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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 3, 2023.


Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP)

is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep your airways open while you sleep. BiPAP is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in people who cannot tolerate CPAP treatment. It is also used in people with obesity hypoventilation syndrome, central apnea, or restrictive or obstructive lung problems.

Difference between BiPAP and CPAP:

The BiPAP machine delivers a higher amount of air pressure when you breathe in than when you breathe out. CPAP delivers a constant level of air pressure during treatment. In both, the mask connects to the machine with a hose. Air pressure is delivered to the mask through the hose.

Benefits of BiPAP:

  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Relieves daytime sleepiness
  • Improves memory
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Improves your mood and quality of life

Make BiPAP easier to use:

  • At first, try to use your BiPAP for a few hours every night. Then slowly increase the length of time you use your machine. It takes time to adjust to BiPAP treatment.
  • You may need a mask that is a different size, shape, or material. Talk to your healthcare provider if your mask feels uncomfortable or irritates your skin. You may need to use a special moisturizer made for users.
  • Use a saline nasal spray at bedtime to help relieve nasal irritation. A chin strap to help keep your mouth closed or a different type of mask can help dry mouth. Some machines come with a heated humidifier to help relieve these symptoms.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you are having problems adjusting to the air pressure. He or she can tell you how to adjust the air pressure on your BiPAP. You may need to start at a lower pressure and slowly increase it over time.

Call your healthcare provider for any of the following:

  • 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:

Tell your healthcare provider if your mask no longer fits properly. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Bipap

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Care guides

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

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