What is VPAP? Is it different than APAP and CPAP?

What is VPAP? And how is it different than other similar technologies like CPAP and APAP?

The short answer: An abbreviation of variable positive airway pressure, VPAP™ is the ResMed brand name for a specialized form of positive airway pressure (PAP) that provides two continuous levels of pressure. It’s called “variable” because it varies between two different levels to better meet the needs of people with sleep apnea. Because of this double-level approach, VPAP is also commonly known as “bilevel” PAP. Again, bilevel literally refers to two levels of air pressure: one for exhaling, and one for inhaling.

The main types of PAP are CPAP, APAP and VPAP/bilevel.

What is VPAP technology used to treat?

What is VPAP in relation to these other PAP types, then? VPAP belongs somewhere between CPAP and APAP on the PAP scale. It doesn’t adjust airway pressure automatically like an APAP device does, but it offers a greater variety of customization than standard CPAP technology.

Like APAP, VPAP is often used to help patients who resist CPAP therapy. Some people simply can’t adjust to CPAP treatment; if a doctor thinks this is because a patient is resisting the continuous nature of the pressure, then a prescription to VPAP may be the alternative.

VPAP or other bilevel devices may also be used in conjunction with other therapies to treat patients who require ventilatory support, such as people who suffer neuromuscular conditions, chest wall deformity, and COPD, as well as central sleep apnea.

Bilevel therapy isn’t typically prescribed for those newly diagnosed with sleep apnea. However, sleep apnea patients who need higher treatment pressures, or who have sleep apnea in combination with one of the other respiratory conditions listed above, may be prescribed a VPAP or other bilevel device.

This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and potential treatments. It is not medical advice. If you have any medical questions, please consult your doctor.

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