Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is air pressure that is delivered into your airways by a machine. The pressure helps keep your airway open. It allows air to more easily get in an out of your lungs.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Obstructive sleep apnea is when breathing is blocked during sleep. This can happen several times each night. It can cause daytime sleepiness and lead to other serious health complications. CPAP helps to keep the throat and airway open, stopping the sleep apnea cycle. It is considered to be the most effective treatment for sleep apnea.
CPAP may have been recommended for sleep apnea that is associated with:
Most patients who use CPAP report at least one side effect. The first night using a CPAP machine can be difficult. You may even sleep worse at first. It is important to prepare for this adjustment. Talk with your doctor about steps you can take to minimize any discomfort.
CPAP is considered very safe. Talk to your doctor about potential complications, such as:
If you are undergoing CPAP treatment for sleep apnea, you will use the machine as long as it is needed.
Some patients using CPAP report chest muscle discomfort. Talk with your doctor about the best way for you to relieve any discomfort.
If you are getting a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, you must stay in the sleep lab for a sleep study. This is done to make sure that the correct amount of pressure is used. You could have to stay in the sleep lab for just one night or a few nights.
Stopping use of the CPAP will most likely cause symptoms of sleep apnea to return. Follow the instructions for the care and cleaning of your machine and mask.
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Otolaryngology
American Lung Association
American Sleep Apnea Association
The Canadian Sleep Society (CSS)
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology
The Lung Association
Barnes M, Houston D, Worsnop CJ, et al. A randomized controlled trial of continuous positive airway pressure in mild obstructive sleep apnea. Am J Respir Crit Care Med . 2002:165:773-780.
Bratzke E, Downs JB, Smith RA. Intermittent CPAP: a new mode of ventilation during general anesthesia. Anesthesiol . 1998;89(2):334-340.
Chowdhuri S. Continuous positive airway pressure for the treatment of sleep apnea. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America . 2007; 40(4):807-27.
Masip J, Roque M, Sanchez B, et al. Noninvasive ventilation in acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema: systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2005;294:3124-3310.
Montserrat J, Ferrar M, Hernandez L, et al. Effectiveness of CPAP treatment in daytime function in sleep apnea syndrome: a randomized controlled study with an optimized placebo. Am J Respir Crit Care Med . 2001;64:608-613.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated December 27, 2012. Accessed January 3, 2013.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2012 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.
What can we help you find?close ×