CPAP Lingo - Words and Phrases You Should Know
  • 07 Jun 2022
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CPAP Lingo - Words and Phrases You Should Know

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So your doctor recommends a CPAP machine. What's next? The world of CPAP machines and equipment seems daunting - and it's true, there's quite a bit to learn - but if you know your CPAP lingo, your research can be a lot faster and more effective. 

Know the Terms

There is a variety of basic sleep apnea and CPAP terms you should know before beginning your CPAP machine research. Let’s learn them:

Apnea: Cessation of airflow for 10 seconds or longer.

Hypopnea: Slow breathing, typically associated with oxygen de-saturation that causes a 50 percent decrease in airflow.

Apnea/Hypopnea Index (AHI): Apnea plus hypopnea per hour of sleep.

Respiratory Arousal Index (RAI): AHI plus hypopnea per hour of sleep.

AHI/RAI Scale: The measurement of the apnea/hypopnea index and respiratory arousal index that helps determine the severity of sleep apnea:

  • Five to 15 events per hour: mild
  • 15 to 30 events per hour: moderate
  • More than 30 events per hour: severe

Abbreviations to Know

AI: Apnea index, number of apnea events per hour.

HI: Hypopnea index, number of apnea events per hour.

AHI: Apnea/hypopnea index, number of apnea and hypopnea events combined.

RI: Respiratory index, number of respiratory arousals per hour.

RERAs: Respiratory Effort Related Arousals, sleep arousals that occur due to pressure flow limitations.


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