BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure therapy is commonly referred to by the trademarked names
BiPAP or BIPAP. CPAP and BiPAP machines share a common purpose, which is to provide a non-invasive therapy for patients suffering from sleep apnea. Both machines deliver pressurized air through a facial mask; however, there is a difference between BiPAP and CPAP therapy.
Since there are many forms of Sleep Apnea treatments, BiPAP is prescribed to individuals who have trouble with the standard therapy or do not respond enough to CPAP therapy. Due to the variance in breathing patterns and pressures in each individual during sleep, BiPAP treatments are designed to keep the user breathing more comfortably, as there are different pressure patterns occurring during deep sleep. Delivering two levels of pressure, a Bilevel provides a more natural breathing experience. Individuals normally have a high pressure during inhalation and a low pressure during exhalation.
BiPAP machines have two pressure settings: the prescribed pressure for inhalation (ipap) and a lower pressure for exhalation (epap). This allows the user to get a more diverse airflow, providing the patient with the experience of a more “natural” sleep.
Similar to the CPAP machine, a BiPAP machine provides pressure when you inhale and keeps the airways in the nose and throat from closing during sleep. However, the dual settings allow for a lower pressure setting during the exhale, alleviating discomfort and exhalation difficulties. During both pressure settings, the machine applies enough pressure to maintain an open airway.
Studies have shown that many patients are not comfortable with a constant singular pressure. BiPAP machines have been substituted when the CPAPs have failed in treating some patients. With a BiPAP machine, patients can breathe easier as the machine adapts to the air pressure during these dual levels of breathing patterns. This allows the patient to exhale more easily and inhale more comfortably. BiPAP machines have also been prescribed for patients who have congestive heart failure and other serious diseases affecting the heart and lungs.
It is always important to check with your doctor or sleep specialist to help you decide which machine is best for you and your situation. Be sure to convey to your doctor or sleep specialist any trials or difficulties you have experienced with your BiPAP or CPAP devices.
There is no difference in the operation of the BiPAP and CPAP machines. The attachments are the same.