CPAP stands for "continuous positive airway pressure." CPAP is a treatment that delivers slightly pressurized air during the breathing cycle.
This keeps the windpipe open during sleep and prevents the episodes of blocked breathing in persons with
It is sometimes called nasal continuous positive airflow pressure (nCPAP).
Continuous positive airway pressure; CPAP; Bilevel positive airway pressure; BiPAP
WHO SHOULD USE CPAP
Continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP) is the best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It is safe and effective in patients of all ages, including children.
After using CPAP regularly, many patients report the following:
- Better concentration and memory
- Feeling more alert and less sleepy during the day
- Improved sleep for the person's bed partners
- Improvements in work productivity
- Less anxiety and depression and a better mood
- Normal sleep patterns
A similar machine, called BiPAP (for bilevel positive airway pressure) is used as an alternative to CPAP. With this machine, the pressure changes while a person breathes in and out.
Review Date: 09/15/2010
Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.