Types of PAP Machines

 CPAP vs. APAP vs. BiPAP

The 3 types of PAP machines are CPAP, APAP, and BiPAP, and they work by gently blowing pressurized air through the airway to give the minimum amount of pressure to keep the throat open.

    1. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and is the most commonly used treatment option for people experiencing obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP machines deliver constant and pressurized air into the airways.
    2. APAP stands for Automatic Positive Airway Pressure. APAP machines are a non-invasive treatment for sleep apnea that deliver pressurized and unobstructed air through a mask during sleep. The APAP has two range settings, low and high. The setting automatically adjusts based on the user’s needs using an algorithm.
    3. BiPAP machines are a non-invasive treatment for sleep apnea that have two pressure settings: one for inhalation and one for exhalation. This method is used in situations where marked difficulty breathing is present.

Additional Features

For the basic function of applying pressure to the airway, there is generally little difference among PAP devices. However, they do vary in shape, size, weight, and additional features.

The two most distinguishing features in PAP devices are ramping and pressure relief.

Ramping: This feature allows the PAP device on startup to gradually increase the pressure over a short period of time until the prescribed pressure is reached. Some users find that this allows them to fall asleep more easily and improves their ability to wear the PAP machine.

Pressure Relief: With pressure relief, at the beginning of exhalation, a small decrease in pressure occurs. The amount of pressure reduction is adjustable. It provides a way to improve user comfort and compliance, without compromising therapy effectiveness.

You can read The Ultimate Guide to Buying a CPAP Machine for all the pro tips.


Travel Machines

A travel machine is a portable PAP machine that is smaller, lighter, and conducive to mobility. There are many travel CPAP, APAP, and BiPAP machines available; but which one is right for you? Check out our Machine Finder Quiz to find your perfect match.

About the Author


Dr Carnevale is a board Certified Physician with 19 years’ experience in patient care, combined with advancing administrative and executive work as a Medical Director, Chief Medical Officer, and Vice-President. Expertise in actualizing initiatives and best practices with proven leadership to drive change and the advancement of Value Based Practices, quality improvement and innovation.

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