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SLEEP APNEA & COVID-19: Something We Have Never Seen Before

SLEEP APNEA & COVID-19: Something We Have Never Seen Before


SLEEP APNEA & COVID-19: Something We Have Never Seen Before


Imagine waking one day to realize there is a global pandemic of unseen before complications. A pandemic so dangerous and difficult to handle, that billions of people around the world have to remain at home just to stem the invisible enemy from spreading.


Welcome to 2020! Enjoy your stay... at home.


What we saw this year was something unprecedented in regards to sleep apnea machines and their joining the war against a brand new disease for which there is yet to be a vaccine. 


With the mass spread of COVID-19 and the worldwide shortage of supplies to handle it, we saw something few of us would ever predict to have happened: CPAPs being used as full fledged medical ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients with severe respiratory complications requiring assited breathing.


In a world of shortage of respirators and ventialtors, CPAP and BiPAP devices became a most valuable ventilation alternative for hospitals and home care settings alike. Resmed emergently produced CPAPs to donate to Californian and Chinese hospitrals, Tesla CEO Elon Musk donated several thousand of these devices to hospitals in LA and NYC, Chinese CPAP manufacturer BMC mass-utilized their machines to help the most affected zones of the pandemic.

Positive airway pressure machines became the alternative to respiratory care where full blown ventilators were unavailable. And they were unavailable almost everywhere, as COVID-19 swept one by one the largest populations across Europe, Asia, United States and virtaully every point of the globe (except for the South Pole, according to May data).   


Forbes reported that there are about 200,000 ventilators currently available and soon as many as 900,000 might be needed to treat patients with COVID-19. So far ventilator companies have been only able to manufacture about 10,000 ventilators a month.


And with shortage came the price surge

Ventilators in the US now cost over $50,000, as opposed to the $20,000 at the beginning of the pandemic, when the government first attempted to purchase them. Now states are head-to-head in competition, trying to obtain enough of the life-saving machines in preparation of a wave of new pateints. 


The American Food and Drigs Association (FDA) outlined the modification to be made by health care professionals and sleep apnea devices manufacturers as to how to trasnform CPAP and BiPAP units into COVID-19 ready ventilators.

New emergency studies tried to cacth up on the application of CPAP equipment as an aid in the global struggle against the new Coronavirus -- just like the ones trying to pinpoint the optimal way to implement oxygen therapy in the ordeal. 


How did CPAP Equipment Transform into Ventilators


Medical grade ventilators and CPAP devices share one common characteristic - they both provide ventilation upon detection of such respiratory need; especially BiPAP devices with ASV modes - they have proven to resemble the most a full fledged non-invasive ventilator device use in COVID-19 wards. 

Both CPAPs and ventilators have microchip-controlled air pressure generators (blowers), humidifiers, pressure sensors, and often saturation monitors. Having that in mind, it was a natural association between the two in regards to their natural capacity to provide the much needed ventilation where severe pneumonia was the case. The difference is that with CPAPs the patient does not have to be intubated to receive respiratory ventilation. 

However, it should not be forgotten that CPAPs were built to tackle sleep apnea and not COVID-19. No one at ResMed, for example, would have ever guessed that an AirCurve machine would be needed on the front of one of the most deadly pandemics since the bubonic plague or the Spanish flu.


Nevertheles, CPAP and BiPAP machines found their way into the battle against Sars-CoV-2 stepping up to aid patient with respiratory symptoms in need of oxygenated air. These machines were additionally modified to be safer and more potent in that capacity while entering a boosted manufacture phase, with brands of the caliber of ResMed and BMC chosen by governments to supply the demand.


What will follow in the COVID-19 "situation" and the widespread use of CPAPs and BiPAPs is to be seen. Until then we at SPECIALNEEDSEQUIPMENT urge you to stay safe and sleep well! A good night sleep can help you boost your immune system and reduce stress levels exacerbated by the current global crisis.

Stay subscribed for more news and information articles on sleep apnea! 



Grigor Angelov

Grigor strives to bring the topic of sleep apnea and oxygen therapy closer to the general public. If you are interested in sharing your personal story with us or have a topic you’d want to see developed at SPECIALNEEDSEQUIPMENT.EU do not hesite to contact us!

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