Both CPAP and BIPAP ventilation are the most commonly prescribed therapies for sleep apnea. Both forms of ventilation are based on positive pressure and continuously supply breathing air to the patient at night while they are sleeping via a full-face or nasal mask. But what exactly is the difference?
Have you always wanted to know how the two ventilation methods differ and for whom CPAP or BiPAP is the better choice? Also, in this post, learn how sleep apnea can be treated without a mask and even be cured permanently.
What do CPAP and BiPAP therapy have in common?
Before we dive into the differences between CPAP and BiPAP, let's take a look at what the two treatment approaches have in common.
CPAP is short for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. BiPAP stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure. Both ventilation methods are non-invasive forms of therapy for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
CPAP and BiPAP devices do not differ in application, function and effect: CPAP, like BiPAP, supplies sleep apnea patients with air at night via a full or nasal mask. The devices work with overpressure, which transports the air directly into the respiratory tract. The overpressure prevents the pharyngeal muscles from collapsing and prevents narrowing of the airways. When used correctly, positive pressure ventilation, also known as pneumatic splinting, stops life-threatening breathing pauses at night. CPAP and BiPAP also reduce snoring, and in some cases even completely eliminate it.
What is the difference between CPAP and BiPAP machines?
Even if CPAP and BiPAP are identical in use in terms of the mask, functionality and opening effect, the two ventilation methods also differ in a few points.
The most crucial difference is the air pressure. CPAP only has one air pressure setting, while BiPAP has two. That is, a CPAP machine applies consistent pressure to the airway, while a BiPAP mask applies higher pressure when inhaling and lower pressure when exhaling. As a result, CPAP users have to expend more force when exhaling than BiPAP users.
Who is CPAP ventilation suitable for?
CPAP is the standard therapy for severe obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP machines deliver a steady, steady stream of compressed air into the airways. Varying the air pressure is not possible with CPAP compared to BiPAP. However, many CPAP machines have a built-in ramp function. Such devices then start with a low pressure setting and gradually increase this up to the desired pressure setting. This comfort function ensures that the pressure does not build up suddenly when you fall asleep and is therefore more tolerable. Once the pressure reaches the set value, it remains constant throughout the night.
Who is BiPAP the device of choice for?
Because of their differences, CPAP and BiPAP machines are not prescribed to the same patient groups. BiPAP therapy is used particularly often when CPAP does not bring the desired success. But BiPAP is also the device of choice for sleep apnea patients who need high air pressure settings or have particularly low oxygen saturations.
In addition, the therapy can be helpful in the treatment of patients with cardiopulmonary diseases such as heart failure and is also increasingly prescribed for patients with pulmonary diseases such as COPD or certain neuromuscular diseases.
What if I can't handle either CPAP or BiPAP?
Nighttime panic attacks from fear of suffocation, restricted mobility from all the cables and hoses, and a deformed face upon waking are just a few of the side effects of wearing a CPAP or BiPAP mask and reasons why sleep apnea patients' ventilatory therapies are not consistently followed through will.
If you too find it difficult to constantly exhale against the air pressure or positive pressure ventilation is not an option for you for another reason, let us explain the "bimaxillary advancement" with CounterClockwise Rotation to you. The operation, in which the upper and lower jaws are advanced, is the only causal therapy for sleep apnea. Compared to CPAP and BiPAP, surgery doesn't just relieve symptoms, it widens your airway, completely eliminating the cause of your sleep apnea. After the operation you will never have to wear a mask again and you will finally be able to sleep through the night again without stopping to breathe.