Apnea is a term for suspension of external breathing. During apnea there is no movement of the muscles of respiration and the volume of the lungs initially remains unchanged. Depending on the patency (openness) of the airways there may or may not be a flow of gas between the lungs and the environment; gas exchange within the lungs and cellular respiration is not affected. Apnea can be voluntarily achieved (e.g., “holding one’s breath”), drug-induced (e.g., opiate toxicity), mechanically induced (e.g., strangulation or choking), or it can occur as a consequence of neurological disease or trauma.
Continuous pressure devices
Fixed-pressure CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine was initially used mainly by patients for the treatment of sleep apnea at home, but now is in widespread use across intensive care units as a form of ventilation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway becomes narrow as the muscles relax naturally during sleep. This reduces oxygen in the blood and causes arousal from sleep. The CPAP machine stops this phenomenon by delivering a stream of compressed air via a hose to a nasal pillow, nose mask or full-face mask, splinting the airway (keeping it open under air pressure) so that unobstructed breathing becomes possible, reducing and/or preventing apneas and hypopneas. It is important to understand, however, that it is the air pressure, and not the movement of the air, that prevents the apneas. When the machine is turned on, but prior to the mask being placed on the head, a flow of air comes through the mask. After the mask is placed on the head, it is sealed to the face and the air stops flowing. At this point, it is only the air pressure that accomplishes the desired result. This has the additional benefit of reducing or eliminating the extremely loud snoring that sometimes accompanies sleep apnea.
The CPAP machine blows air at a prescribed pressure (also called the titrated pressure). The necessary pressure is usually determined by a sleep physician after review of a study supervised by a sleep technician during an overnight study (polysomnography) in a sleep laboratory. The titrated pressure is the pressure of air at which most (if not all) apneas and hypopneas have been prevented, and it is usually measured in centimetres of water (cm H2O). The pressure required by most patients with sleep apnea ranges between 6 and 14 cm H2O. A typical CPAP machine can deliver pressures between 4 and 20 cm H2O. More specialized units can deliver pressures up to 25 or 30 cm H2O.
CPAP treatment can be highly effective in treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. For some patients, the improvement in the quality of sleep and quality of life due to CPAP treatment will be noticed after a single night’s use. Often, the patient’s sleep partner also benefits from markedly improved sleep quality, due to the amelioration of the patient’s loud snoring.
Given that sleep apnea is a chronic health issue and doesn’t go away, ongoing care is needed to maintain CPAP therapy. Based on the study of cognitive behavioral therapy (referenced above), ongoing chronic care management is the best way to help patients continue therapy by educating them on the health risks of sleep apnea and providing motivation and support.
RESmart CPAP is designed to enhance patient’s comfort and improve user compliance, and provides the ideal entry-level CPAP option for the new patient with OSA. The LCD display makes the unit convenient and easy to use for both physicians and patients, and the enhanced blower provides stable delivery of a wide range of pressures closely matched with individual’s needs. For easy hand carry, it comes with an integrated hidden handle, small size design, and an optional carrying bag. In addition, RESmart is one of the quietest CPAP devices in the market with sound level of only around 30dBA during operation. Also the total operating hours can be indicated for patient management and reimbursement. Combining many key features associated with premium CPAP devices, RESmart is sleek, quiet, and compact, making it a welcome auxiliary to the bedroom or for the traveling patient.