Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Need Immediate Care?
For emergency services, call 911.

For non-emergency walk-in care, try an ExpressCARE location.
Need help scheduling or have a question?
Call 888-402-LVHN (5846).

CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” A CPAP is a machine used to pump air under pressure into the airway, keeping the windpipe open during sleep.

Need Immediate Care?
For emergency services, call 911.

For non-emergency walk-in care, try an ExpressCARE location.
Need help scheduling or have a question?
Call 888-402-LVHN (5846).

The forced air delivered by CPAP prevents episodes of airway collapse that block the breathing if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and other breathing problems.

Who should use CPAP

CPAP can successfully treat most people with obstructive sleep apnea. It is safe and works well for people of all ages, including children. If you only have mild sleep apnea and do not feel very sleepy during the day, you may not need it.

After using CPAP regularly, you may notice:

  • Better concentration and memory
  • Feeling more alert and less sleepy during the day
  • Improved sleep for your bed partner
  • Being more productive at work
  • Less anxiety and depression and a better mood
  • Normal sleep patterns
  • Lower blood pressure (in people with high blood pressure)

Who needs to use CPAP?

BiPAP is useful for children and adults who have:

  • Airways that collapse while sleeping, making it hard to breathe freely
  • Decreased air exchange in the lung
  • Muscle weakness that makes it difficult to breathe, due to conditions such as muscular dystrophy

CPAP or BiPAP may also be used by people who have:

  • Sudden respiratory failure
  • Central sleep apnea
  • COPD
  • Heart failure

How CPAP works

When using CPAP:

  • You wear a mask over your nose or nose and mouth while you sleep.
  • The mask is connected by a hose to a small machine that sits at the side of your bed.
  • The machine pumps air under pressure through the hose and mask and into your airway while you sleep. This helps keep your airway open.

You may start to use CPAP while you are in the sleep center for the night.

  • Your health care provider will help choose the mask that fits you best.
  • They will adjust the settings on the machine while you are asleep.
  • The settings will be adjusted based on the severity of your sleep apnea.