Made in the USA
The pros / A-Flex pressure relief feature makes the device very natural to breathe on for new CPAP users. Easy separation from the humidifier for travelling light. The most flexible heated tube we’ve ever seen. Dry box technology means that there is almost no chance of accidently damaging the device if transported with water still in the humidifier chamber. Multiple accessories available including 12volt adapters, bolt on modems and Bluetooth modules for use with the Sleep Mapper application.
The cons / A-Flex pressure relief option makes the breathing sound through the device more prominent. (This can be adjusted though). Probably the least attractive looking machine in our opinion and due for a makeover.
The bottom line / This device is well suited for the newbies to CPAP because of the A-Flex comfort feature or for the technical people that like to look at their therapy in detail through the Sleep Mapper application. This device was the arch rival for ResMed’s S9 unit back in the day and functionally, it works really well as a CPAP or APAP device. Philips Respironics have had this shape for a number of years and in our opinion, it’s looking a little long in the tooth.
This is the first CPAP machine I ever tried and for those of you who are CPAP veterans, you’ll know what I mean when I say that I really felt the benefits after my first night on CPAP. (No need for the afternoon siesta). I was surprised at how easily I adapted to being able to sleep with a continuous stream of air through my airways, a mask on face and a hose in my bed. Everyone adapts to therapy differently but I feel for me, this was a great device to start on. When I got into bed, I put the mask on and the airflow automatically started. Within about 3 breaths, the A-Flex feature had adapted to my breathing and was in sync with both my inhale and exhale. This feature was particularly noticeable when I turned it off and experienced what CPAP used to be like before pressure relief was created.
What’s in the box?
The device comes as a standalone unit or with a detachable humidifier & heated tube. The bag is a rectangular soft bag with a shoulder strap and inside is the device, tube, 2 filters, SD card, power pack & manuals.
Both the REMstar Auto and the REMstar Pro (fixed pressure model) are available in a few different configurations depending on if you want a humidifier or not. The packages you see on our website are with the humidifier & heated tube because it’s our view that humidification is extremely important to maintain the integrity of your airway long term. Having said this, the appeal of this device is that you can detach the humidifier (halving the size) and throw it in the suit case for travelling. If you would like to order the device without the humidifier or heated tube, please contact us so we can arrange that for you.
You’ll notice that the look of this unit is quite boxy compared to its competitors. The design is quite sturdy though and Philips have gone for a practical approach to the unit by making it robust. For example, if someone pulls the humidifier lid open too far, the lid snaps off without breaking. They even posted the machine across the country with a full water chamber to test if the water would get back into the connected CPAP machine and the unit passed with flying colours.
The heated tube seems like an odd thing to bring up in a review but this is a fundamental part of your system that you have to lie in bed with. I am particularly impressed with the heated tube Philips have developed because it is the most flexible and comfortable to sleep with. Unlike the ResMed tube though, you will no doubt feel the warmth from the tube during the night as it works with the humidifier to reduce excess condensation.
The last part that deserves a mention is the forethought to anchor the tube to a swivel base so you’re not fighting with it to get the right amount of length in your bed. Not all devices have this feature but Philips was one of the first to implement it.
A-Flex – The first feature that Philips no doubt would hang their hat on is their pressure relief program called A-Flex. Unlike C-Flex or other pressure relief programs by their competitors, Philips developed a mode that synchronizes with your breathing to breathe in with you as well as out. If you’re new to the concept, think about all this air blowing into your airways when you’re trying to exhale against it. The higher the pressure, the harder it is to exhale. Pressure relief has traditionally been the ability to back the pressure off on your exhale by up to a maximum of 3 cm of pressure. For example, if your therapy pressure is 10cm, when you exhale the pressure can go down to 7cm making it easy to breathe out. The new A-Flex mode that was released for this model, means that it breathes in with you and will get to your 10cm at the peak of your inspiration breath. Then it curves down as you exhale to give you relief. This is arguably the most natural feeling device to breathe on when it comes to using a CPAP machine. For this reason, people new to CPAP like the feel of this device. The downside to it is that when A-Flex is on 3, the variation in pressure can be heard through the device in the form of a breathing sound. The lower the A-Flex support, the quieter the device seems to be.
Algorithm – The algorithm in the Philips auto device does the same thing as other automatic machines in that it gives you more pressure when your airways are narrowing and less pressure when they are open. The difference is how the device does that. Philips have an algorithm that continually tests and measures your breathing and based on certain variables, if it needs to increase the pressure, it’ll do so and then test and measure again. Sounds simple but I’m sure it’s quite complicated.
Modems & Bluetooth modules – The new wave of CPAP machines are all connecting to the internet in some way to provide remote access and management to companies like us that are committed to getting the right results for their patients. Philips hit the market first with a bolt on modem and 2G data sim card to connect to the cloud wirelessly. This optional extra is one that is available for remote management but not that common yet on this device. Another option is to buy a Bluetooth module for $99 that allows your machine to connect to your computer or smart phone and then you can use the sleep mapper application to score and manage your own therapy. The application can be downloaded on Android or IOS or in your browser on your PC.
All REMstar devices come with a standard SD card for capturing detailed sleep data. Like all devices, this can be read by us in store or you can use the Sleep Mapper application for semi detailed data. For fine tuning, detailed reports for physicians and analysis, the best option is to come in store with your SD card or upgrade to a bolt on modem.
Philips Respironics standard warranty is 2 years and this is actually new for old replacement! If your device has an issue in its initial warranty period, Philips will replace your device. An extra 3 year warranty is available for $99 to cover you for a total of 5 years. If you have an issue in the extended period however, the device needs to go back to Philips for repair.
Once again, if you bought the device from us and this happens, we will give you a loan unit free of charge while your device is sent away for repair.
If you would like to order your REMstar device, click here to take advantage of our click and collect service. If you still have questions, please contact us now to get them answered.