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Are pillows inherently better for AHI than FFM's?
RE: Are pillows inherently better for AHI than FFM's?
Interesting responses! I've been using cpap for well over a decade, and have tried a good number of different masks in different styles. Two nights ago I shaved off my goatee, partly to see if that will allow me to use an Airfit F30 again (it leaked too much with the goatee). After two nights, the same old pattern seems to be emerging: with a FFM, my leaks are down a bit and my AHI has increased to ~3. BUT, I feel rested and am having long, vivid dreams, so I know I'm spending time in REM sleep. It's still too early to draw any conclusions.

I have noticed that I have to increase minimum and maximum pressure when I switch to a FFM. And, interestingly, my chart often shows a smoother pressure profile with a FFM as opposed to pillows, which tend to be more jagged. My guess is that the pillows are better at responding to onsets of OA. Hence, the more jagged pressure profile and lower AHI score with pillows over a FFM for me. does this last sound accurate? It's jsut a guess.

In the end I'll probably jsut switch back and forth according to what seems to be working at the time. For some reason, years ago, I was able to use the F30 style mask for over a year with very low leaks. I can't get that again! I've put on some weight, and my face is more plump (nothing terrible). Maybe that's the reason.
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RE: Are pillows inherently better for AHI than FFM's?
hegel I appreciate the comments you've made.

I recently tried to convert from a ResMed N20 (with taping and a cervical collar) to a full face mask. it was not a happy trial. I also tried a nasal pillow mask. P30i with the Respironics velco strap on the back. It was a disaster. Perhaps I didn't adjust it properly. AHI=43!

I'm back using a brand new N20 mask with a Knightsbridge Dual Band cap and cervical collar. Results are good.
compliant for 35 years /// Still learning!

I'm just a cpap user like you. I don't give medical advice. Seek the advice of a physician before seeking treatment for medical conditions including sleep apnea. Sleep-well

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RE: Are pillows inherently better for AHI than FFM's?
I used a Wisp nasal pillow for 5 years but couldn't control my chipmunk cheeks and violent air explosions from my mouth--I don't really mouth breath. Switched to a Resmed AirTouch 20 with amazing no mask leak results and a 6 month AHI OF 0.34. It almost eliminated my mouth leak explosions also.
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RE: Are pillows inherently better for AHI than FFM's?
These are all interesting comments. If I use my Airtouch F20 (FFM) my OAs and CAs explode, even adding extra pressure. AHI leaps to the 20s even with no leaks! I have tried and tried.

I really wanted it to work because taping my mouth with the P10 (or P30i) is a hassle. If I don't tape, the mouth leaks cause arousals that you can see in the flow rate graph, disturbing the breathing each time the leak suddenly drops.

On a side note, I feel like the P30i seems to deliver more pressure than the P10, but that benefit seems lost when sleeping on my side and crushing the airframe. I can only imagine it has to do with slightly stepped down diameter (and or ribbing) of the P10 connector hose (could it be how the different masks handle the exhalation ports?).

I've read that the P10 holes can get tiny clogs and you should take a toothbrush (not used for teeth) to scrub the holes. It would seem a masks ability to exhale the CO2 build up could make a difference for those with a very sensitive apneic threshold.
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RE: Are pillows inherently better for AHI than FFM's?
So when I was first prescribed CPAP in the 1980's, they gave me a nasal mask. I don't think there were alternatives back then. I asked about keeping my mouth closed, and I was told that it didn't matter, the volume of air would increase and keep my throat open, I could open or close my mouth and it would not matter to the apnea therapy. I think that no one believes that anymore. My friend Charlie got his CPAP around 2005, got a brick from the local DME and was about to abandon therapy. He was told that he absolutely had to have a full face mask, he was ripping his mask off without waking up after two hours. I told him to demand a quality machine and a nasal mask. He got a decent machine, it made the difference to him, but they wouldn't budge on the mask.

The local hospital only stocks full face masks. You can bring your own, but if you fail to (like an ER admission, say), you get a full face mask. Bring your own is a new policy, I think 5 years ago you had to use their mask. But their machines sound kinda like a jet airplane taking off, louder than a vacuum cleaner.

About 15 years ago I took a Medicare required retest and They asked, "What mask do you use?"

I told them a nasal mask, they gave me nasal pillows instead and I have never looked back.
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