Sometimes it might become necessary to use an oxygen concentrator or oxygen therapy in general along with a CPAP machine. Even if you're getting the air you need with your CPAP, if your lung function isn't up to par, you would still be missing out on the oxygen your body needs. Your doctor will help you determine whether or not using oxygen therapy with your CPAP machine is right for you.
A CPAP machine is used for sleep apnea, or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to be exact. This is when the muscles around the throat cannot support their own weight while the patient is asleep. Sleep apnea can be very serious, causing the throat to close up and breathing to stop for an extended amount of time. This can leave the patient feeling very run-down when they wake up, with a headache and other signs of not receiving enough oxygen overnight.
If you think you might have sleep apnea – you wake up feeling awful, or you sleep in the same room with someone and they notice that you stop breathing at some points during the night – you should visit your doctor. Your doctor can run tests and even do an overnight observation of your breathing patterns during sleep. It can then be determined if you need a CPAP machine.
If you have COPD or another lung disease that lowers the blood oxygen count dramatically, you may need to use your oxygen therapy while you sleep, as well. Luckily, you can easily connect your oxygen concentrator with your CPAP machine, and use them both at the same time. Here is how you can connect the two together:
You will need a small and inexpensive device called an “oxygen bleed-in adapter”. This looks like a tube attached to a smaller tube. If your CPAP mask features an oxygen port, you would use this to attach the oxygen tube directly to the mask. Some older masks do not have this port, but if yours does, it will be covered with a cap that you will be able to remove. If your mask doesn't have the oxygen port, you can get the bleed-in adapter.
If you have the port on the mask, remove the cap by pulling and giving it a twist until it pops off, and insert the end of the oxygen tubing into the port. If you don't have the port but you've gotten the bleed-in adapter, place the oxygen tubing securely onto the small tube on the adapter.
Connect the large opening of the bleed-in adapter to the air pressure outlet on the CPAP machine, where it will fit securely. Connect CPAP tubing to the other end of the bleed-in adapter. You would then attach the other end of the CPAP tubing to your CPAP mask.
After you have everything connected, you can turn on the CPAP machine, and the oxygen concentrator. Always turn on the CPAP machine first, and when you're done using them, turn the oxygen concentrator off first, and then the CPAP machine. It's important to not allow oxygen to flow into the CPAP machine while it isn't running.