Constant positive airway pressure, or CPAP, is a form of treatment for the disorder known as sleep apnea, which affects over 18 million people in the United States. CPAP treatment involves the use of an air compressor administering a constant air pressure into the patient’s airway to alleviate the effects of sleep apnea bipap. The constant pressure allows for easier breathing in the event that the patient’s airway becomes obstructed or if the patient’s brain fails to properly induce normal breathing. However, CPAP is administered through a pressurized mask that may make sleeping or exhalation uncomfortable, making sleep even less restful for some patients. There are, however, man viable alternatives to CPAP to treat sleep apnea.
One of the most non-invasive alternatives to CPAP is positional therapy. Positional therapy is altering the patient’s sleeping position. This can be achieved using several methods, such as specially made shirts that force the patient to sleep on their side and foam wedges that put the patient on an incline. The goal of positional therapy is to reduce the effects of gravity on the tissue in the throat, thereby reducing the chance of the airway collapsing or becoming obstructed. Positional therapy is most effective when used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, as central sleep apnea is caused by the brain’s inability to properly induce normal breathing. However, when used in conjunction with other treatments, positional therapy can aid in the treatment of central sleep apnea.
An alternative to CPAP is BiPAP. BiPAP stands for bilevel positive airway pressure, which is similar in that it creates positive airway pressure to aid the patient in breathing. However, BiPAP monitors when the patient exhales, and reduces the positive pressure to ease the patient’s breathing further. This is equally as effective in treating obstructive and central as CPAP, and allows the comfort of easier exhalation when the patient is discomforted by the constant pressure that the CPAP administers. BiPAP is equally ineffective in the treatment of complex sleep apnea, however, and usually creates further complications in a similar manner as CPAP.
Another alternative to THIS TREATMENT that is similar to BiPAP is ASV, or adaptive servo-ventilation. ASV is an experimental alternative to THIS TREATMENT and is currently being used primarily to treat complex sleep apnea. ASV calculates the patient’s average breathing and then adjusts the pressure to match, normalizing erratic breathing by forcing the patient to ventilate steadily. ASV has been approved by the FDA, but is still considered to be an experimental method, as few if no results of treatment have been published in the scientific world.