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Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BIPAP)

Shashank Nakate Apr 28, 2019
The use of bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) therapy is made for those who do not benefit from the CPAP usage. The BiPAP machine (unlike CPAP) helps in easing out the process of exhalation while on a treatment associated with respiratory problem.
The bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) is a respiratory ventilation method and used mainly for treating sleep apnea. The mechanism used for BiPAP is a bit different from that of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure).
Level of pressure during inhalation and exhalation is different in BiPAP. During the process of exhalation, a high pressure is maintained, while a low pressure is used for exhalation. Breathing of the patient is monitored by an electronic circuit.

Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure Therapy

The problem of sleep apnea is treated with the help of BiPAP machines. In sleep apnea, the upper part of airway collapses. This leads to repeated problems in the breathing process. The breathing problem affects sleep quality of patients. Complications that arise from sleep apnea include depression and low concentration.
It is observed that patients with sleep apnea wake up suddenly at night because of the inability to breathe properly. A loud snoring sound can be heard when these patients wake up. Treatment of this health problem becomes easier with the use of BiPAP.

Limitations of CPAP and Significance of BiPAP

The CPAP is considered useful for treating many respiratory disorders including sleep apnea. However, there is one limitation/disadvantage of CPAP that can be overcome by the use of BiPAP. The CPAP machine maintains same level of pressure at the time of both inhalation and exhalation. One might find it difficult to exhale air at the same level of pressure.
Those patients with neuromuscular diseases especially find it difficult in exhaling air against pressure. BiPAP allows delivery of air to the patients at different pressures; it means that pressure at inhalation and exhalation can be adjusted and set at different levels.

BiPAP Machine

The BiPAP machine assists the process of exhalation by apply force. This machine applies pressure on lungs so as to keep the air sacs of lungs open. Since the machine applies pressure to open the air sacs of lungs, one would wonder whether this application of force hurts the respiratory organs.
The machine is quiet and one shouldn't worry about getting hurt. Rushing of the air can, however, be felt and heard with the use of this machine. These machines are considered to be useful for those who cannot tolerate the CPAP machines during treatment. Detailed information on how does a BiPAP machine work should be helpful for the readers.

Study of Sleep Patterns

Studying the sleep patterns of patients prior to treatment with BiPAP is necessary. Measurement of different functions of the body such as heart rate, breathing pattern, etc. should help obtain details about a person's sleep quality. This information or details give us a better idea on how to use the BiPAP machine.
Settings of the BiPAP are adjusted on the basis of breathing pattern of patients. A patient breathing out of time should therefore, face problem in using the machine. This is because the pressure for inhalation and exhalation is specified (or set) as per the data related to the breathing pattern. Such a problem therefore, limits the usage of BiPAP machines.

Atelectasis Treatment with BiPAP Machine

In the respiratory tract disorder called Atelectasis, a part of lung collapses. In this medical condition, the ability of air sacs of lungs to expand is lost. Use of BiPAP machine in the treatment of atelectasis requires certain tests to be performed; these tests determine whether it is necessary to use the machine.
'Respiratory Test' is one such test being used. In this test, the patient suffering from atelectasis is asked to breathe into the machine. Lung capacity of the patient can be determined with this test. In the 'Forced Vitality Test' the extent to which a patient can breathe deeply is determined.

Problems Associated with BiPAP Usage

The BiPAP though is beneficial from the point of patients suffering with respiratory problem, its usage can be problematic at times. Let us have a look at the different problems associated with usage of this machine.
  • Nosebleeds can occur as a result of dryness. The problem of nasal dryness should however, not last longer than 2 days.
  • The problem of skin irritation can cause problem till the time patient gets used to the mask. Pressure exerted by the BiPAP mask on the face is the cause of skin irritation.
  • Snoring is a problem associated with usage of BiPAP. Incorrect pressure settings of the machine is the main cause of snoring that results from BiPAP machine usage; adjustment of pressure settings at proper values should solve the problem.
It is advisable to consult doctor before using the BiPAP machines. One can buy a BiPAP machine or think about renting one. A medical insurance should cover the BiPAP. Consulting the doctor solves most of the problems associated with usage of bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine. Use of the BiPAP should benefit the patients to a great extent.