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Difference Between CPAP and BIPAP Therapy

Difference Between CPAP and BIPAP Therapy

CPAP Therapy


  What is CPAP? CPAP therapy is a type of pressure that is continuous to constantly keep the airways open.(1) In CPAP therapy the inspiratory positive airway pressure (breathing in) and expiratory (breathing out) are continuously the same.(1)


  What are the indications for CPAP? The most common use of CPAP therapy is due to airway collapse, which is usually caused by Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).(1) However, another use of CPAP is in patients who have respiratory distress syndrome.


  When should CPAP not be used? Patients that have reduced consciousness, respiratory arrest, trauma or burns involving the face, respiratory secretions, severe nausea/vomiting, or Chronic Obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). (1)


  The components of CPAP therapy include using a mask, machine, and humidifier. “ A CPAP machine also includes straps to position the mask, a hose or tube that connects the mask to the machine’s motor, a motor that blows air into the tube, and an air filter to purify the air entering the nose”. (1) CPAP therapy can be administered nasally, nasopharyngeally ( an airway placed through the nose whose tip terminates in the nasopharynx), or by using a facemask, for patients that are heavy breathers .(1)


  “In an out of hospital setting, at first CPAP patients should be monitored in a sleep lab where the optimal pressure is often determined by a technologist manually titrating settings to minimize apnea. A sleep doctor or pulmonologist can help find the most comfortable mask, trial a humidifier chamber in the machine, or use a different CPAP machine that allows multiple or auto-adjusting pressure settings. Auto-titrating CPAP machines use computer algorithms and pressure transducer sensors to determine the ideal pressure to eliminate apneic events.”(1)


  “ Side effects of CPAP treatment may include congestion, runny nose, dry mouth, or nose bleeds; humidification can often help with these symptoms. Masks may cause irritation or redness of the skin, and use of the right size mask and padding can minimize pressure sores from tight contact with skin”. (1)


BIPAP Therapy


  What is BiPAP? Sometimes considered a type of ventilator that has two levels of pressure. It is different from CPAP because “ while using BiPap, you receive positive air pressure when you breathe in and when you breathe out. But you receive higher air pressure when you breathe in.”(2)


  What are the indications for BiPAP? Unlike CPAP, which is primarily used for OSA, BiPAP can be used for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, asthma flare-ups, or neurological diseases that disrupt sleeping. However, BiPAP can also be used for OSA in patients that fail to tolerate CPAP. (2)


  When should BiPAP not be used? BiPAP is not good to use when your breathing is poor, you have consciousness problems, or problems swallowing. (2)


  What are the components of BiPAP? A face mask, nasal mask, or nasal plugs, the machine’s motor, which blows air into a tube, and tubing that connects the machine’s motor to the mask or plugs. Your BiPap machine might also have other features, such as a heated humidifier. (2)


  What are the side effects of BiPAP therapy? You can experience local skin damage from the mask, mild stomach bloating, dry mouth, eye irritation, and sinus pain or congestion.


(1) Pinto VL, Sharma S. Continous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). StatPearls Publishing LLC; 2018

(2) Bipap. John Hopkins University; Website.,314 . Accessed October 23, 2018.

Artur Dzhurinskiy
18 April, 2019

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My name is Artur Dzhurinskiy and I graduated from St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 2014 with a doctor of pharmacy degree. Through my academics I gained valuable experience learning about various medications that more:

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