CPAP and Sleep-Related Durable Medical Equipment

When treating breathing-related sleep problems, patients may need to rely on pieces of hardware known as durable medical equipment (DME). The correct diagnosis and a good doctor, however, makes adjusting to and using DMEs much easier for patients.
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Ohio Chest Physicians

When treating sleep-related breathing problems, it's common to call in some backup to help us get the rest that we deserve and need. After all, we can't control what our bodies do when we're asleep. Sleep aids in the form of Durable Medical Equipment (DME), however, can address our breathing problems as we rest. Some DMEs are specifically used to treat breathing-related sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, and they can make a world of difference to a patient struggling with these serious medical conditions.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a breathing-related sleep disorder, it’s important to contact a pulmonary and sleep disorder specialist for care and treatment. That’s where we come in. Formed in January of 1997, Ohio Chest Physicians, LTD., is a thriving independent pulmonary practice. Our doctors are all trained and board certified in both internal medicine and pulmonary medicine. Most importantly, we will do all we can to provide you with the best care possible!

Please feel free to contact us or request an appointment online. We are always happy to help!

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FAQs on Durable Medical Equipment (DME)

What is Durable Medical Equipment (DME)?

DME is a broad term that can refer to any piece of hardware used to treat a healthcare issue. Everything from walkers to neck braces to eyewear can qualify as a DME. At our practice, we regularly utilize DMEs that address breathing-related sleep disorders.

What are Examples of Breathing-Related Sleep Disorder DMEs?

When treating breathing-related sleep disorders, there are three key types of DME. They are all non-invasive, although patients should discuss the pros and cons of each with their doctor before beginning to use one:

  • CPAP: CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure”. CPAP machines can address sleep apnea by helping to keep a patient's airways open via air pressure. To administer this air pressure, CPAP machines require tubing that connects a machine (with a filter and small tank of water, i.e. a humidifier) to a mask placed over a patient's face.
  • BiPap: BiPap (or BPap) stands for "bilevel positive airway pressure". These machines are ventilators, used to help patients breathe. For individuals struggling to breathe normally and take in a healthy level of oxygen, a BiPap machine can help push air into the lungs.
  • ASV: ASV, or “Adaptive Servo Ventilation”, is a newer unit available to patients that monitors a user's breathing and adjusts its performance accordingly. Since ASVs use monitoring technology to adjust the amounts of air pressure delivered to a user, ASVs are often considered the more comfortable ventilatory treatment option today. ASVs are recommended for patients with complex sleep apneas.

What is the Difference Between CPAP and BiPAP Therapy? 

While an ASV is a more “high tech” piece of equipment, at first glance CPAP and BiPap machines appear similar. Both are non-invasive; both can help prevent a patient’s throat muscles from collapsing (protecting them from sleep apnea); and both allow users to breathe easily and regularly as they rest.

The differences in these DMEs lies in their settings. CPAP machines combat sleep apnea by delivering a steady stream of pressurized air to a patient’s airways. However, CPAP machines can only be set to a single targeted pressure level. For patients with severe sleep apnea - i.e. requiring higher levels of air pressure - this can make a CPAP more uncomfortable to use.

BiPap’s, however, allow users to use a breath-timing feature that measures the number of breaths per minute a person should be taking. This means BiPap machines have two pressure settings: one to address inhalation, and one for exhalation. This duality can help some patients breathe more freely and more comfortably. BiPap machines are also recommended for patients with conditions such as congestive heart failure or lung disorders, since they can effectively help address lower oxygen levels.

What Should I Expect from Ohio Chest Physicians?

At Ohio Chest Physicians, LTD., our doctors are board-certified specialists in pulmonary, critical care, sleep, and internal medicine. In addition to offering care via our multiple offices, we work directly with the West Region Sleep Center to conduct patient sleep testing. Evaluations at our accredited Center allow us to evaluate your condition in-depth, and provide the data needed to select the best sleep aid and DME for your specific breathing-related sleep disorder.

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