CPAP vs. BiPAP

What is the difference between CPAP and BiPAP?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that affects millions of people. It is characterized by loud snoring and stoppages in breathing. There are two types of apparatus that have been developed to help people with this condition – CPAP and BiPAP. They keep the airways open so that the sleeper can breathe evenly during the night and have a restful night.

There is a variety of ventilation modes and interfaces that can be used with either of these devices. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. BiPAP stands for Bi-level positive airway pressure. Both of them provide non-invasive ventilation (INV).

What is a CPAP machine?

The decision to use a CPAP depends largely on the extent of the sleep apnea condition that the patient has. It also depends on how efficient the ventilators are and the experience that the doctor has with treating this condition. The CPAP device is the most common device used and is best for obstructive sleep apnea. It is also used in patients who have a susceptibility for congestive heart failure.

What is a BiPAP machine?

BiPAP is the choice used by doctors in treating patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It has positive airway pressure to bring in air and a method of taking the air out. This means that a BiPAP needs inspiratory positive airway pressure (IPAP) and expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP). It controls the flow and the volume of air.

The difference between CPAP and BiPAP

Usage: They are both non-invasive ventilation devices. CPAP devices are tolerant of leaks and are easy to use.

Indications: The increased pressure of air when you inhale using a CPAP machine keeps the mouth and nose airways open when you sleep. This is the method used for treating patients with sleep apnea. For those with chronic respiratory conditions, such as COPD, the BiPAP is the best device to use. It is also good for patients who could suffer from congestive heart failure or who have nerve and muscle problems.

Pressure: There is only one pressure used in CPAP when you inhale. There are two pressures in BiPAP – one when you inhale and another when you exhale.

Equipment: The CPAP is a very simple device. It can be set to automatically come on when you inhale. There is a mask that you put on, but you have a choice of one that covers the nose only and one that covers the nose and the mouth. Tubing connects the mask to the machine. A BiPAP uses the same type of equipment, but it has two pressures.

Operation: A BiPAP machine offers breathing assistance but a CPAP machine uses pressure to keep the airways open. They can be set on a certain amount of pressure based on the results of the sleep test for sleep apnea.

Noise Level: The BiPAP tends to run more quietly than a CPAP because it has a humidifier attached.

Side Effects: Some of the common side effects in patients who use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea are headaches, skin allergies, nasal congestion and bloating.

The choice as to whether to use a CPAP or a BiPAP depends on the needs of the patient. In order to diagnose sleep apnea a patient has to take a sleep test. Whichever device you use they do supply the proper amount of pressure to ensure that you take the proper number of breaths per minute.