Bilevel positive airway pressure (BIPAP) machines are devices used to treat sleep apnea and other respiratory conditions. They are typically used by individuals who cannot effectively use CPAP machines or have central sleep apnea (CSA), complex sleep apnea syndrome (compSAS) or heart failure with Cheyne-Stokes respiration.
Bilevel Machines Explained
Bilevel or BiPAP machines are different from other CPAP machines as they have two different pressure settings when in use; a higher air pressure when you breathe in and a lower pressure when breathing out. As a noninvasive positive pressure ventilation, a BiPAP machine can be used to treat many different conditions, and can even be used as an emergency breathing apparatus in post-operative situations.
This type of machine aims to mimic natural airflow when breathing and allows for breathing difficulties associated with sleep apnea or other respiratory conditions to be alleviated.
What Does Bilevel or BiPAP mean?
Both Bilevel and BiPAP are names for the same kind of machine that utilises two different air pressures. BiPAP stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure, and Bilevel is simply a shortened version of the BiPAP abbreviation.
While BiPAP machines are similar to CPAP and APAP machines, because they have the ability to produce different air pressurisation, they are not considered to be completely the same.
What Does a BiPAP Machine Do?
A BiPAP machine assists regular breathing patterns vy providing air pressure while you sleep. The main benefit of a BiPAP device is that it utilises two different air pressure settings when inhaling and exhaling, allowing for easy breathing and proper simulation of natural breathing.
When you inhale, you are assisted with a high pressure or flow of air called Inspiratory Positive Airway Pressure (IPAP). When you exhale, you're assisted with a lower pressure called Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP) allowing for easy breathing.
The main complaint for many CPAP therapy users is that continuous positive airway pressure can be uncomfortable to breathe with. Bilevel machines fix this problem with their changing air pressure settings.
Who Should Use a Bilevel Machine?
You may benefit from a BiPAP Machine if you suffer from any of the following*:
- COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Asthma flare-up
- Obesity hypoventilation syndrome
- Sleep-related hypoventilation
- A neurological disease that disturbs breathing
BiPAP machines can also be used post-operation to aid in breathing difficulties or can be prescribed when a patient is diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
*A BiPAP machine may not be right for you, we strongly advise you talk to your doctor or sleep specialist to see if this device is suitable for you. Due to the nature of the device, a Prescription is required before you are able to use the machine.
It is important to undergo proper testing or a sleep study before pursuing CPAP therapy treatment options. Doctors, specialists or your healthcare provider will recommend a BiPAP machine only if it is necessary.
What Is the Difference Between BiPAP Machines and Other CPAP Machines?
The main difference between BiPAP Machines and other CPAP Machines is the ability for BiPAP machines to change air low pressure when inhaling and exhaling. This action allows the machine to properly mimic natural breathing patterns and avoid the discomfort often associated with continuous pressurised air.
Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure Machines can be used to treat a variety of pulmonary and respiratory conditions, including sleep apnea, obstructive allergy symptoms and post-operative breathing simulation.
- Changing air pressure when inhaling and exhaling
- Mimics natural breathing
- No continuous positive airway pressure
- Can be set to timed breathing patterns
- Sometimes does not have the option of a fixed air pressure
- You may require another sleep assessment if you go through lifestyle changes
- Can cause mouth or nasal dryness
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are considered the ‘gold standard’ treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea. Determining whether you need a CPAP machine is done by undergoing an overnight sleep study.
- Prescribed air pressure with continuous airflow
- Not disrupted by a change in air pressure
- Any significant changes to your lifestyle may mean that another sleep assessment will be needed to adapt your CPAP therapy treatment
- Cannot adapt to different sleeping positions
- Becoming comfortable with a fixed pressure machine may take time
How to Use Your BiPAP Machine
Getting started with your BiPAP machine is more simple than you think. The first step is connecting all the components together. This includes attaching the humidifier and the hose to the machine, and the mask to the hose.
There are many different styles of CPAP masks, such as the nasal mask or full face mask. Working out the best fit for you is integral to having a comfortable sleep.
It is a good idea to make sure your CPAP mask has been properly assembled before attaching it to the hose of your machine. Once you have assembled all of the components together then you are ready to start using your BiPAP machine.
About CPAP Direct
At CPAP Direct, we understand that adjusting to CPAP Therapy can be quite a difficult and daunting process. Our crew are committed to making the adjustments as easy as possible by offering extensive knowledge about the products along with tips and support where needed. Both our stores around the country and online offer all the support and services that you may need when beginning your CPAP therapy journey.
We have a dedicated Support Team who can help you with any queries regarding therapy or your equipment. There is no charge for our support services nor is there an expiration date for this support. Our support team can help you determine whether a Bilevel machine is the right fit for you, depending on the type of treatment you require and the possible full benefits.
We have BiPAP Machines and CPAP masks available for both purchase and hire. Hire equipment is available on a monthly basis, with no deposits, lock-in contracts or obligation to buy once the hire is finished. Better yet, if you find the hire successful and wish to purchase one of your own, we will deduct the first month's rental from the overall price.
CPAP Direct is an accredited Australian APAP Provider; all our sales receipts and invoices are recognised by Private Health insurance and allow you to claim a rebate if covered by your policy.