AsthmaBipapShortness of BreathSleep Apnea

Bipap trial

My Resp Med Air-Curve 10 Bipap machine.

It’s too soon to tell if it’s helping, but 4 weeks ago I started on a trial of home Bipap. Essentially Im sleeping hooked up to a non -invasive ventilator. I’ve been using a full face mask which Im gradually getting used to. Right now I’m averaging about 4- 5 hours per night on the machine. I have no problem falling asleep with the mask strapped to my face, but after about 3 hours I wake up short of breath anyway and have to remove it to take a neb treatment. Getting back to sleep after the neb treatment is much harder with the mask on, but Im working on increasing my total mask time to 6 hours a night.

Though I do have a degree of sleep apnea, the primary reason Im using BIPAP is because of my asthma.My symptoms intensify at night, making solid sleep near impossible. There’s some evidence out there to suggest if you stent the airways open while sleeping, it can lesson nocturnal bronchospasm. This can usually be accomplished using standard CPAP which provides positive pressure during expiration, but because my small airways are so narrow and tend to close up, I sometimes have a difficult time inhaling as well. The BIPAP helps with this by providing positive pressure during the inspiratory cycle as well as the expiratory cycle. Hence the “BI” in BIPAP, meaning bi-level positive airway pressure, instead of just continuous pressure during exhalation (CPAP).

This is in no way a product endorsement, but the machine I use is pretty cool. It has sensors that adjust the flow and set pressure to your breathing pattern and the motor is virtually silent. Except for an occasional air leak around the mask, I can’t hear a thing. Like most of these modern sleep assist units, it hooks up to the internet so that insurance companies who pay for this kind of therapy can monitor to see if the patient is actually using the machine. There’s a lot of waste in this area of healthcare, because many patients who have CPAP or BIPAP machines don’t actually use them.

I’ll give it a solid 3 months to see if my quality of sleep and/or night time asthma symptoms improve. If they do, I’ll consider BIPAP a permanent part of my ongoing therapy and another tool to help me live a little better.

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