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Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP)

is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep your airways open while you sleep. People who have breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, may benefit from BiPAP treatment.

How BiPAP treatment is given:

BiPAP treatment is given through a machine that has a mask, tube, and motor. The motor sends air through the tube and into your mask. This mild air pressure prevents your airway from collapsing or becoming blocked. The BiPAP machine delivers a higher amount of pressure when you breathe in than when you breathe out.

Benefits of BiPAP:

  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Relieves daytime sleepiness
  • Reduces snoring
  • Reduces the risk of health problems caused by sleep apnea

Problems that may occur with BiPAP:

  • Your BiPAP mask may feel uncomfortable or irritate your skin. You may need a mask that is a different size, shape, or material. A mask with fewer straps may irritate your skin less. You may also need to use a special moisturizer made for BiPAP machine users.
  • You may have dry mouth or eye or nasal irritation. These problems can be caused by the BiPAP machine, a leaking mask, or breathing through your mouth. Some machines come with a heated humidifier to help relieve these symptoms. A chin strap to help keep your mouth closed or a different type of mask can help dry mouth. Use a saline nasal spray at bedtime to help relieve nasal irritation.
  • You may have difficulty adjusting to the air pressure. You may have stomach bloating because the air pressure is causing you to swallow air. You may need to have the air pressure settings on your machine adjusted.

Contact your healthcare provider for the following symptoms:

  • Continued sleepiness during the day, even after wearing your BiPAP device as directed
  • Continued problems caused by BiPAP that do not improve
  • Questions or concerns about your condition, care, or equipment

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Bipap (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes