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Aerophagia (Swallowing Air)

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HappyandSad +0 points · 21 days ago Original Poster

I have complex sleep apnea and was prescribed a Philips Respironics Bi-PAP ST machine. My AHI numbers with this machine were very random, anywhere from 8 to 30 with no known reason why. I then had a titration sleep study done at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to see if they could answer why my numbers were so random. The doctor there recommended a ResMed ASV, as I did well with that in the titration sleep study. When I submitted the doctor's prescription for that machine, I was told that I could not change machines because I hadn't had the Bi-PAP ST long enough per Medicare rules. Instead, I was given a different Philips Respironics machine, a BiPAP auto SV, which supposedly does the same thing as the ResMed ASV. I've had the BiPAP auto SV just over a week, and my AHI numbers are great--below 5 every night. However, it turns out I suffer from aerophagia (swallowing air), and I generally wake up after 2 to 3 hours with a very painful stomach and abdomen. It takes a few hours to go back to sleep because I'm in so much pain and need to wait until the gas escapes by the usual routes. Does anyone have experience with this issue? From what I've read, the auto machine is best for complex/central sleep apnea, and yet this option causes me pain from swallowing air, which is something I do not realize I am doing.

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Sierra +0 points · 21 days ago Sleep Innovater

It seems to be something that most get used to after some time using the machine. Do you know what the pressure settings of the machine are? The higher the pressure the more likely that aerophagia will be be a problem. You could ask your doctor about any opportunities to reduce the pressure settings. Another possibility is the mask. Is it a full face mask? Have you tried a nasal or nasal cushion mask? Here is a link that might be helpful:

Aerophagia Causes and Resolution

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