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What is the Difference Between CPAP and BiPAP Therapy?

CPAP and BiPAP machines are designed to alleviate the suffering of sleep apnea patients. Both machines serve the mutual goal of assisting sleep apnea patients in continuous breathing throughout the night. CPAP and BiPAP machines are non-invasive forms of sleep apnea therapy. A pressure setting is made in CPAP and BiPAP machines at which the airflow has to pass through the airways of sleep apnea patient. By offering a consistent supply of pressurized stream of airflow, CPAP and BiPAP machines ensure that the throat muscles of patients do not collapse while sleeping at night. In this way, both of these machines aid in continuous breathing for sleep apnea patients by preventing airway obstructions.

Although CPAP and BiPAP machines serve a common goal, there are distinct differences between both machines which help them in facilitating different types of sleep apnea patients depending upon the problem.


The CPAP machines are designed to deliver a constant and exact pressure of airflow as prescribed and titrated by the doctor. In patients with High pressure air flow adjustments, the consistently pumped high pressure air troubles exhalation. Although some CPAP machines feature a low pressure setting in which the patients can breathe under low pressure air stream, the pressure is targeted to increase to the prescribed level gradually. Once the pressure is built to the required setting, it is designed to stay at that specific setting for the remaining night.

For more information on CPAP machines, read what digitizd had to say about them.

Pressure adjustments:

BiPAP machines are the last resort when CPAP machines fail to aid the patient. BiPAP machines are designed to make exhalation easier for the patients during the night. To help the users easily exhale against the upcoming high-pressure air, CPAP feature breathing timer and dual pressure settings. Unlike the CPAP machines which have only one pressure setting, BiPAP machines have dual pressure settings:


It is the prescribed pressure for inhalation which is set in the BiPAP machines after studying patient needs and making respective titration.


The lower pressure settings are suitable to aid users during exhalation. Due to this low pressure setting, the users can easily exhale against the airflow during the night.

Breathing Timer:

BiPAP machines also offer a breathing timer. By this timer, the time between breaths can be calculated. This feature also helps in determining the number of breaths a person should be taking per minute. If the patient is taking too long between breaths, the BiPAP will automatically increase the airflow to force the person to breathe.


In this way the BiPAP machines can help the patients with high pressure settings to improve their low oxygen levels. BiPAP can safely be used as a replacement of CPAP machines in case if the latter fails to serve the adequate purpose. In case of patients with cardiopulmonary diseases, such as congestive heart failure, the BiPAP machines are used to offer aid in breathing. BiPAP machines may also be prescribed for patients suffering with lung disorders and specific neuromuscular disorders.