Difficulty breathing can affect your quality of life. Fortunately, multiple devices can help you breathe better. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what BiPAP machine is, how they work, and what to expect when using one.
What is a BiPAP machine and how does it work?
BiPAP is a form of non-invasive ventilation therapy (NIV) that is used to make breathing easier.
BiPAP machines can be used in hospitals and are also available for those who need them at home.
BiPAP home appliances are compact – about the size of a toaster. The device has a tube that is connected to a mask that is worn over the nose and mouth.
Like other ventilators, BiPAP machines use pressure to force air into the lungs. Depending on the setting, this opens the lungs, improves the level of oxygen in the blood, and lowers carbon dioxide.
These machines are called two-stage because they have two air pressure settings:
- When you breathe in, BiPAP machine deliver more air pressure. This is also known as inspiratory positive airway pressure (IPAP).
- When you exhale, the device reduces the air pressure. This is known as expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP).
What is a BiPAP used for?
BiPAP machines can be used at home to treat conditions that make breathing difficult. Some conditions that can be helpful are:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome (OHS)
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Central sleep apnea
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- BiPAP machine can be used in hospitals to treat respiratory emergencies. Because they are non-invasive, they are usually preferable to intubation.
Doctors tend to use them in cases that aren’t severe enough to require intubation. For example, a BiPAP machine can be used to treat respiratory failure caused by an outbreak of COPD, pulmonary edema, or pneumonia.
They are also used to help ensure adequate breathing after a person has been removed from intubation.
A 2020 article suggests that BiPAP ventilators can be an effective therapy for people with moderate breathing difficulties caused by COVID-19.
However, there is little published data on BiPAP machines for this purpose and best practices are evolving.
How does a BiPAP differ from a CPAP Machine?
BiPAP and CPAP machines have a lot in common. Both deliver positive air pressure (PAP) through a tabletop device that is connected to a hose and mask. Sometimes they can be used to treat the same conditions and have similar side effects.
The main difference between a BiPAP and a CPAP machine is how the air pressure is delivered:
- BiPAP machine offer two levels of air pressure.
- CPAP machines ensure constant air pressure.
CPAPs are usually the first treatment option for people with obstructive sleep apnea. Continuous pressure keeps the airway open and no two pressures are required.
But BiPAP is an alternative when a CPAP machine is not working or is not well tolerated. They offer higher air pressure on inspiration and lower pressure on expiration. This makes them more effective or comfortable for some people with obstructive sleep apnea.
According to the American College of Physicians, BiPAPs are the preferred treatment for some people with COPD. This is because people with COPD tend to have difficulty breathing out; Some may find it difficult to exhale against the continuous pressure of a CPAP machine.
Another difference is that the BiPAP machine delivers two pressures. The greater the difference between IPAP and EPAP, the more the device helps you breathe in deeper. This makes them useful for treating respiratory problems caused by neurological conditions such as ALS and muscular dystrophy.
Some BiPAP machines have a timer so that the device applies pressure even if the person stops breathing or is too weak to breathe. This makes them good for central sleep apnea or severe neurological disorders.
What to Expect When Using a BiPAP Machine
If you are asked to use a BiPAP machine, a ventilator specialist will usually set up the device for you. The machine must be calibrated and the settings adjusted according to the prescribed treatment.
Your doctor will help you understand what to expect when using your BiPAP machine at home and how to use it properly.
Depending on the condition it’s used for, you may be asked to use it all the time, sometimes, or just while sleeping. It is important to follow these instructions and use them as directed by your doctor or health care professional.
A BiPAP machine includes a table unit with a motor, tube and mask. You should be familiar with all of the parts, how they fit together, and how they work. The device comes with clear instructions on how often the mask and tube should be cleaned.
You may find it uncomfortable to use a BiPAP machine at first. Over time, you will likely get used to using the mask and machine airflow. If not, speak to your doctor to see if the settings can be adjusted or if there is another option that works well for you.
BiPAP machines are not loud, but the sound can take some getting used to. If the device is disturbing your sleep, consider using earplugs.
Side effects of the BiPAP Machine
BiPAP machines are very safe and have a low risk of side effects. Most of the side effects are mild. They can include:
- general discomfort
- dry mouth
- Dry nose
- runny nose
- Sinus pressure
- Skin irritation from the mask
Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Adjustments can often be made to relieve side effects such as dry mouth or nose and constipation.
If the mask is too tight on your face causing redness or dents, try loosening it. If that doesn’t help, there are mask coatings you can try, but the best option is usually to try a different mask size or style.
It is important that the mask not lie too loosely on the face as this can reduce the pressure required for BiPAP to work properly.
You can avoid this by checking the edges of the mask to make sure that no air is escaping. Some machines even display a “mask leak” warning so you can see if it’s working as intended.
Infections are rare but possible. You need to clean the mask and tube regularly to reduce the risk of infection.
The bottom line result
A BiPAP machine is a type of ventilator used to treat chronic conditions that affect your breathing.
It is similar to a CPAP machine, but unlike a CPAP, which offers a continuous air pressure level, a BiPAP offers two air pressure levels.
BiPAP machines are typically recommended for people with certain types of sleep apnea, as well as COPD, obesity-hypoventilation syndrome, and neurological conditions that affect breathing, such as ALS.
Contact Raza Corporation for more details.