As the novel Coronavirus is causing havoc in all parts of the world the healthcare system is getting under continuous pressure due to a shortage of healthcare supplies. The Coronavirus is putting exemplary pressure on the health care supply system and doctors are facing a continuous shortage of medical equipment. One of the most essential is the Ventilator that is leading the way in the treatment of Covid-19 affected patients especially the ones having respiratory problems. Hospitals and doctors are turning to the best possible alternative in these times of crisis that can do the same job as a ventilator.
This has led to understanding the difference between ventilators, Continuous positive airway pressure known as CPAP machines, and bi-level positive airway pressure called Bipap machines that can help in making a better decision in these times of COVID-19. The word Bipap is a name used in trade that has been given by a ventilator company and often gets misused. However, you can easily get these Bipap machines on rent.
What is the difference between CPAP machines, Bipap machines, and Ventilators?
Ventilators are machines that are used in hospitals that help patients to breathe when their bodies cannot breathe on their own. There are invasive tubes attached to it and the ventilator delivers oxygen to the body with the help of these invasive tubes. The passage that these tubes pass-through is from the patient’s mouth, vocal cords, and then finally into the lungs. Ventilators are highly advanced machines that have various settings. The settings on the ventilator are adjusted taking into account the patient’s condition, and age.
CPAP machines deliver pressurized air in a steady manner to keep the airways open during sleeping. It helps in preventing the collapse of the air passage that causes interrupted breathing. In the same way, bi-level ventilator devices are used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Cpap and Bipap machines both are used to treat obstructive sleep apnea that is a sleep condition in which a patient’s breathing stops and starts suddenly during the sleep. Bipap Avaps also perform the same function but with maximum efficiency as they automatically adjust according to the needs of the patient.
CPAP and bi-level machines have a breathing mask that is put over a patient’s nose to help with breathing that makes them non-invasive devices. As CPAP and ventilators both assist with patient breathing they are both considered mechanical ventilation. A ventilator is used in case of severe respiratory conditions when a patient is unable to breathe on his own.
CPAP machines are good at providing a continuous flow of air. These are non-invasive machines that cannot be used for invasive ventilation. Most of the machines do not provide machine breaths to breathe but blended oxygen concentrations. There are no monitor interfaces and alarms in most of the machines.
Bi-level machines are different from CPAP machines because they provide two-way pressures that include inspiratory and expiratory positive airway pressure.
Bipap and Cpap machines can be useful in the fight against COVID-19 as these can be converted into life-saving devices. A bi-level or a CPAP device can be transformed into a ventilator with some simple technical adjustments when there are not enough machines available. A Philips Bipap machine is the best in the lot.
Some concerns regarding the use of CPAP and Bipap machines during COVID-19
There is also another viewpoint regarding these machines as they are non-invasive CPAP and bi-level machines. There is a possibility that they can spread COVID-19 if they are not converted properly into ventilators.
Certain CPAP and bi-level machines can be converted into ventilators with the right technology and procedures, but it still has some concerns.
CPAP machines only have one setting whereas bi-level machines have two so it can help inflate the lungs of the patients.
These non-invasive, bi-level, and CPAP machines are capable of aerosolizing the virus and making the atmosphere contaminated. These can be a source of infection as there is a gap in the machine where exhaled air enters.
How are CPAP and Bipap machines repurposed for COVID-19 patients?
If a patient suffering from Covid-19 infection has mild symptoms with a little respiratory distress then a modified Cpap or Bipap machine can be used to meet the purpose but under careful monitoring to ensure its effectiveness. On the other hand in the case of severely infected patients ventilators cannot be ruled out.
Is Sleep Apnea a Health Concern for COVID-19?
Patients with pre-existing diseases have an increased risk of COVID-19 infection. These diseases include chronic lung disease, heart conditions, or weak immune systems that can put the patients to increased risk. But there is no proof that sleep apnea can be a cause of concern for patients but the only thing to keep in mind is that patients suffering from sleep apnea should use extra care when cleaning their CPAP and Bipap equipment.