When purchasing a CPAP device it can be quite overwhelming deciding which machine is right for you. In this post we will give you the consideration points to consider when choosing your next device.
The first big question to ask is, do I need an AutoSet (APAP) or Fixed pressure device (CPAP)?.
As a general rule, both machines will work to control your sleep apnoea (if set correctly).
What is the difference between an AutoSet (APAP) and Fixed (CPAP) device?
An AutoSet device will vary its pressure based on each breath. It is controlled by an internal algorithm inside the machine which analyses each breath then changes the pressure accordingly. The big advantage of an AutoSet is that it will reduce its pressure during the night when it determines it doesn’t need to be blowing as hard.
The machines pressures can vary anywhere between 4 and 20 CMH20. When I am analysing data and giving my patients advice on which machine to use I look for a few different factors when guiding them:
Control of the sleep apnoea
Comfort experienced by the patient
Pressure variances through the night
Too me, the two most important things to consider are whether the patient is comfortable with the device and equally whether the device is actually controlling the sleep apnoea.
AutoSet’s have the advantage in that they are more versatile in settings you can change.
Fixed pressure machines will function the same every night. A typical setting may be a start pressure of 4 building up to 10 CMH20. This machine will do the same thing every night, independent of any feedback your body may be giving.
Whenever we do a trial of CPAP therapy, we like to try both devices to see gauge what works best statistically and what is more comfortable. Of note, Automatic devices can be adjusted to use as a CPAP or APAP device.
Cost is another factor when determining which device to use. Fixed pressure devices are around $1600 give or take, AutoSets are $2500 give or take.
Once you have determined whether you are going to use a fixed or auto titrating device, the next choice to make is which brand and which model?
This is where a lot of people get confused. I do not hide the fact that I am a big ResMed fan. ResMed have been a great company to deal with for me and have helped a lot in setting up my business. They also have a great history in the sleep apnoea field and their business is solely based around sleep apnoea.
When choosing an AutoSet device, it is important to get the best algorithm possible. This is what determines how much pressure you will be receiving throughout the night. Which algorithm works best?? That’s a topic for another blog post and a bit of a touchy subject. I personally rate algorithm in the ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet. This is mainly based on me using this device the most frequently on my patients and seeing the results first hand. A preference on algorithm will differ between Physicians and CPAP consultants everywhere.
Fixed Pressure devices are a lot simpler in a way. You turn it on and it will do the same thing every single night. I tend to be more flexible and relaxed about which brand people use on this front. Again, I do prefer the ResMed AirSense 10 Elite, I guess this is based around what I know and what I have been using with my patients the past 7 years.
In terms of additional, cosmetic features of the device personally I think this to be less important than the comfort and effectiveness of therapy.
You do need to consider:
Size – if you are travelling around a lot, you may want a smaller, lightweight option like the ResMed AirMini.
Powering the machine
Do you need to power the machine using 12 volt or battery power?
Noise – the quieter the better. You may not hear your machine, but your partner may.
Internal features of the machines
Most machines now come with
Expiratory pressure relief
Ease of use
Is the machine easy to turn on and off?
Can I read the screen?
Are my options easily accessible
Ease of maintenance
Cleaning and maintaining your machine is important for longevity of your device and also hygiene
What if something goes wrong??
Warranty and policies of return with your device
As discussed earlier, my favourite machines are the ResMed AirSense 10 series (AutoSet, AutoSet For Her and the Elite). In my seven years of providing CPAP equipment I have found the ResMed products to be high performing, easy to use, long lasting and comfortable for my patients.
I will sometimes steer patients towards the ResMed AirMini if space and size is an issue. The algorithm inside the ResMed AirMini is the same as the AirSense 10 devices. AirMini is a little bit noisier than the AirSense 10 devices.
If somebody is travelling around a lot or has limited space in their caravan or truck, then we need to assess whether the tiny bit of extra noise is a fair trade off for the convenience. AirMini batteries and converters will be released soon.