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There's a lot of acronyms and abbreviations associated with sleep apnea. The purpose of this list is to assist users in understanding the "alphabet soup" as well as understand the difference between similar terms (such as Bi-Flex and BiPAP and Bi-Level).






  • DME - durable medical equipment; distributor of durable medical equipment; the same as HME (durable means non-disposable like xPAP machines)
  • DAW - Dispense as Written. Instruction to dispense DME by brand and type exactly as prescribed.



  • FFM - full face mask mask
  • FL - flow limitation




  • LL - Large Leak; a leak larger than the machine can compensate




  • PAP - positive airway pressure
  • PB - Periodic breathing (note: this acronym exists predominantly within OSCAR only)
  • PLMD - periodic limb movement disorder (body twitches during sleep, usually as the brain tries to wake you up to breathe)
  • PLM - periodic limb movement (used on sleep reports with a number for how many occurred; part of the "arousal index")
  • PS - pressure support; the difference in provided pressure between inspiration and expiration
  • PSG - Polysomnography (sleep test)





  • Variable Breathing - Philips Respironics variable breathing algorithm seeks to develop a peak inspiratory flow trend on a 4 minute moving average, and measure the deviation above or below that trend. The system is designed to identify variable breathing and to turn over control of the pressure support system, from the auto CPAP controller to the Variable Breathing controller. Without figures, we don't know what that controller response is, but it seems if VB is detected while the pressure is steady, the VB controller will maintain that pressure, but if pressure was increasing before VB controller took control, the pressure is reduced up to 2-cm. Similarly if pressure was decreasing ahead of VB detection, the VB controller will in increase pressure up to 2-cm. The duration of VB controller action is 5 minutes unless VB is still detected.
  • VPAP - variable positive airway pressure (Resmed's brand of bilevel)
  • VS - Vibratory Snore (note: this acronym exists predominantly within OSCAR only)


  • xPAP - any of the positive airway pressure machines

By Group

Machines and machine related

  • SW - Displays the current software version.
  • BID - Displays the boot loader ID.
  • VID - Displays the variant ID.
  • RID - Displays the regional variant ID.
  • HID - Displays the humidifier software ID.

Sleep study terms

Conditions associated with sleep apnea

External Links/Resources: