Automatic CPAP Machines
Automatic CPAP machines, also known as Auto CPAP, AutoPAP or APAP machines, are a type of self regulating CPAP machine used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea and it occurs when the muscles in the airways collapse during sleep, leading to a complete or partial airflow obstruction.
APAP machines use advanced algorithms to monitor the user’s breathing pattern. These auto adjusting machines increase the pressure when you have more breathing obstructions and decrease the pressure during normal breathing.
What is the Difference Between Auto CPAP and Manual CPAP Machines?
Both APAP and manual CPAP machines treat sleep apnea but there are certain advantages to having an APAP machine. A big one is comfort.
APAP machines can be more comfortable than manual CPAP machines because they deliver lower pressures during times when high pressures are not needed. This also makes them easier to get used to. If CPAP compliance is a requirement for your job, you may want to invest in an auto CPAP.
Another benefit of auto CPAPs is that they eliminate the need for an in-lab overnight sleep study. Since APAP machines can auto-titrate pressure in response to the user, there is no need for a sleep study to find the most effective pressure (95th percentile pressure) to prevent breathing events.
However, if your doctor suspects you have complex/mixed sleep apnea, they may require you to do a sleep study in the lab.
How to Choose an Automatic CPAP Machine: Recommendations from RespShop Experts
When buying an auto CPAP machine online, we recommend careful consideration of the following:
- Noise level
- Compatibility with other CPAP accessories
- Value for money/insurance coverage
- Home-use or travel
Our CPAP Machine Buyer’s Guide for 2023 covers these factors in detail and provides our top automatic CPAP machine picks of 2023.
Automatic CPAP Machine Features
Heated humidifiers add moisture to the air to help prevent dry mouth, throat and nose.
Ramp is a comfort feature that increases air pressure over a set period of time to help users fall asleep easier. Ramp is common in both home and travel CPAP machines.
Auto Start/Stop is a convenient feature found in all modern home and travel auto CPAPs.
When Auto Start is activated, the machine begins delivering airflow as the user breathes into the mask. Likewise, when Auto Stop is activated, the machine ceases airflow when the mask is taken off.
Heated tubing prevents condensation by keeping the air temperature consistent along the length of the hose. Heated tubing is almost always an optional add-on when buying auto CPAP machines.
Exhalation relief makes sleep apnea therapy more comfortable by reducing the air pressure when you breathe out.
Watch this video to learn how exhalation relief works and how to stop fighting your CPAP when you exhale.
AHI Tracking/Data Display
Most home and travel auto CPAP machines have built-in data storage so users can view their usage hours, mask seal, and AHI (number of breathing events/hr).
Newer automatic CPAPs can be paired to smartphone apps, allowing users to view and share their sleep data even when they are away from their machines.
Learn how to find your AHI on your CPAP machine here.