What are CPAP Accessories?

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  • Written By: Karyn Maier
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2018
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CPAP is an acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This is a type of respiratory therapy for those who suffer from sleep apnea. This therapy can be performed at home through the use of a CPAP machine and various related CPAP accessories. However, a prescribing physician must determine which CPAP accessories are appropriate for a patient using a CPAP system. Some of the systems and CPAP accessories available include CPAP with CFLEX, Auto-Titrating CPAP, CPAP with Heated Humdifier.

To better appreciate the benefits of different CPAP systems and accessories, it’s necessary to understand how sleep apnea impacts the body and how a CPAP machine works to reverse these effects. First, sleep apnea results in a decline of available oxygen circulating in the blood due to a restriction of the upper airway during sleep, which usually causes the patient to wake up with a start. The CPAP machine corrects this by introducing compressed air into the airway passages at a calibrated measure known as titrated pressure, the level of which is also prescribed by a physician. This compressed air is delivered from the CPAP machine through a hose that is connected to one of several CPAP accessories, usually a full or partial facemask. The consistent pressure provided not only encourages airways to remain open, but also forces the patient to fully exhale into the mask and against the pressure created by the machine.


One of the most commonly recommended systems is CPAP with CFLEX, which became available through technology developed by a manufacturer of CPAP machines and accessories called Respironics. In this system, the level of pressure is flexible and adjusts to reduce the amount of titrated pressure just when the patient starts to exhale, making it easier to breathe in a more natural manner. Resmed, another manufacturer of CPAP machines and accessories, has introduced a similar technology, which it has dubbed Expiratory Pressure Relief (EPR).

Regardless of the type of CPAP system, one of the most important accessories to consider is the type of mask used. By far, the most common is the nasal mask, which completely surrounds the nose and is secured onto the head with bands that extend around the cheeks and forehead. The sections that cover the nose and make contact with the forehead are made comfortable by gel-filled pockets that mold to the shape of the patient’s nose and face.

Full facemasks, on the other hand, provide much greater air delivery. They also offer the benefit of the patient being able to breathe through the nose or the mouth, or both. However, some patients object to them since they cover most of the face and can be hard to get used to.



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what do you do with a spouse that hates the machine?

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