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What is a CPAP Pillow?

By Sandra Koehler
Updated May 23, 2024
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CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It is a method of mechanical ventilation. Mechanical ventilation is a method using a machine to assist with breathing or replace spontaneous breathing. A CPAP device is used for people suffering with sleep apnea, respiratory failure and premature infants with breathing irregularities.

A CPAP machine consists of a hose attached to a generator box that pumps air connected to a face mask or nasal pillow. The unit blows pressurized air. This pressure is specifically prescribed to prevent apnea, or the temporary stoppage or absence of breathing.

The CPAP pillow is an actual pillow designed to position the CPAP tubes and mask while sleeping. There are several different designs, either like a small pillow on four legs, or a pillow with cutouts and contours. The CPAP pillow can be used whether you sleep on your back, stomach or side.

The CPAP pillow is intended to help eliminate problems with using the device while sleeping. It also helps in the reduction or elimination of red marks and pressure sores that can occur from leaning on the tubing. With this unique design, the CPAP pillow eliminates pressure changes in the tubing caused by the pressure of lying on the tubing, therefore, it can increase and enhance the machine’s effectiveness. Since the pillow is designed specifically for the CPAP, it also helps eliminate leaks from the mask area.

The CPAP pillow assists in maintaining proper positioning of the airway. It also enhances the positioning of the neck and spine area. Good positioning of the airway as well as the whole body increases the effectiveness of this ventilation system. It also allows the body to be in an optimal position for spontaneous or self breathing.

The CPAP pillow is hypoallergenic and comes with varying degrees of filling or foam. It can be designed for mask or nasal pillow users. It can accommodate over-the-head strapping devices, forehead and chin strap devices, or nasal strap devices. It can be a standard pillow shape or be contoured.

The CPAP machine can be used without the pillow. However, this specially designed pillow supports the head, neck and shoulders while providing unobstructed placement of the tubing, masks and strapping devices attached to the machine. The sole purpose of the CPAP pillow is to increase the efficiency of the CPAP machine while providing a natural, comfortable resting position conducive to natural breathing rate and pattern.

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