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My New CPAP Machine (including mask)

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jaypeecee +0 points · about 2 years ago Original Poster

Hi Folks,

About a month ago, I was diagnosed as having severe OSA. Then, courtesy of the UK NHS, I was supplied with a Philips DreamStation and Philips Amara full-face mask. I have worn the mask only once and got into a panic struggling to get it off my face. I have had severe anxiety for many years so wearing the mask poses quite a challenge.

I wasn't expecting to be prescribed a CPAP machine right from the outset of my treatment. Quite a shock! So, I'm experimenting with my sleeping position. For the last week, I have been sleeping in a near-upright position in bed and my very crude Polar A300 activity tracker indicates that I have been more at rest than previously. I am seriously thinking of getting a sleep SpO2 monitor to get some quantitative data on this parameter. The model that I'm considering also uses vibration feeback when SpO2 falls below a set value. SpO2 data is recorded for later analysis. This may help me in the quest to find my optimum sleeping position.

That's where I'm at.

JPC

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NiceSilverBison1316 +0 points · about 2 years ago

Welcome JPC! You might try sleeping on your side as much as possible. My sleep doctor said almost all of my apneas came while sleeping on my back. Apparently, while on my back, it was easier for my jaw to relax and fall open and restrict my breathing. He suggested tying a tennis ball to my back to keep me from sleeping on it. This was a little extreme for me, but I have made a conscious effort to sleep on my side, rather than my back, and it has cut down on my apnea events.

PS: Sounds like you got some good equipment from the NHS. Try it while watching TV in your recliner to get used to breathing with it, before sleeping with it overnight. Once you realize you are not going to suffocate with it on, it should get more comfortable. Good luck.

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Sierra +0 points · about 2 years ago Sleep Patron

Welcome JPC to the club that nobody really wants to belong to!!

I think NiceSilverBison has given you some good tips on how to get used to your mask. A full face mask can be difficult, but I think you were given one of the better ones. Main thing is to stick with it. I'm sure I got close to zero sleep the first night I used a CPAP. It takes some time. If you can't tolerate a full face mask there may be other options like a nasal pillow mask which tend to be less confining and more tolerable to wear. However they also are a bit of a problem if you tend to open your mouth in the night. In short masks take time to optimize.

I think it would be helpful if you were to share a bit more information about your situation, such as your AHI at diagnosis, and what pressures your machine is set at.

I'm not so sure you would gain all that much in using an O2 meter. The O2 will go down in response to apnea and hypopnea events. Your machine is quite capable of monitoring them already. And in the long term you really don't want one more thing waking you up.

My suggestion would be to download SleepyHead. It is a free software that is used to display your detailed data on a computer. From that you can see a lot of detail about what was going on during the night. I will include a screen shot below of my sleep last night which illustrates that. At 5:10 AM there is a cluster of obstructive apnea events (blue indicators). That could indicate a positional problem. And, it also happened when the pressure was at my maximum setting of 13 cm. It may mean I need to increase that maximum limit. In any case if you are interested here is a beginner's guide to SleepyHead to look at. I find SleepyHead key to understanding my apnea treatment, and in making the necessary adjustments.

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wiredgeorge +0 points · about 2 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

Not sure how your Dreamstation provides feedback for AHI and leak rate, etc. but it is pretty important you monitor those to direct the course of you own therapy. The SPO2 monitor is a great idea. My oxygen dropped very low prior to therapy and was of great concern to me. While therapy improves this problem for sure, it is good to know your blood oxygen levels are within normal range. I use a monitor called a PULSE OXYMETER - you can see them on amazon.com and mine looks like a wrist watch and has a rubber sensor that fits over a finger and records the entire night's pulse rate and SPO2. Since starting therapy, I found that my SPO2 values don't tank anymore which really helps my peace of mind. Good luck!

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Sierra +0 points · about 2 years ago Sleep Patron

I see that SleepyHead appears to have the ability to import data from certain models of oximeters. I have no experience with it though. See screenshot below.

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SensibleIndigoCapybara9205 +0 points · about 2 years ago

Oh my goodness. Unless your OSA is mild, a CPAP is a common first treatment. It is not uncommon for people to feel 'trapped' in a mask. There are lots of alternatives. You could try one of the setups with no mask, that is easy to get on and off. I don't know if the NHS gives you different options. If not, you can buy your own headpeices that will work with the machine you have. Something as minimal as this might work for you. There is also an oral appliance that many dentists can make.

There are lots of options, and I hope you find one that works for you

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SensibleIndigoCapybara9205 +0 points · about 2 years ago

I hope this isn's a double post. I can't see my first answer so am trying again

There are lots of different choices for CPAP headgear. I'm sorry your clinic didn't give you more options.

A CPAP is usually the first treatment for OSA, but it doesn't t have to be a mask. There are products that do not cover your face and are very easy to take off, such as the Swift FX Bella. You can buy headgear directly from a vendor and do not have to go through your clinic, although you will have to pay for it. There are also oral appliances that most dentists can make.

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jaypeecee +0 points · about 2 years ago Original Poster

Hi Folks,

Thank you everyone! Lots of useful feedback.

In response to questions/comments raised:

[1] AHI=67, ODI=78 at my initial sleep study

[2] I try to sleep on my side but it's early days to say if the upright posture is helping this.

[3] I haven't yet plucked up courage to use the machine because of my fear of the supplied mask! I will investigate the likes of the Swift FX Bella.

[4] I do not know what pressures the DreamStation is set at. How do I find out?

[5] Is there an easy way to find out if SleepyHead can import data from the DreamStation?

[6] So the jury is out regarding SpO2 measurement. From what I can work out, the DreamStation does not actually measure SpO2 but requires a separate finger probe to be connected.

JPC

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Sierra +0 points · about 2 years ago Sleep Patron

I would encourage you to try getting used to the machine while sitting up and watching TV. The Amara full face mask is one of the least intrusive full face masks there are. I would encourage you to give it a try. Wear it for a minute or so with the machine off to convince yourself that it will not suffocate you, then turn the machine on. It should feel even more comfortable with it on.

From what I can see the display on the DreamStation shows current pressure but not minimum and maximum. If you use SleepyHead it will tell you what min and max is set at. The other way is to go into the Provider Mode screens and see what Auto Min and Auto Max are set at. Just be careful not to change anything. See pages 4-18 to 4-20 in this DreamStation Technical Manual for some help in how to do that.

As long as your DreamStation has a SD card it will be compatible with SleepyHead. You do need to pull the card out of the machine and put it in a SD card reader to transfer the data to your computer. Page 1-3 shows you where the SD card should be.

No, to my knowledge, DreamStation does not measure O2. If you buy an oximeter, I would pick one that is compatible with SleepyHead so you can display the O2 data along with your machine data.

Your AHI is very high and ODI low. I would again encourage you to start trying the machine. If you post your experience in using it, we may be able to make some suggestions on what might help make it work for you.

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sleeptech +0 points · about 2 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

The easiest way to see what pressure is just to start it going. The DreamStation will show the pressure it's running at on the display. You may want to cover the end of the hose to stop the machine being noisy. The DreamStation doesn't records sats. You'll need a separate piece of equipment. It is possible you can but one that connects to the DreamStation, but I wouldn't bother. It'd be harder to find, way more expensive and the data would be harder to get to.

Also bear in mind that there are many intranasal masks of which the Swift FX Bella is only one. Try looking about a bit before you spend you money. I have not had a patient actually use the Bella. I know that other techs I work with have tried it before without success, but I don't know what the problem was.

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Sierra +0 points · about 2 years ago Sleep Patron

The ResMed machines show the actual pressure plus the minimum and maximum pressures of an APAP at startup. The DreamStation only shows the current actual pressure. That pressure may be the minimum pressure or it may be the ramp start pressure, depending on how the machine is set up.

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bphillips79 +0 points · about 2 years ago

Hi, just chiming in to say for the first month or so I would feel like I was suffocating with the mask on. And I would also take it off in my sleep. Stick with it! It gets better - it really does! I think I have a Pavlovian response to it now - mask goes on and I'm out like a light!

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