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[Equipment] Machine Internal Disinfecting and Maintanance
#1
My apologies if an answer has already been posted elsewhere in our Forums although I did do a search of the forums for discussions on this topic prior to starting this thread but the search didn't seem to turn up any results so here goes.

While there is plenty of information on maintaining, cleaning and disinfecting your CPAP-related equipment on a regular and scheduled basis, there seems to be far too little information or attention given in those instructions on how to properly keep the inner workings of a CPAP unit properly sterilized, clean and safe for use. And what about a CPAP machine that may have been sitting on a shelf for a length of time and how can we be sure the machine itself is 100% safe to use after sitting awhile or if it had been previously used by another patient? What about a CPAP machine that has been in use by a single patient for an awful long time? Just a couple of example case scenarios to help clarify my question.

CPAP machine takes in air, albeit through some sort of a filter, but inside the machine there is the blower fan and its associated components and airways. How to be sure those areas are also properly disinfected and safe for use just as the tubing, masks and humidifier reservoir should be? What procedures are there for properly maintaining and disinfecting a CPAP machine on a scheduled or regular basis?

Thanks.
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#2
The machine is bringing in the air you breathe all the time. It is no dirtier than your own lungs. Sitting on a shelf, your biggest worry would be something crawling in there and making a home. Dust falls down, not crawls in. If the machine was in its travel bag, it was just fine. Since the previous patient never breathed air back through the machine, sterilization is not necessary. It is the same reason the hospital does not tear the wall down and clean the oxygen ports between patients at the hospital. They just change the hoses the patient used.

I don't think you should stick an airhose in there and blow it out like we do our computers. There are delicate air sensors. You could, however, take it apart and gently dust things off. I doubt you'd find much in there, though.

As long as you keep the filter on and change it regularly, it will stop most everything from getting in.

Tell you what. I have an S9 Escape that I used for about 2 yrs in my dusty house. It has sat for almost 2 more years in its bag. Tomorrow, if I remember, I will take it apart and see what the innards look like. You've got my curiosity up.
PaulaO2
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Breathe deeply and count to zen.

INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.




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#3
Paula: Take photos and post them please... I'm always interested in the internal workings of there machines.
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#4
We've had folks take them apart before. It's been a while though. Not even sure how to do a search for that.
PaulaO2
Apnea Board Moderator
www.ApneaBoard.com


Breathe deeply and count to zen.

INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.




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#5
Thanks, Paula.

I'll check in to the Forums again late tomorrow afternoon when I get home from work.
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#6
Anything that handles air handles dirt. The dirt will deposit on anything the air impacts or will settle out when it loses speed. The cupped impellers of a squirrel cage fan rotor eventually get full of dirt and reduce the efficiency of the fan quite a bit. That occurs in spite of the fact that a filter is used at the air inlet. It takes quite a while (several years) for that to happen.

As to whether it would be a problem on a CPAP machine, I'd say no, since they don't last long enough for that to happen under normal usage. As for germs and viruses, there wouldn't be any more of them inside there than there are on the outside, maybe even less.
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#7
Hi remscape808,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
What Paula said.
Hang in there for more answers to your questions and good luck to you with your CPAP therapy.
trish6hundred
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#8
They do not disinfect the internal parts of CPAP machine blower units, even in hospitals and sleep labs. The official position is that it's not needed.

The only thing that goes into the blower unit is room air. While things like dust and oils may get sucked into the the machine, the long term concentration of crud coming out of the machine is going to be no more than the concentration of crud going into the machine. The air is filtered, so it's probably cleaner than the air in the room in general.

If you do something to disturb the dust inside the blower unit, you might temporarily shake some of the dust out of the machine and get an extra puff of dust for a short period of time. In the long term, air coming out of the blower will be no dirtier than the air inside the room.

Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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#9
We disinfect the outside of the machine in the hospital, since the patient does not breath into the machine at all - they are on the far end, receiving the air, and that air is filtered. There is almost no upstream air from the patient during the outbreath, and none of it reaches the blower assembly. Most of it barely gets more than a few cm up the hose, and is instead directed out the exhaust port.

We DO have disinfection machines for the inner workings of every type of machine that passes air through it - large industrial types of things, mostly for surgical units and for units that have been in infected areas or need higher sterile requirements, but he sleep lab informs me that they clean and disinfect the hoses, masks and outlet of the CPAP boxes they have, and the exterior of the boxes and swap out the filters between patients, but any cleaning of the inner assembly is done by Philips themselves on a yearly basis, given the heavy use the machines get. They inform me that the machines really don't need to be cleaned all that often inside the blower assembly and the fans don't pick up that much dust thanks to the filters.
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#10
Thank you, Trish.

Also a friend of mine who has been prescribed CPAP has a machine that he has not been using for quite some time and he lives in a smoking environment and the ocean-side apartment he lives in is quite old and rather dusty and the air is rather salty due to the Gulf of Mexicao being about a block away from his home. I plan to go see that machine in these next couple of days and to try to help get this guy on the right track with his CPAP therapy and perhaps even to introduce him to the Apneaboard Forums.
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