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What is a CPAP machine? I'll try to make it simple
#1
I work in electronic engineering. I design systems and devices that use all manner of electromechanical devices, printed circuit boards, microprocessors, and of course software - just like what's in our CPAPs

Coincidentally, right before getting my first therapy machine a few weeks ago, I happened to acquire an older model Respironics machine at an auction of obsolete medical equipment most of which comes from a nearby Vet hospital.

That machine was not useable for therapy....so I used it as a learning experience and a possible source of parts for my many hobby development projects.

In other words, I took it apart and analyzed it.

What is a CPAP machine? (also APAP, BiPAP, etc. - they all have the same basic guts)

IT'S A BLOWER. That's it....it's just a blower.

The blower is based on a very high quality precision motor which can be finely controlled in terms of its speed and therefore its airflow output.

There are also several high precision pressure sensors that monitor the output and also the back pressure imposed by the user's breathing pattern.

The processor inside simply regulates the speed of the blower motor according to its software programming using the pressure readings as compared to time to adjust the motor speed to maintain the pressure level.

To be effective, the pressure delivered needs to be just enough to overcome the difference between your diaphragm's attempt to decrease the pressure in your lungs (allowing air to rush in) and the blocking effect of one's soft palate closing up the airway (This according to my doc)

Humidifiers, heaters, modems, etc. are all just accessories to the basic controlled blower function.

I hope this helps to provide a bit of a look behind the curtain so you can make informed decisions in your therapy and a maintain a measure of skepticism when certain providers try to sell you a red herring or know when they are not.

Feel free to ask me more questions if you have them. I'm really just starting to delve into the details of these machines but let it be known that they are really not very complicated - precise, yes....complicated, not so much.

Hope this helps!

Sleep-well



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#2
Why such a spread in price between a basic brick (~$250)and a high end Bipap ASV machine (~$5,000)? It would seem the basic difference is the software and maybe an extra sensor or 2.
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#3
I don't think the real technical differences have much to do with the cost. The difference in hardware costs are minimal. Software development could be a significant driver of cost, but mostly I think it's wrapped up in the murky medical device/insurance billing structure that seems to be designed to ensure that we pay as much as possible and the insurance companies pay as little as possible. Seems like the price always ends up just under the deductible cap.

Unlike some other places, in the US feeling better is a very big business where you can only get all the help you need if you can pay for it.

Don't get me started on insurance companies...that's a rigged game if ever there was one!

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#4
Great description.

In 1995 when I first realised I probably had sleep apnea and before my sleep study and first machine, I was lead to belive a CPAP was an oxygen machine.

The day I got my Resmed Sullivan V (google it!) I realised it was just a machine that sucked room air into the back through a hole and blew it out through a tube into my nose and down the back of my throat to keep the airway open.

And thats how I've described it ever since.
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#5
These little money makers were invented by some guy in his garage using an old vacuum cleaner with the hose connected to the outlet. When the medical mafia heard about it, they lobbied the FDA to slap a prescription requirement on anyone wanting to buy one and require them to undergo expensive tests. The logic was, since this device made some people feel better it must be dangerous. It was an immediate cash cow.

I marvel at the lengths the FDA, et al., will go to protect us. I marvel even more at the power of big money lobbyists.
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#6
(11-23-2014, 06:54 PM)bwexler Wrote: Why such a spread in price between a basic brick (~$250)and a high end Bipap ASV machine (~$5,000)? It would seem the basic difference is the software and maybe an extra sensor or 2.

I'm a career development engineer. If you sell tens of thousands of units of a product, the development cost per unit shipped is very low. The baseline machine these days seems to be the ResMed S9 AutoSet and stripped down versions of it. They sell a crap-load of them so it has a fairly low non-recurring cost per unit shipped. I doubt anybody ships a heck of a lot of Bipap ASV machines. You have to recover all that development cost somehow or nobody would build the machine so the machines are very expensive.

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#7
(11-24-2014, 09:56 AM)surferdude2 Wrote: These little money makers we invented by some guy in his garage using an old vacuum cleaner with the hose connected to the outlet.

Not quite some guy in his garage - It was Prof Colin Sullivan at Sydney University. Some interesting articles for your edification...

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet...8/fulltext

http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/australi...s/idea.php

http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/museum/mwm...lin_Edward
DeepBreathing
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#8
(11-25-2014, 12:29 AM)DeepBreathing Wrote:
(11-24-2014, 09:56 AM)surferdude2 Wrote: These little money makers we invented by some guy in his garage using an old vacuum cleaner with the hose connected to the outlet.

Not quite some guy in his garage - It was Prof Colin Sullivan at Sydney University. Some interesting articles for your edification...

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet...8/fulltext

http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/australi...s/idea.php

http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/museum/mwm...lin_Edward


Yep my avatar is a pic of Professor Sullivan at work in Sydney

The Resmed Sullivan (and S series) machines were named after him.
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#9
To solely credit Sullivan for the invention does a disservice to Eliot Phillipson, the man I was referring to.

It seems Phillipson is only mentioned as an "associate" in the process. Smile

Snippet from article linked below:

Invention

Quote:The original CPAP machine was introduced in 1981 by Australian Dr. Colin Sullivan and his associates. They reversed a vacuum cleaner motor so that it would blow air into a patient's nasal cavity via tubing to keep the passage open. This applies positive air pressure into the upper airway and pushes a constant flow of air into the lungs.

Phillipson had performed similar experiment much earlier, actually in 1970, using a dog as the subject. I can't guarantee that it happened in his garage but it does seem reasonable. If nothing else it lends a nice dramatic and colorful flair to the story, what?



Read more : http://www.ehow.com/facts_5732127_history-cpap.html
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