What Is a BiPAP Device and How Is It Used?

BiPAP Device

If you have ever asked a question like, “What is bipap machine?” Here’s what it means: It’s simply short for “bilevel positive airway pressure.” A BiPAP machine is one of the positive airway pressure (PAP) devices used in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in patients. OSA patients usually experience breathing pauses while sleeping. A BiPAP device provides pressurized air that is pumped into the lungs. It provides two levels of air pressure: one for inhaling and one for exhaling.

What is the purpose of a BiPAP machine?

If you have trouble breathing or experience breathing pauses while sleeping, the use of a BiPAP device will be of immense help. The purpose of a BiPAP machine is to purify the oxygen and push the pressurized air into your lungs. It also serves to extract the carbon (IV) oxide from the lungs to ensure that you have a seamless respiratory cycle.

How exactly does a BiPAP machine operate?

The BiPAP machine is programmed to deliver a stream of pressurized air through connected pipes. The pressurized air enters the nose through the mask. BiPAP device delivers two kinds of air:

  • Inhaled air, which is oxygen
  • Exhaled air, which is carbon dioxide

The air pressure for inhaling (breathing in) is higher than that for exhaling (breathing out). The continuous flow of air keeps the muscles along the respiratory tract from falling too close. This ensures that the flow of air is unhindered.

What distinguishes a BiPAP device from a CPAP device?

What distinguishes bipap vs cpap devices is largely their working mechanisms. A BiPAP device delivers air at two different pressure levels: inspiratory and expiratory pressures. The inspiratory air pumps at a higher pressure compared to the expiratory air.

On the other hand, a CPAP device provides one-way continuous air pressure regardless of whether the person is breathing in or out. There’s also an Auto CPAP machine that is able to detect a suitable air pressure to deliver.

In summary, the major difference between bipap and cpap is that the former provides two streams of air pressure while the latter provides one.

Normally, experts recommend the use of a CPAP device if it’s strictly obstructive sleep apnea. However, if there are other breathing difficulties, BiPAP is the most effective device to employ.

Use of a BiPAP machine: what to expect

BiPAP is a safe therapy for breathing problems. However, a few things to expect as a result of the use of masks and poor handling while using medical technology include:

  • Irritation of the eyes
  • Mouth dryness
  • Bloating of the stomach
  • Skin damage by the mask
  • Any leakage will make it inefficient.

A few other minor things to expect may be due to your health, age, and the duration of using BiPAP. If you experience any issues, kindly inform your healthcare provider.

Who can use a BiPAP?


A BiPAP device is not only for those suffering from sleep apnea. Your doctor may also recommend BiPAP therapy if you are suffering from:

  • Asthma
  • Neuromuscular disorder
  • Congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease
  • Poor breathing due to other medical conditions
  • Pneumonia

How to care for your BiPAP machine

  • Remove water from the water chamber after use.
  • Air-dry the water chamber. Avoid drying in the sunlight.
  • Clean the mask and headgear with a clean cloth. Dampen the mask with warm, soapy water. 
  • Air-dry the mask and headgear after washing.
  • Wash and rinse the chamber with warm water, preferably distilled water.
  • Detach the air tubes from the pressure valve or air outlet port when not in use.
  • Soak air tubes in a sink filled with hot, soapy water.
  • After soaking, rinse the tube with hot water until all the soap is removed.
  • Hang the tubing to air-dry completely.
  • Check the light blue ultra-fine filter and replace it every 30 days or sooner if it’s dirty.
  • Wash the pressure valve in warm water with dish soap to remove all traces of dirt.
  • Rinse the pressure valve off with hot water.
  • Wash the used (dirty) filter with warm water.
  • Shake the filter to remove extra water and let it air-dry completely.
  • Store supplies in a clean, dry container.
  • Replace any part of the device that is torn, or cracked; the cushion is not soft, or it has not been properly cleaned.

Bottom line

You can resolve your breathing problems using BiPAP. Contact your doctor to determine if BiPAP therapy is right for you. The technology is capable of detecting and recording changes in the course of therapy. Your healthcare provider can access the recorded data in order to guide them on further decisions to take with regard to your health.