Different PAP Features
There are several different options in terms of PAP (positive airway pressure) machines with different features. The good news is that when people are trying to decide which device to use, there are many different features to consider. Some questions to consider in determining the best fit may include:
- What is the size and weight of the machine?
- Is it easy to travel with?
- Does it have a humidifier?
- Does it have a “RAM” feature which is basically an opportunity to drop the pressure of the machine temporarily so it’s easier to use?
- Does the machine have the ability to collect data, to record information such as how often it is being used?
- How comfortable is the machine / mask combination?
In the past, positive airway pressure devices were difficult to travel with, but in the recent years, they’ve become much easier both due to a decrease in size and also because they can adjust more easily to different altitudes and different voltages. People will often simply just need to plug it after to change countries, and they are small enough that they can be taken on airplanes as carry-on luggage. Because a CPAP machine is a medical device, it should not count against the carry-on luggage quota.
A humidifier is usually an important feature for any positive airway pressure device. A humidifier is a reservoir of water usually attached directly to the machine. That water helps deliver more moisture to the air, so it’s easier to use. By using a humidifier people tend to have less issues with dry nose and dry mouth, and that can help people use CPAP for longer periods at night.
Those who are just starting to use a machine may initially find the pressure to be uncomfortable. The ramp feature allows users to experience a lower pressure temporarily as they fall asleep. After the CPAP user is asleep, the pressure goes up, ensuring that the airway remains open. The ramp feature can help balance comfort with the effectiveness of the treatment.
Many of the newer positive airway pressure devices are able to capture data while someone is using the device at home. This data can be as simple as capturing how often someone is using the device and as sophisticated as determining whether the sleep apnea is being addressed while on the device. This data is either be captured and remain on the device itself or it can be transmitted back to the physician for review.