The BiPAP is a kind of sleep apnea machine that can be used for patients with obstructive sleep apnea(OSA), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS), and central sleep apnea (CSA), or coronary artery disease.
Different from CPAP, BiPAP offers two positive air pressure settings that are called IPAP and EPAP separately. IPAP means that when you breathe in, BiPAP provides more air pressure; while EPAP means that when you breathe out, it delivers less air pressure.
There are many BiPAP machines for sale on the market including ResMed BiPAP, Philips Respironics BiPAP, and BMC BiPAP, and you can choose the best one according to your needs. After you own a BiPAP machine, you should learn how to use it.
How to Use a BiPAP Machine?
To help you use your BiPAP machine effectively, it is essential to know how to use the machine. Knowing the following step can make your machine work well and help you breathe and sleep well.
8 Steps of Using a Bipap Machine Correctly
- Find a good place for the BiPAP machine. A BiPAP machine can only be effectively used in a spacious place that is close to the socket. So you can plug the machine into the socket for easy use. For most people, the best location is the nightstand or the small table near the bed.
- Check the BiPAP filter. The machine usually comes with a replaceable filter and the type of the filter is based on the machine type. You should read the product's user manual for the replacement of the filter.
- Attach the BiPAP Hose and Mask. Most hoses have a connection cuff, which can fit almost most masks. Please make sure that your mask will not affect the connection of the hoses.
- Set up the humidifier. If your machine has a humidifier, don't forget to fill it with distilled water. Do not use tap water as it can cause mineral buildup or impurity problems. Be careful not to put too much water.
- Wear the BiPAP mask properly. BiPAP masks can be classified into different types including full face masks, nasal masks, and nasal pillow masks. You can choose one based on your face and sleeping position. To wear the mask properly, you should first sit on the bed and wear the mask with loose straps. Then gradually lay on the bed and adjust the length of the straps for maximum comfort.
- Set up the machine pressure setting. Before you start BiPAP therapy, your healthcare team will adjust the pressure setting of your machine. And if you want to change the pressure setting, you should consult your doctor.
- Turn on the BiPAP machine. When the machine is turned on, you will feel that the pressure is increasing and you just need to relax yourself. If you think the pressure is too high initially, ramp mode is suitable for you. In this mode, the pressure gradually increases to your ideal pressure from a low one.
- Find a good sleeping position. You can try different sleeping positions to find the most comfortable position for your body.
5 Tips for Getting Used to Your BiPAP machine
- Try using the BiPAP machine for 1 hour every day while you are doing activities such as watching TV or reading.
- Use your machine during naps for 1 hour in the daytime.
- Practice breathing with the mask when you use the machine.
- Use your machine during sleep at night for 3 to 4 hours when you are a beginner.
- Remember to clean your face every time before you use the machine.
BiPAP Machine Maintenance&Cleaning
Wipe the mask, strap, and headgear gently with soap water and repeat the wiping with warm water every day. Let them air dry.
The humidifier should be empty every day and filled with distilled water.
- The BiPAP machine should be wiped with a damp cloth and please avoid too much water getting into the machine.
- The tubing, mask, and strap should be washed weekly with mild soap water. Let them soak in the water for 5-10 minutes and then hang dry.
- The filter should also be washed in mild soap and let it dry before putting it into the machine.
- The humidifier should be soaked into the liquid made of 1-part vinegar and 5-parts water for over 30 minutes. Then let it air dry.
- Do not use bleach to wash any part of your machine.
- Remember to wash your machine with sterile or distilled water.
- Do not soak the whole machine in the water.
- Don't share your machine with others and never use others' machines.
- Never use tap water in the humidifier.
- Avoid direct sunlight on your machine and other accessories.
When do I use the BiPAP machine?
If you find that it is difficult for you to breathe or you often feel fatigued in the daytime, it's time to use a BiPAP machine. You will surely benefit from this sleep device.
How many hours should I wear a BiPAP machine per day?
To benefit from a BiPAP machine, you should wear your BiPAP equipment for at least 4 hours per day. But it could be better if you wear it for the entire night during your sleep. You can also wear the BiPAP machine in the daytime if possible.
Can I eat while on a BiPAP machine?
Never eat or drink anything while using a BiPAP machine or you may inhale them into your lungs.
How do I read my BiPAP machine?
You should understand 4 things about readings on BiPAP: mode, AHI, leak, and pressure.
A BiPAP machine has four common modes: CPAP Mode, S mode (Spontaneous mode), ST mode (Spontaneous/Timed mode), and T mode (Timed mode). In CPAP mode, the BiPAP machine only offers continuous positive airway pressure like a CPAP machine. In S mode, the machine is triggered by the patient's breath, which means that the machine won't deliver a breath if the patient doesn't start breathing. In ST mode, it supports both patient-triggered and machine-triggered breath. You can also set time in this mode. And in T mode, the machine offers continuous air pressure automatically according to the preset respiratory rate.
AHI (Apnea Hypopnea Index) is a measurement of apneas severity. It records the average number of hypopneas and apneas each hour. American Academy of Sleep Medicine Task Force regulates that an AHI of fewer than 5 per sleep hour is normal.
BiPAP leak is usually recorded in liters per minute. Different brands have different requirements for air leaks and if it has an excessive leak, you should adjust or change the mask.
The dual pressure will be set in the BiPAP machine and you can adjust it based on your own needs. The doctor will prescribe the highest pressure to help patients avoid sleep episodes.