Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

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Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a mode of respiratory ventilation used primarily in the treatment of sleep apnea, for which it was first developed. CPAP ventilation is also commonly used for those who are critically ill in hospital with respiratory failure, and in newborn infants. In these patients, CPAP ventilation can prevent the need for tracheal intubation, or allow earlier extubation. Sometimes patients with neuromuscular diseases use this variety of ventilation as well. CPAP is an acronym for "continuous positive airway pressure", which was developed by Dr. George Gregory and colleagues in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of California, San Francisco. A variation of the CPAP system was developed by Professor Colin Sullivan at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia, in 1981.

Note that it is "continuous" positive airway pressure, not "constant" positive airway pressure. Some CPAP machines produce variable pressures, such as machines with exhalation pressure relief.

Usage of the term "CPAP" may vary. Some people may not use the term "CPAP" for ASV, bilevel, or even APAP machines. Some machines are classified as "ventilators" or "non invasive ventilators." Different terms may be used for the same machine depending on insurance, agency, or specialty of the speaker.

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