differences between cpap, apap, vpap

What’s The Difference Between CPAP, VPAP And APAP Breathing Machines?

When it comes to breathing assistance machines, many people immediately think of the CPAP machine.  In actuality, there are three different devices for breathing assistance that are all relatively common. It is extremely important for people suffering from breathing problems to know the different kinds of machines that are available for assistance. The three most common breathing assistance machines are the CPAP, the VPAP, and the APAP.

CPAP therapy, more commonly referred to as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is the most recognized form of breathing assistance. CPAP therapy is most commonly used by people who suffer from sleep apnea; both obstructive apnea and mixed apnea. This form of therapy consists of a small machine that blows air, a tube, and a mask. The mask is worn on the face when sleeping, and air from the machine is pushed through the tube into the mask. The air pushed in through the mask has enough pressure to keep the airway open while sleeping. Keeping the airway full and open reduces the risk of any obstructions that could cause the cessation or stopping of airflow during sleep.

VPAP therapy, variable positive airway pressure, is a lot like CPAP therapy; the components of the machine and the basic function are the same. Air pressure is being created in a machine and inspirited through a mask. The key difference is the way that air is created and expelled through the machine. Instead of emitting a constant stream of pressurized air like CPAP machines do, variable positive airway pressure machines only emit the air that is required for the user. The machine registers the inspirations and expirations of the sleeper, and delivers different amounts of air during different periods of the night. More air is emitted when a person is inspiriting because more support is needed to keep the airway open. In congruence, the machine emits less air during expiration. VPAP is also commonly called bi-level positive airway pressure, and is notably more expensive than CPAP.

Automatic positive airway pressure, APAP, is the most up to date breathing assistance machine. The machine is equipped with pressure sensors and a computer that work together to constantly monitor how much a person is breathing. The computer automatically adjusts the pressure of air being released to meet the immediate needs of the user. When a person is having difficulty breathing, the pressure is increased; it decreases when the pressure is not needed as much. It is still a relatively experimental machine, but it has been approved by the FDA.

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