Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Published: | Updated: September 2, 2019

Definition - What does Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mean?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a technique of respiratory therapy. The device used for the therapy is also called a CPAP. In this method the airway pressure is maintained above the atmospheric pressure throughout the respiratory cycle of a patient by pressurization of the ventilator circuit.

Safeopedia explains Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

CPAP is used in the treatment of sleep apnea, respiratory or heart failure, and with newborn babies. It delivers a stream of compressed air via a hose to a nasal pillow, nose mask, full-face mask to ensure unobstructed breathing. The CPAP machine blows air at a prescribed pressure determined by a physician. These machines are simple, light and quiet during operations.

A CPAP machine has the following main parts:

  • A motor that blows air into the tube

  • A mask or other device for nose and mouth

  • A connecting tube between mask and machine's motor

  • A humidifier (optional)

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