The BiPAP, which stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure, is an adaptation of CPAP, also known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. There is only one main difference between BiPAP and CPAP. The BiPAP machine contains two outlets for inhaling and exhaling at varying air pressures; whereas the CPAP contains just the one outlet. Patients that were unable to find success with the CPAP have often found that they benefit from the BiPAP.
BiPAP Settings and Usage
The BiPAP machine comes with a mask that is used for inhaling and exhaling. The oxygen used for inhalation is set at a specific air pressure. This air pressure is adjusted to aid breathing with little to no additional effort on the part of the patient. This makes it a useful machine for those that are afflicted with heart failure or neuromuscular disease. You can qualify and obtain a prescription for a BiPAP machine by taking a lung capacity test.
To start up the BiPAP machine, attach the two hoses to the device that either contains a face mask or nasal pillow. The mask may only cover your nose or may cover the entirety of your nose and mouth. The mask should then be put on the patient to enable pressure to begin building. Once the mask is placed on the patient, the pressure will build quickly and will then allow for easy breathing. The setting known as IPAP is responsible for the increase in pressure as the patient inhales. Alternatively, the setting known as EPAP is responsible for the decrease in pressure as the patient exhales. Some of these machines contain a humidifier. The humidifier helps to eliminate the dryness that comes when breathing with the machine.
The pressure settings on your BiPAP machine can’t be programmed until your doctor has measured your lung capacity, diagnosed your condition, and determined what it should be set at. Regardless of your condition, whether it be COPD or sleep apnea, your doctor is solely responsible for setting the air pressure. It is dangerous for you to alter the settings on your machine and you should never do so without your doctor’s consent. Any changes that are made to the machine’s settings will be done by your doctor during your regularly scheduled appointments. A BiPAP machine operates in three different modes. These modes are:
• Spontaneous Mode: This mode permits the BiPAP machine to regulate itself depending upon the patient’s breathing patterns.
• Timed Mode: The timed mode, which is also known as ‘ramp’ mode, allows for only one level of air pressure to continue for a specified amount of time.
• Spontaneous/Timed Mode: For the most part, the spontaneous mode remains dominant and continues based upon the breathing patterns of the patient. However, in case the breathing pattern drops or stops completely, the air pressure adjusts for a timed period and will persist until the breathing is regulated.
The BiPAP is widely used to treat sleep apnea and COPD, but the settings can be altered to treat other conditions that cause breathing problems and shortness of breath. A BiPAP must be prescribed by a doctor, and the settings can also only be changed by the doctor or qualified technician. Users should leave the settings alone if they wish to prevent injury.