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Newbie question - should I buy my FIRST machine online or from a local distributor?
#1
Actually, two questions.

First, some quick background. Did the sleep study. Follow up in a few months. Prescription says simply “CPAP 13 cm ramp 30 minutes”. Live in Hong Kong where prices are significantly higher for the major brands, have already visited one reseller just to look at the machine and got to try on nasal masks while there. So here are the questions.

I’m obviously new to this and considering buying my first CPAP machine online rather than from the local distributors. Is that a good idea? The reason I ask that is because of the initial setup of the machine and all.

The second question is about durability. I’m also afraid of the machine breaking and needing to take it back in a short period of time. I understand masks last about 6 months (is that right?) and hoses about the same, but how about the machines themselves? How long have your machines lasted before biting the dust?

Thanks!
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#2
Machines are QC'ed like consumer electronics.
So, you can get one that's got a problem very quickly; or you can get one that will last 5+years.

If the manufacturers would run every machine for 100 hours -- test -- then ship, the early failures would be culled out.

Make contact with Supplier #2 on the list at the top of the page; ask about shipping to HK and what warranty they'll offer.
I think they have an email address... They have some zero hour machines at bargain prices.
Shipping will cost... plus unknown as to any customs duty to be paid in HK.
Supplier #2 can set it up in accord with your Rx.

Mask frames can last quite a while. You'll need to buy mask cushions or pillows on a routine basis -- plus filters.
A hose can last a year or so if treated well.
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#3
Hi kowlooner,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Much success to you as you start your CPAP journey and hang in there for more responses to your post.
trish6hundred
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#4
Hello, kowlooner. Welcome to the Apnea Board forum.

I got my CPAP machine and first mask from a local supplier a few months ago. A respiratory therapist went through how to use the machine and how to assemble, clean, and put on the mask with me.

In my opinion, changing the settings on the machine is very easy. It's simpler than most of the consumer electronic gadgets we use now.

You can get recommendations from this forum if you need them about settings for the humidifier, ramp time, and exhale pressure comfort settings.

I would feel comfortable buying a CPAP machine from one of the suppliers on this forum's supplier list.

I know that the chances of my getting a machine that didn't work and needed to be exchanged wouldn't be zero, but it wouldn't be like buying a tablet or laptop computer from some of those ebay drop-ship sellers that I've heard about.

I think it's worthwhile to form a relationship with a local supplier of CPAP masks when you're first starting out because that allows you to try on masks before you buy one.

If you do decide to buy a machine from an online supplier, they will tell you what you need to give them in the way of a doctor's prescription and if it needs to say "auto-adjusting CPAP" if that's the type you want to buy.

The machine I have is not auto-adjusting. I got it before I found this forum. If I was planning to buy one right now, though, I would buy an auto-adjusting one if possible.

An APAP machine can be run either in auto-adjusting mode or at a fixed pressure. A plain CPAP machine only gives you the option of running it at a fixed pressure.

I probably should say that one of the reasons I'd be happy to buy a machine online is that I, like many people in the US, deal with an equipment supplier that won't help me even though I got my machine from them.

"Pay lots more, but get terrific customer service for your money" is not an option in the area where I live.

(04-23-2016, 08:55 AM)kowlooner Wrote: Actually, two questions.

First, some quick background. Did the sleep study. Follow up in a few months. Prescription says simply “CPAP 13 cm ramp 30 minutes”. Live in Hong Kong where prices are significantly higher for the major brands, have already visited one reseller just to look at the machine and got to try on nasal masks while there. So here are the questions.

I’m obviously new to this and considering buying my first CPAP machine online rather than from the local distributors. Is that a good idea? The reason I ask that is because of the initial setup of the machine and all.

The second question is about durability. I’m also afraid of the machine breaking and needing to take it back in a short period of time. I understand masks last about 6 months (is that right?) and hoses about the same, but how about the machines themselves? How long have your machines lasted before biting the dust?

Thanks!

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#5
Spend some time thinking about what machine you want. Many people find out that they need to change machines for various reasons and if you get the low end machine you may wish you had gotten a different one. Your prescription is for a generic CPAP, you could also get an APAP or a BiLevel (Resmed VPAP) and all of these I am pretty sure can be set for basic CPAP and also more advanced settings if you need it. There is also the ASV level machines that are much more expensive and for treating Central Apneas, if you get a copy of your test report you can find out if you have centrals or not.

Make very sure you at least know which models have sleep data available and if at all possible get one that does.
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#6
CPAP and APAP machines run in the $800 to $900 range
BiPAP machines run in the $1500 to $1900 range
ASV machines run in the $5000 to $6000 range.
I am not a Medical professional and I don't play one on the internet.
Started CPAP Therapy April 5, 2016
I'd Rather Be Sleeping
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#7
(04-24-2016, 02:10 PM)FrankNichols Wrote: CPAP and APAP machines run in the $800 to $900 range
BiPAP machines run in the $1500 to $1900 range
ASV machines run in the $5000 to $6000 range.

That would be US Dollars. I don't know what that would be in HK$.
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#8
(04-24-2016, 03:00 PM)justMongo Wrote:
(04-24-2016, 02:10 PM)FrankNichols Wrote: CPAP and APAP machines run in the $800 to $900 range
BiPAP machines run in the $1500 to $1900 range
ASV machines run in the $5000 to $6000 range.

That would be US Dollars. I don't know what that would be in HK$.

Oops! Thanks, my bad, I keep forgetting some people don't live here Smile
I am not a Medical professional and I don't play one on the internet.
Started CPAP Therapy April 5, 2016
I'd Rather Be Sleeping
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#9
(04-24-2016, 08:46 AM)green wings Wrote: The machine I have is not auto-adjusting. I got it before I found this forum. If I was planning to buy one right now, though, I would buy an auto-adjusting one if possible.

An APAP machine can be run either in auto-adjusting mode or at a fixed pressure. A plain CPAP machine only gives you the option of running it at a fixed pressure.

Hi kowlooner,

Whether you buy at a local store or online, I encourage you to not settle for less than an APAP, rather than a machine which is not able to auto-titrate its pressure to prevent obstructive events.

Our pressure needs change daily and even hourly, and it is helpful to be able to change to APAP mode for a while to see what pressures your machine adjusts itself to in order to avoid obstructive events.

An APAP can be set in "CPAP" therapy mode and manually adjusted to your exact prescription. But with an APAP, whenever your doctor or you want, the machine's therapy mode could be changed to APAP in order to conveniently re-check your prescription.

Take care,
--- Vaughn

Membership in the Advisory Member group should not be understood as in any way implying medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment. The Advisory Member group provides advice and suggestions to Apnea Board administrators and staff on matters concerning Apnea Board operation and administrative policies - not on matters concerning treatment for Sleep Apnea. I think it is now too late to change the name of the group but I think Voting Member group would perhaps have been a more descriptive name for the group.
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#10
Thanks everybody. I appreciate your comments. In terms of machine types, I’ve done a whole bunch of research and so don’t feel confused about CPAP, APAP, Bi-PAP or their capabilities and limitations. Same for bricks, software etc. As for prices, just for fun, 1 US$ = 7.8 HK$ (I round it up to 8 for quick calcs), been pegged to the USD at this rate for decades now.

My main original concern was whether I needed help with the setup, basically having a little hand-holding right at the beginning, but from the sound of it this is really not an issue. Does that sound right? Online manuals will do, and the online supplier should also start us off with the right basic settings if required.

As for machine longevity, I guess it’s a bit of a crap shoot. Does that sound about right Mongo? Hopefully whatever I get lasts a long time. Or a really short time if I turn out to hate it. It looks like they really make their money on the refills. The old Gillette model with replacing filters, cushions etc on a fairly frequent basis.

Again, thanks for the comments and the time you all took to help a newbie.
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