What is a BiPAP machine?
BiPAP is an abbreviation for BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure. A BiPAP machine (also called a BiLevel machine or BiLevel device) provides breathing support by blowing air into your lungs, through a hose and a mask. The device supports you during inhalation and exhalation, so that sufficient fresh air can flow in and out of your lungs. As a consequence, you’ll have a better oxygen saturation level and carbon dioxide level. During inhalation, a high airflow is blown into your lungs, while during exhalation, the airflow is less powerful. BiPAP devices are used by people with various diseases and conditions, such as COPD or sleep apnea.
The BiPAP machine is set to a certain pressure, in consultation with your physician or specialist. The device also has different modes, for example S (Spontaneous mode), T (Timed mode) or S/T (Spontaneous timed mode).
CPAP vs. BiPAP
The main difference between a CPAP and BiPAP is the air pressure level. A CPAP blows a fixed pressure into the airways, while a BiPAP has 2 pressure levels: 1 during inhalation and 1 during exhalation. During inhalation, the pressure is higher than during exhalation. A BiPAP can reach a higher pressure than a CPAP. Furthermore, a CPAP is mainly used at night, for treating sleep apnea. Sometimes, a BiPAP is also used during the day. Both a BiPAP and a CPAP can be used in combination with an oxygen concentrator. A BiPAP machine is available on prescription, while a CPAP machine doesn’t require a prescription.
Mask and accessories
The BiPAP delivers positive air pressure through the hose and mask. Many BiPAP users wear a full face mask, a type of mask that covers both the nose and mouth. The mucous membranes of your airways can feel dry because of the airflow. A humidifier can offer a solution. The humidifier is a chamber in which you can put distilled water. Thanks to humidification during your therapy, the air entering through your mask will be less dry. This way you’ll be less likely to suffer from a dry nose and throat!