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Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
#1
Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
I'm a self administering cpap user. I've got a Phillips Dreamstation. It's about 4 1/2 yrs old and has worked really well. Lately, everything still works but it seems to be, well, weaker.  I have the dreamwear mask. The one that goes under the nose like a saddle. No issues with that and I've always worked will with it. But at night it feels like my breathing is a bit more labored. Like there isn't quit enough air by maybe 5-10% compared to usual. My usually good AHI numbers are still within acceptable range but the fluctuate more than they did. Nothing has changed with either my situation or my health. I've tried it with the filter removed (even though the filter is new) and it seems to be the same. Even awake, I can feel the difference. Hard to explain. The machine's working good just seems 'weaker'. 

So my question: After this amount of time owning the thing, when they start to get 'end of life' do they just die or do they become less efficient or weaker, maybe because of the fan age or other reason?

BTW... All parts are in good shape, hose, filter, seals, etc. I've carefully checked over everything. The machine and peripherals are in good shape.

Raising the pressure by 0.5 doesn't work for me either. I can feel the discomfort on my lungs in the morning from it. my 9.5 and 13.0 apap settings is the best setting for me and even though I have varied it a bit to see the results, my best and most comfortable AHI readings are at this setting.

Thnx...
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#2
RE: Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
You are approaching the recognized EOL, End of Life for CPAPs.
CPAPs work by maintaining pressure, has pressure fallen off? Increase pressure by 1cmw, what happens? Your needs could have changed.


Whatever you do keep this machine as a backup.

You may want to post OSCAR charts for a second look.
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#3
RE: Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
(01-17-2021, 09:51 AM)Gideon Wrote: You are approaching the recognized EOL, End of Life for CPAPs.
CPAPs work by maintaining pressure, has pressure fallen off?  Increase pressure by 1cmw, what happens?  Your needs could have changed.


Whatever you do keep this machine as a backup.

You may want to post OSCAR charts for a second look.

Thanks for the reply. It seems like pressure has fallen off. But raising it doesn't feel right, and by 'not feel right' I mean it's uncomfortable like it was long ago when I tried it to experiment with pressure settings. So, I'm not sure what's the problem.
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#4
RE: Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
You can preform an inexpensive pressure test very easily. You will need to set your CPAP either to a static pressure or, if your CPAP has one, use the mask fit setting. In your case, I am looking at the 12 cm setting. 12 cm is equal to 4.72441 inches, so you will need a container of at least 8 inches in height. This is because you don't want to fill the container to the brim and the hose will displace water as well. Even your bathtub can be used. (In a pinch, you can use the toilet's water reservoir tank. . . it's clean water.) Fill the chosen container with water until the depth exceeds 6 inches. The actual depth is not important, so long as exceeds your target measurement plus a couple of inches. Now, place the mask end of your CPAP hose in the filled container until the hose end touches the bottom. Of course, the other end of the hose will be connected to your CPAP. Have some type of marking device near you and then turn on your CPAP. Slowly start retracting the hose from the water. As soon as you see bubbles coming out of the hose, mark the hose at the top waterline. Turn off your CPAP and lay your hose out where you can measure from the waterline mark to the hose end. This measurement should be close to the 4-3/4 inch mark. (I rounded the 4.72441 up .026"). I am guessing that the CPAP pressure sensors have some type of allowable manufacturing tolerances on its pressure, and combined with its age, may be a plus or minus of this measurement, but still close. If it is off a football field, then you do have a defective unit.

One last thought. Be sure and clean up your mess when finished. The wife can get a little perturbed if you don't. . .

Good luck!
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#5
RE: Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
A couple of screen shots of a recent day that has low AHI for me but still seems like the low pressure discomfort while breathing.

       
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#6
RE: Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
Are you using Flex?

Your numbers are good. You are having flow limits. The indicator at this scale is your RERAs. Your numbers are low enough that you want to chase comfort and not numbers. This would cause me to consider a ResMed machine as a replacement when the time comes.
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#7
RE: Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
(01-17-2021, 10:34 PM)Gideon Wrote: Are you using Flex?

Your numbers are good. You are having flow limits. The indicator at this scale is your RERAs. Your numbers are low enough that you want to chase comfort and not numbers.  This would cause me to consider a ResMed machine as a replacement when the time comes.

Well thank you...yes, I'm using Flex.
Flow limits and the significance of having them?

The indicator is the RERA's. And this is significant because?

Chasing comfort. Sounds good. How is comfort chased?

And how would chasing comfort because of flow limits and having a scale of RERA's  be better with the ResMed?

I know these are strange questions but when I read this I saw statements of what's there then a recommendation. I couldn't really pull together the connection.

And yes, I do want to chase comfort. That's what has been failing lately. With my standard adjustments the machine as is feels like it's lacking but that's just recently. It's always been great for the past four years. This issue is recent. When I bump it up a bit it feels to forceful and uncomfortable. i.e. my standard settings were always 9.5-13. If I change it to 10.0-13 it's uncomfortable. I'm not trying to adjust it for better ahi. I've got that down fine. It's just that it's not pleasant to use any longer.

That's why I was wondering if the machine, as it's getting older, might be failing. When they do fail is this the path that they usually follow if they don't die all at once? I guess I'm just looking to find out if these machines do this near end of life and if so then it's an indication that I need to get a new one.

Much appreciated.
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#8
RE: Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
By all means pursue the possibility of machine 'failure', but is there a possibility that the problem is an actual breathing issue, not the machine? Is there any physiological reason why you might be slightly short of breath, i.e. a recent infection, heart disease, asthma or putting on weight? An allergy maybe? Could there be an environmental cause, such as reduced air quality in your area? Even if you're pretty sure it's the machine, shortness of breath should always be taken seriously.
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#9
RE: Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
You can think of flow limits as small hypopneas that do not count toward AHI. Too many of them are bad. Unless they show up in detailed zoomed flow rate chart they are not likely to be a problem. By definition RERAs are a series of flow limits ending in arousal. Again unless you have too many of them they are no problem


To treat flow limits you need a dual pressure machine such as a no level or a ResMed with its EPR implementation Dreams rations "equivalent is Flex which should be similar per mfg claims but is not when it comes to managing flow limits.

With a Dreamstation your only option would be a min pressure increase.

The problem you are describing could be caused by a failing pressure sensor which results in a lower pressure. All phillips machines require higher min pressures because their algorithmic response is notably slower and they need a headstart to head off obstructive events. ResMed responds faster and typically would not show the same results.

ResMeds EPR provides up to 3 cmw differential pressure (expiry pressure relief) and helps significantly with flow limits, RERAs, hypopneas, UARS so we tend to prefer that machine. You are approaching EOL so I mentioned it.
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#10
RE: Do aging cpap machines get 'weaker'?
Thank you, that's pretty clear.

Nothing is changed here. The only thing that's different is that I'm getting older but I spend lots of time at the gym and, knock on wood, I do a fairly rigorous workout on ellipticals and weights. Always been pretty healthy. BP, cholesterol etc. I'm the only friend my age who doesn't have any of those issues at 66 yrs old. I have an elliptical in the house too. I've been doing that for years. What makes me think it's the cpap machine is that I've been putting it on just standing up to feel the pressure and I can tell something is not right. The air flow feels like it's not enough, heavy, hard to describe. It's particularly noticible in the morning when I awaken.

I was looking for other opinions. Considering the age of the machine, maybe it's time to get another one. I look at them in terms of yrs of use per cost. This one avgs about $120/yr. Which is pretty good to be able to mitigate this issue.

Thank you for your assistance. Much appreciated... oh and Oscar too.
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