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FAST FACTS: THE ABCS OF POSITIVE AIRWAY PRESSURE

APAP

  • Stands for “automatic positive airway pressure”
  • Delivers 1 single stream of pressurized air; however it delivers this stream inside a preset range of pressures as predetermined by the physician
  • Also referred to as Auto-CPAP
  • APAP is commonly prescribed
  • APAP is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

BiPAP

  • Stands for “bilevel positive airway pressure”
  • Delivers 2 streams of pressurized air: the higher pressure delivered is for the user’s inhalation, while a lighter pressure is delivered to the user during exhalation
  • Also referred to as BPAP
  • BiPAP is expensive and, therefore, less commonly prescribed
  • BiPAP is used mainly to treat central sleep apnea (CA) or complex sleep apnea (CSA), though it may be used for pressure-sensitive patients with OSA

CPAP

  • Stands for “continuous positive airway pressure”
  • Delivers 1 single stream of pressurized air
  • CPAP is the most common prescription for PAP
  • CPAP is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea

ASV

  • Stands for “adaptive servo ventilation”
  • Delivers air pressure based on sophisticated algorithms meant to match the complex breathing needs of its user
  • ASV is very expensive and prescribed for very special needs patients
  • ASV is used to treat complex sleep breathing disorders that occur in addition to other chronic medical problems
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