Quote:What do I need to get and why?
Just to clarify - the results you gave above look like a titration study, where they tried you out with the machine. If you're still getting an AHI of 6.9 with the machine, that's not optimised. What it doesn't tell us is whether the central and mixed apneas were pressure-induced or whether you had them beforehand. This is important to know as it will affect the optimal choice of machine. You have a fairly high percentage of central and mixed (central and obstructive) apnea. You should
be able to get away with a standard CPAP or autoset (APAP) type machine if these are pressure-induced. However, if the centrals don't resolve, or get worse under therapy (which happens sometimes) then you will need a much more sophisticated (and expensive) ASV type machine. For this reason, I'd suggest great caution before jumping in and buying a machine. The two main manufacturers are Resmed and Philips Respironics, who control the great majority of the market. Other reputable makers are Fisher & Paykel and De Vilbis.
Quote: What do I need to look for when buying online?
What is the return policy? If the machine doesn't work out, can you return it and get credit towards a more sophisticated unit if necessary? Or can you get a month's trial?
Quote: Is there a thread that explains the different machines?
Quote: Nose thingy? Full nose/mouth thingy like at the sleep study (I snore loudly) and had no problem with the overnight study sleeping with the CPAP nose/mouth thingy?
It's called a mask
They come in several types:
Nasal pillows: where the only contact is via a soft prong against each nostril - very popular but can be difficult to use if you're a mouth-breather.
Nasal mask: What it says - the mask just covers your nose but does not directly contact your nostrils.
Full face mask: Covers both mouth and nose. This sounds like what you had. A lot of people find them claustrophobic and they can leak air which is annoying and detracts from the therapy. I have a Simplus fill face which I find pretty good.
Find a mask which fits snugly, is comfortable and doesn't leak. There are hundreds of different types out there and getting the perfect mask can be the hardest part of PAP treatment.
Quote: Whats up with software? Does it come with the units? What's it for, etc.
There are two basic types - web-based summary services, like Resmed's "MyAir" or fully detailed analysis software like SleepyHead or ResScan. MyAir uses the cellphone chip in your machine to upload each day, and gives you a basic summary of how you're going. For many people that is enough. SleepyHead and ResScan give extremely detailed analysis on a breath-by-breath basis. They really let you see in great detail exactly what's happening, and allow you to fine tune your treatment. SleepyHead is a free download from this site (see the link at the top of the page) and covers a wide range of machines, but not the most recent Respironics Dreamstation. ResScan is Resmed's proprietary software, only for their machines, and Encore is Respironic's software. You can also download them from this site.
Quote: If I get my own CPAP, what do I need to have to follow up with the sleep clinic? Or do I even need to and why or why not? Is it just to make money for the clinic/Dr?
A lot of people never see their sleep doc again, and live to tell about it. While I'd never give that as a recommendation, I haven't seen mine in a couple of years and probably never will. On the other hand, if you are a professional driver, pilot or machine operator then there may be laws or regulations in your locality which require you to have medical supervision of your treatment.
Quote: Is there a wiz bang pop CPAP that will auto adjust as I change/improve?
Yes, the Resmed AutoSet machines and equivalents from other manufacturers will do this for you. You do need to provide some basic parameters (such as minimum and maximum pressure limits) and the machine will operate within those limits.
Quote: Basically do I need the sleep Dr for anything in the next year(s) or so or can I self diagnose with the CPAP going forward, maybe that's what the software and groups like this is for, like taking blood glucose readings as a diabetic to make insulin adjustments, consulting with others having similar health issues?
As said above, many (most?) people never see a sleep doc once they're set up. However if you have difficulty with the treatment, or if there is a regulatory requirement, then you may need to see the doctor.