Are you satisfied with the results of your CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine? Not only has this technology benefited countless sleep apnea sufferers, but recent advancements have provided an impressive number of customization options.
One common feature involves the use of heated tubing.
Why are heated tubes a good idea for CPAP? Are there any specific benefits associated with warm tubes as opposed to standard (room temperature) tubing? Are there any possible downsides to consider?
Answering these questions will help you make an informed choice for your CPAP therapy.
How do Heated Tubes Function?
Heated tubes are designed in a rather simple manner. They consist of a plug that connects to an electrical supply and a coil that transmits the heat to the length of the tube. In many cases, the tubing can be plugged directly into your CPAP machine (although this may vary between makes and models).
Why do Some People Prefer Heated Tubing?
The body’s respiratory system is very delicate. Therefore, everyone has different requirements in alleviating the symptoms of sleep apnea. While some people are perfectly comfortable with a standard air supply at ambient room temperatures, others need another option.
The main purpose behind a heated air supply is to provide you with the most comfortable means to get the oxygen that your body requires.
Furthermore, warm air is able to transfer more humidity between the machine and the user. This is obviously important to avoid issues such as coughing or a dry throat.
Another advantage of heated tubing involves the mechanics of the CPAP machine itself. One of the most common issues associated with built-in humidifiers involves condensation in the tube and the mouthpiece.
The condensation can be even more noticeable if the temperature of your bedroom is different from the temperature of the air within the CPAP. Excessive levels of condensation are sometimes referred to by the term "rainout".
Heating a tube will help ensure that there is very little condensation in it, which could even drip into your facemask.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Heated Tube
One important factor involves the tube’s compatibility with your CPAP machine. Many brands require tubes that have been engineered to fit a specific product.
There may also be times when certain CPAPs are unable to work with a heated tube. For instance, some portable models such as the ÄirMini Travel manufactured by ResMed do not offer heating as an option.
This is why it is important to perform a bit of research in order to determine whether your CPAP supports the use of a heated tube.
There are some potential pitfalls:
- Some heated tubes can be rather expensive (up to four times as costly when compared to standard tubing).
- Heated tubing weighs more than standard tubing, a possible problem for those who toss and turn at night.
- Heated tubes are not as flexible as standard tubing. This rigidity may lead to a certain amount of discomfort.
- As mentioned previously, there may be incompatibility with your CPAP.
Having said this, the advantages could very well outweigh the pitfalls briefly mentioned above.
Heating Tubing May be a Wise Choice
The ultimate goal of any CPAP machine is to provide the user with comfort during the night so that you can get sufficient restorative sleep. Heated tubing has therefore become an extremely popular option. While it might not be suitable for everyone, this alternative is certainly worth a closer look.
It is therefore a good idea to speak with your doctor or sleep apnea specialist. He or she will be able to provide you with additional advice. This is also an excellent strategy if you hope to learn more about the CPAP options at your disposal. Turning up the heat might be just what you have been looking for!