Definition of CPAP
CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
CPAP patients during sleep wear a face mask connected to a pump that forces air into the nasal passages at pressures high enough to overcome obstructions in the airway and stimulate normal breathing. The airway pressure delivered into the upper airway is continuous during both inspiration and expiration.
Nasal CPAP is currently the best treatment for severe obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP is safe and effective, even in children. Tissues are prevented from collapsing during sleep, and apnea is effectively prevented without surgical intervention. Daytime sleepiness improves or resolves. Heart function and hypertension also improve. And, importantly, the quality of life improves.
At first, CPAP patients should be monitored in a sleep lab to determine the appropriate amount of air pressure for them. The first few nights on CPAP tend to be difficult, with patients experiencing less sleep. Many patients at first find the mask uncomfortable, claustrophobic or embarrassing. CPAP is not a cure and must be used every night for life. Non-compliant patients experience a full return of obstructive sleep apnea and related symptoms.
Last Editorial Review: 4/27/2011 5:27:15 PM
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