Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy is the most common way to treat Sleep Apnea. It consists of a device which gently delivers air down the airway. This air is administered using a mask. The positive air which is delivered down the airway acts as a 'splint' which prevents the airway from collapsing, therapy maintaining an open airway throughout the night. PAP devices are divided into:
• Constant CPAP: A CPAP machine is designed to deliver a constant pressure throughout the night. The positive pressure delivered through the mask does not interfere with normal breathing, but acts as a 'splint' which prevents the airway from collapsing during sleep. Each patient requires a different amount of airflow, which is determined through the Titration test.
• Auto CPAP: An Auto-Adjusted CPAP or APAP machine will automatically adjust the pressure as needed, which tends to reduce the average pressure delivered throughout the night and therefore sometimes results in a higher level of patient compliance.
• BiPAP: A Bi-Level or BiPAP machine is designed to deliver two pressures - an inhalation (IPAP) pressure and an exhalation (EPZP) pressure. Some BiPAP models can also be set to include a breath timing feature that measures the amount of breaths per minute a person should be taking. If the time between breaths exceeds the set limit, the machine can force the person to breathe by temporarily increasing the air pressure. BiPAP is usually recommended for patients with high pressures or patients who suffer from Central Sleep Apnea (CSA).