Posted by Yelvis111 3 Jun 2016:
Apex iCH Auto
I bought the unit for $485 through Amazon.
I've been on cpap therapy for almost 10 years. I've used the M-Series REMstar "given" to me by Apria the entire time. My company just switched insurance carriers so I took the opportunity to buy myself a unit outright, without having to deal with another consultation and sleep study. I also wanted to free myself from the thieving practices of my DME (more on that below). I figured I'd upgrade from my brick to something designed in the 21st century while I was at it.
Quick side note, a few weeks ago I forgot to pack my machine for a business trip. I packed the hose, mask and power supply, but somehow managed to forget to pack the unit itself. Since my wife missed the last cutoff for that day's overnight packages, I had the distinct pleasure of "sleeping" without my cpap for the first time in almost a decade. Of course, notwithstanding the almost $1500 that I've paid to Apria over the past 10 years for machine rental and "service", they were unable to provide me a loaner. [start sarcasm font]Money well spent for a $300 brick designed 20 years ago.[end sarcasm font] Needless to say, I was not a happy camper for those 2 days.
Anywho, back to the review.
The iCH Auto is my first experience with an auto cpap. I set the initial pressure bounds at 6 and 13. I know this is wider than the +2/-2 recommendation that I've read on this board, but I wanted to get an idea where the machine would set my pressure since it's been over 5 years since my last titration.
After a week, I downloaded the Easy Compliance software and looked (for the first time) at my sleep results. My 90% is 8.6 cm, right around where the 9 cm my last sleep study set my pressure. The max pressure the machine has had to go is 10.5. I've only had ONE apneic episode, total, over that past 7 nights, and my AHI has been just under 2.0. I'm leaking just under 15 LPM on average, which I think is pretty good.
The machine works as advertised. According to the compliance readout, the machine has adjusted my pressure from around 7 cm to the aforementioned high of 10.5. If my results stay the same for another week, I'll probably change the pressure bounds to 7-11.
The "Pressue Variation Algorithm", PVA, is a particularly nice feature, when it works. The iCH suspends PVA when it detects an apneic or hypopneic episode, though, so there are times when it feels just like I have my mask attached to my old brick. I've only set the humidifier to 2 (I had no humidifier attachment on my old M-series), but I'm not sure I can tell the difference so far.
The unit itself takes up a smaller footprint on my nightstand than my old brick, and I also like that there's a built-in clock and alarm.
There's only one negative issue I've had with the unit so far. When the PVA is suspended, there is a faint, but distinct keening noise that emanates from the back of the unit during my exhale. It's distracting enough to occasionally wake me during the night, and it has caused my wife to go sleep in our guest room a couple of nights.
Inspecting the back of the unit with my mask on, I've determined the noise comes from the small gap between the back of the unit and the water container, right above where the filter is housed. Something about the acoustics of the water container itself causes the noise amplify, and take on that keening quality.
I sent an email to the support team at Apex regarding the issue and got a form-letter response advising me that the noise is probably a result of leaks from my mask (no), or the sound of air moving through the tube (again, no). The letter also stated that the PVA function will not suspend unless its setting is off. This last bit clued me in that they really hadn't taken a look at my issue, since I had learned about the PVA suspension function ON THEIR WEBSITE. Their lack of concern is disappointing, but not surprising. Through experimentation this morning, I've discovered that I can quiet the noise a bit by placing a rolled-up microfiber towel above the gap in the rear of the unit. I hope this is enough to placate my wife.
I can only compare the iCH to my old M-series, so I'm pretty pleased with all of the new functionality, but I'd be very cautious about the keening noise if I were someone switching from a newer machine or another auto.