Just an update.
The titration study didn't go well. I slept with whiny and leaky combination of an old REMstar Auto C-Flex machine and a ComfortGel mask. I just kept turning and waking. The fact that the titration room was located at the psychiatric wing wasn't helpful, too.
However, I got to get a glimpse on the results of my sleep study. I slept enough for them to determine an AHI of 78 events per hour. Quite close to the 1st hour of my home-test. It was obvious that I needed treatment asap.
So, they lent me a Weinmann SOMNObalance e to continue the auto-titration at home. I'd never heard of Weinmann before. It didn't look as fancy as my mother's S9, so I didn't expect much.
Then they sent me to the local representative to blank the previous data and adjust the pressure settings. After an hour of enlightening discussion with him, my hopes got high for this machine. I also got to try the JOYCE SilkGel mask - oh, it felt so smooth! Silky smooth and soft. It looked way more comfortable than my mother's Ultra Mirage II.
When I came home, I did my research. Apparently Weinmann is the biggest CPAP manufacturer in Germany - and probably the best in Europe. Germans are well-known for their high quality products which are manufactured under strict standards. My expectations kept rising!
After 8 nights of sleep with the SOMNObalance, I seriously consider buying one! First of all, it's whisper quiet. The only thing I hear is my breath through the tube. I can't tell if the S9 is quieter.
Then it's the mask that comes with it. I love this mask! It's super soft and seals easily. No more leaks in my eyes. And because of the gel both at the nose and at the forehead cushion, I can tighten the mask without it being uncomfortable. It's also easier to clean, thanks to the single layer cushion. In addition, it features a pivoting connector which relieves any upward hose tension and keeps the mask seal intact. They call it "ball-and-socket" joint. Last but not least, there are headstrap clips at the forehead support pad, too, so I don't have readjust the staps after detaching the headgear from the mask.
The machine comes with a two stage filtration system. One foam washable filter and one fine filter. The latter is actually an EPA filter by Europe's standards (E10 class). It filters at least 85% of particles at 0.3 μm. It's actually better than ResMed's hypoallergenic filter - which is very difficult to find in Greece. It's good to know I'm breathing cleaner air.
The heated humidifier just clicks into place on top of the device, saving space - although I wasn't supplied with one, so I can't comment on its function.
The machine features RAMP mode (called softstart), auto ON/OFF, exhalation pressure relief (called softPAP) and a mask fit test with adjustable pressure levels. There's a 3-level leakage indicator, too, representing "Low - Good fit", "High - Adjust mask" and "Too high for effective treatment - Adjust mask".
The SOMNObalance can show therapy information on the non-lit screen (sleep time, AHI, obstructive AHI, central AHI, 90th percentile pressure and the percentage of sleep time with too high leakage). Apart from last night's values, it can display the mean values for 7, 14, 30, 180 and 366 days. These statistics are saved automatically on the SD card in a user friendly spreadsheet format (CSV). On Weinmann's website, the user can download a patient oriented software (SOMNOjournal, free registration required) which reads the CSV file and presents eye appealing summary graphs. Detailed flow, pressure, leakage, minute ventilation and OPP (Obstructive Pressure Peak signal used for the central apnea detection algorithm) data is accessible only via the clinician oriented software, WEINMANNsupport. I haven't been able to locate it on the internet yet. To make things worse, it needs an proprietary RS485-to-USB adapter in order to read data directly from the device. I'm gonna try hard to get a CD copy of WEINMANNsupport from the technician and make it available on Apneaboard. However, without the adapter, it's not gonna be of much use.
On the other hand, I've found the Clinician Setup Manual
And this is the User Manual
To sum up, I think that the SOMNObalance e is a really well-designed and well-built machine that delivers all the latest generation Auto CPAP features at a lower price than the competition (at least in Europe). It only lacks the bling of the S9, but not its functionality. The only real disadvantage here is that the end user can't get his hands on the data analysis software (or at least easily).