The Flow Generator
The CPAP machine is a flow generator which consists of a pump that sucks air in from the room through a dust filter and blows it out under a pre-set pressure. This pressure varies from person to person.
Most CPAP machines have a delay timer or an inbuilt “ramping system”. This allows you to become accustomed to a low pressure of air whilst falling off to sleep. The machine will then gradually build up to the pre-set treatment pressure when you are sleeping.
The CPAP Mask
The standard mask fits over the nose leaving the mouth free. Mask designs vary between manufacturers but they share a number of common features.
- A flexible cushion which rests against the face. Some masks may have a second, very thin membrane in addition to this.
- A hard plastic shell with attachment points for the head straps that keep the mask in place during sleep.
- An inlet tube, which allows CPAP tubing to attach to the mask.
- Outlet port(s) which allow the exhaled air to escape. Some newer designs have a swivel feature built in to this port to allow directional control.