure when exhaling is less than the pressure when inhaling. The specific machine that you would need will be determined at the sleep lab during the CPAP titration study.
I assume you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea by an overnight sleep test. First question is whether it is obstructive sleep apnea (most common type) or central sleep apnea. CPAP is the first choice for obstructive sleep apnea. If it is not tolerated well - BiPAP can be tried. Your sleep doctor should help you make the treatment decision. Usually CPAP titration test is done after the initial sleep test (trial of the machine at night to determine the right pressure, fit for the mot appropriate mask etc). CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine delivers flow of air to prevent collapse (blockage) of airways and is used to treat OBSTRUCTIVE sleep apnea among other pulmonary conditions. Treatment is given via mask (full, face, nasal or nasal pillows) depending on the individual needs. The pressure of this air is determined individually during this CPAP titration study and should prevent both apnea and snoring. BiPAP or bilevel positive airway pressure uses two pressure settings- one pressure during "breathing in" and the second during "breathing out" portion of the breathing cycle. You breath out against a lower pressure. BiPAP can be used also for central sleep apnea. So in general one treatment is NOT better than the other. These are different machines and the decision to use CPAP vs. BiPAP should be based solely on your individual needs.
You do not make the decision whether you need or want a CPAP or BiPAP. This decision is made during a sleep study. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure which means that the pressure of the air you receive is the same when you inhale and exhale. The BiPAP machine allows for the air pressure to drop a little when you exhale.