• By Clay Rollyson
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It has been a while since we have had the pleasure of demonstrating a new Travel CPAP, so we are excited. The Transcend Micro has all the features that you need from a Travel CPAP in an incredibly small package. This Travel CPAP will literally fit in the palm of your hand. It is just 0.5 lbs and is less than 4 inches wide and tall. This makes it about the size and shape of a baseball. Let’s take a deeper dive on this great new Travel CPAP.

Transcend Micro Features

This new Travel CPAP isn’t just super small. It incorporates all of the comfort features that the other options have. That list starts with the comfortable and effective Auto CPAP algorithm. The auto algorithm adjusts to meet your needs in a very comfortable fashion. The Micro is compatible with any CPAP mask which is another great pro. Additionally, the AirRelief setting which is similar to EPR on ResMed or Flex on a Respironics CPAP. This makes exhalation just a bit easier. Another great feature is the  GentleRise ramp feature. This allows you to fall asleep with lower pressure while it gently climbs to your therapy setting. The Transcend Micro also has Bluetooth connectivity that will connect to your smartphone via the MySleepDash app.

Transcend Micro Pros and Cons:

The Transcend Micro is a great Travel CPAP option. It is small, lightweight and very easy to pack away for your next trip. Your tubing will take up more space than your CPAP. It has some limitation like any other. So, let’s break down the details.

Transcend Micro Pros:

  • Incredibly Small- At the time of this writing the Transcend Micro is the smallest Travel CPAP Available. It is about the size and shape of a baseball.
  • Very Simple– There are 4 buttons on the Transcend Micro, and more than likely you will only use one. No complicated screens or menus to deal with.
  • Bluetooth connectivity– The Micro has blueooth built in that will connect your data to your smartphone. A great feature for those looking to track results.
  • Universal Mask Connection– You can use any CPAP mask on the market on the Micro. No need to make wholesale changes for your new Travel CPAP. Just hook it up to your current mask.

Transcend Micro Cons:

  • No Heated Humidification– Similar to other Travel CPAPs, the Transcend Micro does not have a heated humidifier. Instead, it can only be used with an HME (Heat Moisture Exchanger) for humidification.
  • A little louder than other options– It is a little louder than some of other Travel CPAP options, but not by much. Additionally, it has the whispersoft muffler which helps to further reduce noise.
  • Specific Tubing– The Micro Travel CPAP must be used with the Specific AirFlex Micro tubing. It has a very unique connection that only works with the tubing that come with it. Luckily, the mask side of the tubing is universal.
  • External DC converter– I know that you can’t have your cake and eat it too…..but. The Micros DC converter cord does add some extra size. Additionally, on the Transcend 3 Travel CPAP the converter had built-in adapters for worldwide travel. The micro has only the general AC adapter included.

Setting up your Transcend Micro Travel CPAP

Setup of the Transcend Micro is super simple and very similar to other CPAPs. The unit should come preset to your specific prescription by your CPAP supplier. Follow the Steps below for proper setup:
  1. Connect your power by inserting the rounded plug into the round hole on the bottom of your Transcend Micro.
  2. Insert your AirFlex tubing to the front of the Micro CPAP by lining up the arrows, inserting and twisting right to lock into place.
  3. Add on your CPAP mask to the universal 22mm connection at the other end of your AirFlex tubing.

What is the Drying Mode on the Transcend Micro?

The Drying mode on the Transcend micro has nothing to do with the CPAP itself. It is built to dry out your mask and tubing after you use it. All that needs to be done is to press the Dry Mode button on the far right of the Micro after you turn it off in the morning. It will run through a 30-minute cycle that will push dry air through your tubing and mask to ensure that it is all dried and ready for your next use.

Transcend Micro Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning the Machine:

The Cleaning instructions in the Manual are kinda funny to me. It gives you specific soap to water ounces quantities, specific cloth recommendations, and wiping techniques. I think that it is a bit simpler than that. Wipe it down every now and then with a damp cloth. Don’t use chemicals or submerge it. Pretty easy.

Micro Filter:

The filter is located on the right side of the Micro if your tubing connection is the front. There is a little grated filter cap that you pull off to expose the filter. Pull out the filter once per week, rinse it out, dry it and put it back in. Put the filter cap back on and you are done. The Transcend Micro filter should be replaced about every 6 months.

Tubing and Mask:

Similar to all others your mask and tubing should be cleaned at least once per week. A warm soapy water mix. Submerge and scrub. Then air dry and reconnect.

Top Accessories for Transcend Micro CPAP

The Transcend Micro Travel CPAP has a few additional accessories available. The first would be the PowerAway P8 battery. This battery should run the Micro for 2-3 nights between charges. Another great accessory is the Whispersoft Muffler. This helps to reduce the sound of the air moving through the tubing. The last accessory is the Transcend AirMist HME. This allows you to keep your airways humidified without having to use a heated humidifier.

 
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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It always reeks of a “sales pitch” when a company tells you that you need to buy more of what they sell. So, in this blog I am going to do my best to keep the sales part down and the information part up. The fact of the matter is that you MUST change parts on your CPAP from time to time to avoid significant issues. Most of the issues caused by procrastinating on this maintenance are slow creeping issues. You may not even notice that they are becoming issues until you have a big issue. There are 3 things in my opinion that must be changed out regularly. Mask Seal, CPAP filter and CPAP tubing. Let’s dive deeper on each below.

When to change out your CPAP Mask seal:

The mask seal is probably the most critical component of your CPAPs functionality. If you have a bad seal, you will have bad therapy. This is for a lot of reasons but is especially serious when you are on an Auto CPAP. Which MANY CPAP users are these days. That is because when the mask doesn’t seal the CPAP tries to make up for the leak by increasing airflow. Which almost always creates a worse leak. This snowballs until you call your provider and tell them that the CPAP isn’t working. To avoid this issue changing out the mask seal before it goes bad is the best bet. So how do you know when?

1) Are you tightening your CPAP Mask headgear more?

The first sign of a CPAP Mask seal going bad is the tightening of the headgear. For over a month your mask has sealed really well, and now you are having to tighten the headgear a bit more every other night. This is almost certainly because the seal is beginning to wear out. When the silicone on the mask seal starts to deteriorate, it gets flimsy and starts to leak. To account for this leak, you pull the straps tighter on the mask. It solves the issue for tonight, but just returns in the nights to come. Eventually, you cause yourself abrasion issues on the high-pressure points and have to go a few nights without CPAP while the bridge of your nose heals. All of this would have been avoided if you had just changed out that seal when you noticed the first sign of leaking.

2) Are your Therapy reports getting worse?

Almost all CPAP machines have an app or an ability to report your CPAP therapy statistics. To learn more about those reports visit our therapy report blog here. Most of those reports will give you a “leak” rating. You will notice that rating stays pretty steady when you are doing well on your CPAP. Then, just like the headgear issue, it begins to slide. You will notice that the leak LPM may go up gradually or that your Mask Seal score is going down. This is your opportunity to avoid the critical failure and get a new mask seal.

3) Having trouble sleeping in your normal position?

When you first started with your new favorite mask you were sleeping so well in that favorite position. Now, you get there and wake up to your spouse poking you because your mask is whistling. You have to ask yourself, “what has changed?”. It is almost always the seal. Therapy pressures typically stay pretty similar once you get settled in on your CPAP. So, while you might think it is the CPAP changing and causing the issue, it is most likely not.

4) Is your CPAP Pressure getting too high?

This is probably the most difficult issue we face when CPAP users procrastinate on changing out the seal. A TON of CPAP users are on Auto CPAP. Click here to learn what “Auto CPAP” is. When you are on Auto CPAP the CPAP will adjust the pressure to account for your apnea. It will also attempt to account for leaks in the same way. This means that when your mask seal goes bad, the CPAP may increase pressure to account for the leak. This in turn makes the leak worse and worse. The worst part about this issue is that even after you resolve the leak by changing out the seal, you still may have a few nights before the pressure comes back down on the Auto-CPAP.

When to change out your CPAP filter:

This is by far the simplest and cheapest thing that you have to maintain on your CPAP. Failing to maintain the filter is also the number one reason why CPAPs fail. There is no reason not to change out your CPAP filter at least once per month. They are a couple dollars at most and take 2 seconds to change out. I recommend checking them weekly to look for discoloration and to change them as soon as you see any dust or dirt. For people with pets this is especially important. You do not even realize how much pet dander is in the air, and that CPAP filter is catching it all.

What happens when you don’t change the CPAP filter?

If you leave a dirty filter in the CPAP, it will get worse and worse until the CPAP cannot even pull enough air to maintain your proper pressure. Time and time again we have customers come in saying that the CPAP isn’t blowing enough anymore. We open the filter door and call the hazmat team to remove the black filter inside. Then the CPAP is working again. Not only can the dirty filter cause therapy issues, but it will eventually destroy the CPAP motor. Like any motor, the CPAP motor works well when it is able to move freely. When it is strained it causes issues. You will usually notice some groaning coming from the CPAP at first, then it gets louder. At this point the CPAP is shot and will need to be repaired or replaced. Check out our CPAP repair blog for more details on that. 

When to change out your CPAP Tubing?

This is another part that is pretty inexpensive to change out. As long as you are using regular CPAP tubing. If you are on heated tubing it can be more expensive. If you aren’t sure that you should be on heated tubing, check out our blog discussing that topic here. My sole recommendation on the CPAP tubing is to have an extra one on hand. It simply cannot hurt to have an extra. The signs of needing to change out the tubing in advance of it failing are pretty simple:

Signs of it being time to change the tubing:

  • Mask will not stay attached
  • Breaks or tears in the tubing
  • Stretched plastic at the connection point
  • Tubing is pulling lose from the CPAP
  • Heated tube is no longer humidifying me
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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Adjustment of your humidifier setting on your AirSense 11 CPAP is super simple. It can even be set to an “auto” mode where the AirSense 11 will adjust. With that being said you should know how it works and what options you have on your AirSense 11.

Manual Adjustment of the AirSense 11 Humidifier

Let’s start off with the manual adjustment option. With this option you simply adjust the setting up or down to account for your comfort. If you are dry when you wake up, then you need to increase the setting. If you wake up with excess condensation or water in your tube, then you should adjust it down. Usually adjusting it in increments of 1 per night is the best bet. Drastic adjustments make it hard to determine what your best setting is. If you are using heated tubing skip to the next section below. Now let’s walk through how to adjust the standard AirSense 11 humidifier settings in detail.

Step by Step Instructions:

   

  1. Access the Patient Level Menu by pressing “My Options” on the main screen. If you do not see that option press the little house icon in the top left to navigate back to your home screen.
  2. The second setting down should be “Humidity Level”. Press that option to access the settings levels.
  3. Now you will see the settings options. From “off” to the highest setting of 8. Select your desired setting. Remember to adjust in small increments.
  4. Press Ok to confirm the settings change. Then press the house icon to navigate back to your main home screen.

Using a heated tube on the AirSense 11 CPAP for humidity

When you add the AirSense 11 heated tube into the mix you add in a really cool feature… complete automation. When you first plug on your ClimateLineAir heated tube the settings will configure to “Auto” for climate control and for tube temp. In this setting the AirSense 11 will adjust itself to maximize humidity without causing excess condensation. It does this by monitoring your rooms temperature and humidity levels. I recommend everyone start in this setting. If it works, then you are good to go. If not, you can use the instructions below to adjust the humidity setting manually.

Manual humidifier adjustment with heated tube:

     

  1. Access the Patient Level Menu by pressing “My Options” on the main screen. If you do not see that option press the little house icon in the top left to navigate back to your home screen.
  2. Press the “Climate Control” setting to access that menu.
  3. Press “Manual” to change from Auto to manual humidifier setting. Then press the “OK” button.
  4. Next press the “Tube Temp” setting to change your temperature.
  5. Select the desired temperature and press “OK” to confirm. Tube temperature should be adjusted up as needed to account for excess condensation in tubing or mask.
  6. Next press “Humidity Setting” to access the humidity settings.
  7. Then press the setting you desire, then “OK”, then Home Icon. Remember to adjust a little at a time. Increase setting to add humidity and reduce to reduce humidity.

 
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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For decades when you hear someone in the CPAP world speaking about a Nasal CPAP mask you think of a clown nose style mask. It surrounds the nose and seals over top of the bridge of the nose. That is a classic nasal mask. Then there was the Nasal Pillow style. This style had small nasal buds that rested on the nostrils to create a seal. Now there is a hybrid style that cradles under the nose. The Cradle-Style CPAP masks give you the ability to seal under the nose like the pillow style while still giving you a similar experience as the traditional nasal style.

What is a Nasal Cradle Style CPAP Mask?

These masks have been around for a few years now and were pioneered by Philips. However, now there are options from all of the other manufacturers that work really well. Each of them has their own pros and cons though. Philips has the DreamWear Nasal Cradle mask. ResMed has the N30i as well as the N30 cradle style. Then you have Fisher and Paykel who has the Evora. All of these masks seal under the nose in a “cradle-style”, but they all have significant differences. Let’s take a deeper dive on each.

DreamWear Nasal Cradle CPAP Mask

The DreamWear was the first CPAP Mask of this style to really catch on. A big reason why is because it worked very well. It has an over the top of the head tube connection which was also game changing for many CPAP users. The frame of the DreamWear Nasal has a ton of flexibility, because it also fits the DreamWear Full and DreamWear Pillows. This mask cushion is available in Small, Medium, Large and Wide. The DreamWear frame is available in Small, Medium, and Large, and the headgear is a standard size. That gives this mask a ton of flexibility. Let’s run through the detailed pros and cons of the DreamWear Nasal.

DreamWear Nasal Cradle Pros:

  • Top of the head tube connection– This feature allows CPAP users to move side to side without dragging a tube across their body. Great for side sleepers.
  • Easy quick connect– Allows you to snap your tubing on and off very easily when you need to get up in the middle of the night.
  • Soft silicone cushions– The cushion that seal under your nose is very soft and silky. This helps to prevent skin contact issues that cause abrasion or discomfort.
  • Headgear Arms– The headgear arms that are now standard on this mask allow the headgear strap to ride lower on the back of the head. Reducing the chance of the strap slipping up the back of the head and breaking seal.

DreamWear Nasal Cradle Cons:

  • Exhalation draft– The port on the front of the cradle allowing you to exhale can be a bit drafty and noisy.
  • Tubing on sides of face– The frame of this mask is what carries the air down to your nose from the top. For some users this tubing is a little too thick and can be uncomfortable. There are soft covers that come with the mask to help with this. Additionally, if the side tube is pinched off some users have reported that they can hear it a bit.
  • Side of nose leaks– The cradle on the DreamWear Nasal is flatter than some of the other option. This can cause leaks up the side of the nose.

N30 Nasal Cradle Mask

The N30 from ResMed is a really cool cradle option. It takes many popular features from the P10 Nasal Pillow and adds in the positives of a cradle mask. The N30 also features the same headgear as the P10 which is really thin and stretchy. It has a front of the mask tube connection which gives the mask a more traditional fit. The cushion size is available in Small, Medium, and Small-Wide. The Adjustable headgear fits most heads very well. Let’s look at the detailed pros and cons of the N30.

N30 Pros:

  • Stretchy headgear is really comfortable– The headgear on the N30 is very thin and stretchy. This makes it very easy to take it on and off plus gives a comfortable fit.
  • Deep cradle provides an effective seal– Side wings of the cushion allow the N30 to seal very well. Especially for users that have had issues with other cradles leaking to the sides of the nose.
  • Quiet and diffused exhalation– There is little to no exhalation draft at all. That means you and your bed partner won’t hear or feel the exhalation.
  • Easy cushion removal– No clips or tricks. The cushion slips on and off the frame easily and will only go on one way. Very simple.

N30 Cons:

  • Headgear is tough to take on and off the frame– When it is time for maintenance on the N30 you should take the headgear off the frame. The way that it attaches makes it really difficult. Plus, it is easy to put it on backwards.
  • Headgear can wear out quickly– The stretchiness of the headgear provides a very comfortable fit. However, when it loses its stretch that pro becomes a bit of a con. Replacement headgear can be purchased separately but will need to be replaced more often than others.
  • No quick-connect for tubing– You do not have the option of disconnecting the tubing and leaving the mask on. This mask is so easy to fit that this may not be an issue, but this is a feature that most others have.

Evora Nasal Cradle CPAP Mask

This is a great new mask from Fisher and Paykel. Fisher always does a great job on masks. They make some of our absolute favorites. The Evora has a traditional front of the face tube connection but has a really unique headgear and fit. The “ball-cap” style fit allows you to slip the mask on and off like a hat. The cushion size is available in Small, Medium, Wide and Large. The headgear is standard, but very adjustable. Let’s dive on the high and low points.

Evora Pros:

  • Headgear is very unique– The “ball-cap” style headgear is very unique. Once you have it sized it slips on and off like a baseball hat. It is also very long-lasting.
  • Effective fit– The stability of this mask is top notch in the cradle-mask category. The headgear, frame and the cushion all have great features that keep it stable on the face.
  • Soft stretchy silicone cushions– The cushion on the Evora is very soft and stretchy. This allows it to use the pressure of the air from your CPAP to help seal. This gives a good seal without having to over-tighten the straps.
  • Quick connecting frame– The headgear and frame pop lose from the cushion very easily. This makes maintenance very simple.

Evora Cons:

  • Frame/Headgear has some hard plastic– For some users the plastic in the headgear and frame can be uncomfortable. Especially if you overtighten the Evora.
  • Cushion can be tricky to remove– The cushion clips in very well. So, while it certainly doesn’t ever fall off, it is kinda tough to get on and off the frame when it is time to replace or clean it.
  • Presses on upper lip for some– We have heard from a few users that the Evora may can cause discomfort on the upper lip. Usually, just a fitting issue, but for some it was a deal-breaker.

N30i Nasal Cradle Mask

The N30i by ResMed is a similar mask to the DreamWear Nasal mask. It features a top of the head tube connection which is great for a lot of side sleepers and heavy movers. The cushion was recently upgraded to provide a softer fit under the nose and a quieter exhalation. The cushion is available in Small, Medium, Small-Wide and Wide. The Frame on the N30i is available in Small and Standard, and the headgear is standard as well. Let’s look at the details of those features.

N30i Pros:

  • Very quiet– The diffused exhalation on the front of the N30i is extremely quiet. It also produces very little draft on exhalation.
  • Stretchy frame– The frame on the N30i allows for a lot more freedom of movement without pulling the cushion loose.
  • Great tube quick-connect– There is a quick connect on the top of the frame where the CPAP tube connects. It detaches and reattaches very easily. Allowing you to keep the mask on while up at night and quick connect back to your tube when you get back to bed.
  • Soft Cushion– The newest version of the N30i cushion does not have any hard plastic that may poke your face. It is very soft and flexible.

N30i Cons:

  • Exhalation feels tough at higher pressures– We have had some feedback from users to indicate that the new diffuser can make exhalation a bit more difficult at higher pressures.
  • Air tube frame can be weird– Much like the DreamWear, the N30i uses the frame to bring the pressure from top of the head to your nose. Some users have reported noticing a reduction in air-flow when they pinch off one side of the tubing while laying on their sides.
  • Slips up on the head sometimes– The strap that holds the N30i stable goes around the back of the head. For people with long hair the headgear sometimes wants to slip up the head and allow the mask to come lose.
   
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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For many CPAP users the SoClean Automatic CPAP cleaner has been a great option for keeping up with their CPAP maintenance. Then when they receive a new CPAP, the hookups are not the same. For many CPAPs there are specific SoClean adapters that make the connection simple and effective. With that being said there isn’t an adapter for many of the new CPAP models. In those cases, there is an easy resolution.

Universal SoClean to CPAP Connection:

SoClean makes an adapter that has a standard 22mm connection. This allows you to plug it on virtually ANY CPAP on the market. This adapter fits on to the outlet of the CPAP and your tubing plugs on to the other side of the adapter. This universal SoClean adapter comes with a small injection tube that may need to be trimmed or removed for installation. Then you simply plug the long injection tube from the back of the SoClean on to the adapter nipple. This creates the full integration necessary to run your SoClean on any CPAP model. It is important to remember that this adapter does not work with heated tubing. You will need to use standard CPAP tubing on this setup. Check out the step by steps direction below:

1) Disconnect your CPAP tubing from the Air Outlet of the CPAP Machine.

2) Determine how long you want your interior injection tube and cut it. You may also remove it completely if needed.

3) Attach the adapter to the Air Outlet of the CPAP and reattach CPAP tubing to the other side of the adapter.

4) Connect the long injection tube from the back of the SoClean to the adapter nipple.

Click here for the Universal SoClean to CPAP Adapter

 
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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If you are a truck driver or anyone having to report CPAP usage to the DOT for your Medical Card Renewal, then this is a must read. We have a ton of experience with truck drivers, pilots, train engineers, boat pilots and more. From that experience we have learned a lot that we can now pass along to you.

What will you need to report from the CPAP?

For almost all truck drivers that have had to start CPAP Therapy you will need to provide compliance reporting to your DOT doctor every time you renew your medical card. It basically will be a report that your CPAP creates to show how much you are using the CPAP. There is no way to cheat this, so it is important to understand what compliance is. We have a GREAT blog on CPAP compliance and a video going over those details if you want more on that subject. The biggest concern in your CPAP selection will be how does your CPAP produce this report for you.

 

How do you get a Compliance Report from your CPAP?

This may be the single most important topic for a truck driver to consider on the selection of your CPAP. Over the years we have dealt with so many truck drivers needing compliance reports that we have seen every scenario. It can be very easy to get the compliance report from your new CPAP or it can be almost impossible, and all of that will depend on the model you chose. Let’s break those options down.

CPAP connection options:

Almost all CPAPs have some sort of recording option built into them. So, while almost all of them record your usage they do not report them in the same way. There are basically 4 ways to get the data from your CPAP. Once you understand the options below, I would recommend reading our top Auto CPAP picks blog here. This will explain which models have these features.

1)  Manual CPAP upload by cord to computer:

There are very few models left that will upload in this fashion. However, they do exist, and you should be sure that you understand if your CPAP is one of them. For these models you would have to take the entire CPAP to a Sleep doctor or CPAP supplier. Then you would have to hope that they have the kindness AND ability to provide you with a report from the device. Most of the CPAPs that operate in this way are Travel CPAPs. This type is not a good option for truck drivers.

2) Manual CPAP upload via SD card to computer program:

This type of upload is not a great option, but it isn’t impossible. If you have a CPAP that requires upload by SD card you will have a SD card in the CPAP that stores your CPAP usage data. That SD card can be uploaded at your doctor’s office, your CPAP providers office, or in some cases you can do it on your own at home via your home computer. Some models that allow you to do it on your own would be the iBreeze or Luna 2 CPAPs. They are good options but will require a computer with internet connection and SD card reader. If you are not good with computers, then this option is not a good one for you.

3) Bluetooth CPAP upload to cloud software:

Some CPAP options have built in Bluetooth connection that you can link to an app on your phone. You will need some basic understanding of operating your smartphone to use this option. Additionally, you will need to make sure that you maintain that connection on a regular basis. As long as you have a good CPAP supplier (like us here at CPAPmyway) you should not have any issue calling them up to get the report when you need it on this type of CPAP. It will upload your data to the cloud from your smartphone and your supplier should be able to see it and to provide you the reports you need. These types of CPAPs are good for users that do not have good or consistent cellular connections.

4) Cellular CPAP upload to cloud software:

This is by far the easiest option for obtaining a CPAP usage report. As long as you have purchased it from a good CPAP supplier. On these models the CPAP automatically connects itself to the cellular network and uploads the data for you. This means that you do not have to do anything other than call your provider for the report when you need it. Some nice CPAP models that include the Cell modems are the AirSense 11 CPAP and the DreamStation 2 CPAP. Both will upload the data automatically and allow your CPAP supplier to pull your reports.
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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Minimal Contact Full Face CPAP masks are a great new category in the CPAP mask world. They give you the abilities of a traditional full face CPAP mask with much less on your face. They accomplish this by sealing at the bottom of the nose versus over the bridge of the nose. This gives you a clear line of sight even while the mask is on. You can wear glasses to read or watch TV even while wearing your CPAP mask.

How well do Minimal Contact Full Face CPAP masks work?

The Amara View was the first modern style mask in the minimal contact category. When this one was launched, I was ultra-skeptical. I had never seen a mask seal in this way and could not see it happening effectively. I was surprised to find that not only did it seal, but it sealed well. In fact, the minimal contact style seals better than the traditional style in a lot of cases. This is because for many CPAP users the bridge of the nose area is a very difficult place to seal. The design allows for the mask to seal under and around the tip of the nose. Which completely eliminates the need to seal at the bridge of the nose what-so-ever.

Which Minimal Contact CPAP mask is best?

There are quite a few options on the market these days. All of the major manufacturers now have a minimal contact option. Philips Respironics offers the DreamWear Full and the Amara View. ResMed offers the AirFit F30 and the AirFit F30i. And now Fisher and Paykel offer the Evora Full Face. All of these masks have major pros and cons, so which one is best. Let’s take a deep dive on those 5 models.

Amara View from Respironics

The Amara View is the original minimal contact full face. It has been around for quite a while and has been a very popular and effective option for a ton of CPAP users. It seals under the nose and over the mouth. It features a tacky silicone seal that generally does a good job of sealing against the skin. The seal is available in Small, Medium and Large, and all sizes wil fit the same frame. It is even available as a fitpack offering all sizes in one bag. This tacker silicone can also be a bit abrasive if over-tightened. The magnetic headgear clips make taking the mask on and off very easy.

Amara View Pros:

  • Tackier silicone– The silicone has a nice sticky factor to it. This allows the mask to seal well against the skin. You must keep the seal clean to keep this working well.
  • Stretch tube– The Amara View connects to your CPAP tube with a small connector tube. It stretches and rotates extremely well. Giving the CPAP user ability to move in bed with much less tube drag.
  • Great magnetic clips– The headgear clips are magnetic and hold the mask firmly in place. This allows you to connect the mask and disconnect with ease. This is important because of the way that this type of mask fits.

Amara View Cons:

  • Side of nose leak– The Amara view generally works, or it does not. There is not much middle ground. The majority of time where the Amara View fails it is due to leaks up the side of the nose. You can try to size down on the cushion to compensate for this leak, but if that doesn’t work, move on.
  • Can hurt the tip of the nose- The way that this mask seals puts a bit of pressure on the tip of the nose in some cases. This usually goes away after a few days, much like the pain from a new pair of glasses on nose or ears.
  • Not great for short noses– If you have a small button-nose you may be a great model, but you will also have trouble with the Amara View. The way it seals makes sealing on small noses pretty difficult.
  • Exhalation draft– The exhalation ports on this mask are very projected and can be felt by the bed partner. This is genuine firsthand experience sleeping next to my wife.

AirFit F30 by ResMed

The F30 was ResMed’s first minimal contact full face mask. They do have the Liberty hybrid mask that features nasal pillows, so they had some experience with an oral cushion design. As always ResMed makes a quality product and the F30 is no exception. It has a much more pronounced seal to the side of the nose. Referred to as “wings” in many cases. This attempts to create a better side of nose seal, however it does make for a larger seal. It comes in small and medium sizes. Both size cushions will fit the same frame so you can try different size cushions without buying an entirely new mask.

F30 Pros:

  • Great side of nose seal– The wings on the sides of the seal help to reduce the potential for leak at the side of the nose. There are times where that can pinch the nose if sized too small.
  • Quiet exhalation– The exhalation ports on the AirFit F30 make the exhalation very quiet and do not disturb the bed partner.
  • Nice Magnet headgear clips– The F30 also has great and secure magnetic clips. This makes it easy to fit nightly.

F30 Cons:

  • Can leak at tip on nose– While the side wings on the F30 help to reduce leaks at the side of the nose it does sacrifice some security at the tip of the nose. This can cause issues with leaks there.
  • No Large size– The Small and Medium do fit “most” CPAP users. However, we have seen many cases where a Large would have been a great option for larger noses.
  • Not very low profile– The connector elbow and cushions design make the F30 stick out from the face quite a bit. This can be tougher for side and belly sleepers, because of the way the mask hits against the pillow.

Evora by Fisher and Paykel

The Evora is the latest addition to this CPAP mask category. As with everything Fisher and Paykel do, the Evora was done over a long period of time and evaluation. This means it is well thought out and designed. It has a lot of the positives of other masks from their competitors with some great additional features. It comes in Extra Small, Small/Medium, and Large sizing. As with the previous models all size cushions fit the same frame, and the Evora can be purchased as a fitpack including all sizes.

Evora Pros:

  • High end headgear– The headgear on the Evora is top notch. It has high-end Velcro and specially designed breathable headgear. This makes it secure, long lasting, and really comfortable.
  • Low Profile– The connection on the front of the Evora comes from the bottom of the mask. This allows for a more “low-profile” front which is good for side-sleepers.
  • Directed exhalation– The exhalation ports on the front are divided to both sides of the mask and diffused downward. This helps to reduce noise and exhalation draft for the bed partner.

Evora Cons:

  • Not the best tube connection– The front tube does not rotate all that well. Not that it needs to swivel much, but if you move a lot in bed this can be a sticking point.
  • No magnets for headgear– The magnets on the competitors make them easier to take on and off. I have heard that F&P avoids magnets because of potential interference with pacemakers in users. Even if that is the case the clips are harder to work than magnets in competitors.
  • Cushion can be tough to remove– It takes a good bit of effort to get the cushion in and out when it is time to replace. Especially when it is brand new.

AirFit F30i by ResMed

The name may be similar to the F30 but the F30 and F30i are very different. For starters the F30i has an over-the-head tube connection as opposed to connecting on the front. It is available in Small, Medium, Wide and Small/Wide cushions. It has Small, Standard and Large frames. This gives it a broad fit percentage for CPAP users. The stretch design of the F30i frame allows for good movement for side and belly sleepers.

F30i Pros:

  • Top of the head tube connections– The connection of the tube at the top of the head allows for a lot more freedom of movement.
  • Diffused exhalation– The F3oi has a well diffused exhalation that keeps the mask very quiet and saves the bed partner from exhalation draft.
  • Stretchy frame– The frame allows for a good bit of stretch towatds the top of the head. This gives you a little more give and reduces the chance of cushion shifting on the nose.

F30i Cons:

  • Stretchy frame can pull hair– We have had a handful of customers reporting that the frame on the F30i can pull your hair a bit causing discomfort.
  • Can shift under nose– Because the frame is flexible and stretchy there are times where the cushion under the nose can shift, causing leaks.
  • Membrane in nasal seal can be a little weird– In the center of the nasal portion of the cushion there is a little bridge. This keeps the cushion more stable, but when it is a little off it makes exhalation a little strange.

 

DreamWear Full by Philips Respironics

The DreamWear has been a very popular mask, because it was the first to use the frame as the tubing to deliver the air down the sides of the face. Allowing the tube to connect at the top of the head with nothing in line-of-sight. This made the DreamWear extremely popular right off the bat. It is available in Small, Medium, Large and Wide, and has the fitpack option available. The frame of the DreamWear also allows you to connect the DreamWear Nasal, and DreamWear Nasal Pillow version of the mask. Making it a very versatile mask option.

DreamWear Full Pros:

  • Versatility- The DreamWear Full frame can also attach to the DreamWear Nasal Cushion of the DreamWear Silicone pillow cushion. This means that one frame can become 3 different masks. Great for CPAP users that switch between nasal and full frequently.
  • Good sizing options– The sizes on the DreamWar full do a great job of covering the bases. Most of which is determined by the size of your nose.
  • Dual exhalation ports– This is one of the only masks where you can sleep completely face down. If you cover the front exhalation the top exhalation port works perfectly.

DreamWear Full Cons:

  • Silky silicone– The silicone on the DreamWear is very soft and flexible which is great for comfort, but really affects the sealing. As opposed to the Amara view that has the tackier silicone.
  • Tubing quick connect can cause issues– The quick connect on the DreamWear is notorious for being left in the end of your CPAP tubing. It sits flush so it is hard to see. Customers throw it away with their tubing on accident frequently.
  • Exhalation can be a little much– The exhalation on the DreamWear is not diffused as well as some of the others. Giving slightly more sound and exhalation draft.
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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If you have ever wondered about your Oxygen Levels or Pulse during your workout or while you sleep, then you need to check out the O2 Ring. The O2 Ring records these statistics and puts them in a really simple report. This allows you to see what is happening with your cardio system during a workout or even while you sleep.

How Does the O2 Ring work?

Using the O2 Ring is very simple. Start by charging your device. Once you have the device fully charged, just slip it on your finger. The O2 Ring will turn on automatically and begin showing you your stats on the screen. It will additionally record those stats. Once your recording session is complete, you can link it up to the ViHealth App and sync the data from the O2 ring to your SmartPhone via Bluetooth. Once the data has synced it will show you the statistics in a very simple graph and report in the app.

What does the O2 Ring report show?

The report is very simple and clear. It shows you a graph of Oxygen Levels, Pulse, and body movement on a clear timeline. This shows you how the statistics go up and down throughout the time that you wore the device. It also includes some really cool summary stats that I list below.
  • Overall Recording time– The duration that you wore the device.
  • <90% time- This is the amount of total time that your Blood Oxygen level was under 90%.
  • Drops over 4%– This is the number of times that your oxygen level dropped by more than 4%.
  • Drops per hour– Total number of times that your Oxygen Level dropped per hour.
  • Average SPO2– This is your average Oxygen Level throughout the duration of the recording.
  • Lowest SPO2– Lowest oxygen level throughout the recording.
  • Average PR– Average heart rate during the recording.
  • O2 Score- Overall score of how well you maintain your oxygen levels throughout the recording.

Good uses for the O2 Ring Oximeter

The O2 ring is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition. This means that it is just used to give you some good feedback on your Pulse and Oxygen Levels during a period of time. With that being said, there are some really cool things to use it for. One of my favorites is for workouts. I personally have used it a few times to see how well I maintain heart rate and oxygen levels during my workout. It provided some really great information. Others, like my dad, have used it to see how well they are doing when asleep. You can put the O2 Ring on before bed, then sync the data in the morning. In either use, you are able to see a really informative report on Heart Rate and Oxygen Levels.
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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Travel CPAP vs Home CPAP

For a lot of people starting on CPAP or those that are upgrading their primary CPAP machine, the thought of a small, lightweight travel CPAP may be a serious consideration. It is true that travel CPAPs are awesome for traveling, but could they work as your one and only CPAP machine? There are some significant things to keep in mind when making this decision.

Will a Travel CPAP last over time?

In most cases when you buy a specific “travel” version of almost anything, you expect less durability. That may or may not be the case with Travel CPAPs. As with anything, you will get what you pay for in most cases. Over the years we have had many customers attempt to use Travel CPAPs as their primary device. We have had some do this with great success while others were back in 6-12 months for failures and repairs. Overall, we have noticed that the higher end travel CPAPs hold up very well, while the lower-cost versions struggle to last under that much usage. So, while the answer seems far too simple, our experience has led us to that conclusion. The high-end models work well for daily use, while the lower cost versions typically struggle.

Would a Travel CPAP benefit me?

This may actually be the most important question in this article. Travel CPAPs may seem really cool, but would it even benefit you. All travel CPAPs will have their limitations (which we discuss below), and so you should really decide why you even want one. If you are a person that travels frequently, and struggles to get everything in the carry on already, then Travel CPAP may be a great idea. If you are buying one for the one vacation that you take every year, I am not sure that I would recommend a Travel CPAP at all. In short, no need to waste money on an expensive item that may not help you much at all. Especially when you consider the limitations of Travel CPAPs compared to Home CPAPs.

What are the downsides to Travel CPAPs?

There are some limitations you should consider about Travel CPAPs. While most Travel CPAPs will offer similar or exactly the same CPAP Therapy as a Home CPAP would, there are many features a Home CPAP provides that a Travel CPAP may not. Let’s check those out one by one for a better understanding.
  • Humidification Limitations:

    Almost all Travel CPAPs have either no heated humidifier option or at least a scaled back version. For instance. the AirMini Travel CPAP uses their own Humidx HMEs for humidification, while the DreamStation Go has the option of a generic HME (Heat Moisture Exchanger) or their optional Heated Humidifier. While the DreamStation Go has a heated humidifier the settings are very limited and so is the volume of water it holds. If you have a Home CPAP currently and want to know whether a HME will work for you, then I suggest you try the HME on your Home CPAP first. Just turn off the humidifier and empty the water chamber, then try out the HME to see how you feel with it. This will give you some great insight in to how an HME will work for you. You should also consider the climate that you will be using the CPAP in. If you are headed to the Amazon Rainforest you probably won’t have as much dryness concern as if you go to Arizona.
  • Compliance reporting:

    For a lot of CPAP users Compliance and Therapy reports are not just a useful feature, but a necessity. This may be due to insurance regulations or for job requirements. Not all Travel CPAPs offer good options for that. The Transcend 3 Travel CPAP requires you to send the device back to the company for a download on a computer. While the AirMini offers Bluetooth uploading which allows your CPAP provider to access that data remotely for reporting. The best Travel CPAP options for users needing reporting would be the DreamStation Go and the AirMini. For CPAP users that do not need this option, then a lower cost alternative like the Transcend 3 or the Z2 Travel CPAP may work great.
  • Mask options:

    For almost all of the Travel CPAP options that we carry you can use most major CPAP masks. As long as the CPAP mask has the standard 22mm connection, then you will be able to use it. However, for the AirMini Travel CPAP, you must use a ResMed AirMini mask. Other masks will not connect. Additionally, the DreamStation go comes with a specific Micro tube that has connections built for the “DreamWear” line of masks. However, you can use the DreamStation go universal mask adapter or simply use a generic CPAP tube to put any mask you would like on the tubing.
  • CPAP Tubing limitations:

    For most of the Travel CPAP options you can connect a standard CPAP tube. Some like the Z2 Travel CPAP require an adapter, while others like the Transcend 3 do not require any adapter. On the other hand, the AirMini travel CPAP will only use the specific AirMini tubing designed to connect only to that CPAP. Another large consideration on the tubing front is that NONE of the travel CPAP options offer a heated tube. If you cannot do without your heated tube on your Home CPAP, then make sure to keep that in mind.
  • Long term costs:

    The Travel CPAPs do have a few parts that are important to keep up with. Many of those are similar to the home options. You will have to keep up with your intake filter, tubing, as well as your HME potentially. All of these parts are slightly to significantly more expensive than the ones used with Home CPAPs. So, maintenance will more than likely cost more over time on a travel version.
  • Can be louder:

    There are two things that make Travel CPAPs a good bit louder than home CPAPs. First is that there is much less insulation inside the CPAP. They are saving size in any way they can, so the sound abatement insulation is reduced. The second factor is usually the HME. The HME will cause more noise as the air flows through it on inhalation and exhalation. In most cases the increase in count is not significant. For CPAP users that are more “sound-sensitive” a Travel CPAP may not be the best choice.

What are the upsides to Travel CPAPs?

While they do have limitations there are huge upsides to them. There are good reasons why manufacturers created Travel CPAPs and they can be big things to consider as you mull over the thought a Travel CPAP option. Let’s check those upsides out.
  • They are significantly smaller:

    In most cases the Travel CPAP version that you are considering is going to be 3-4 times smaller than the home version. The motors are smaller, there is no heated humidifier (in most cases), and there is less insulation. This allows them to be significantly smaller, and in turn makes packing for trips much easier.
  • Very lightweight:

    Like me, you are probably always right on that 50-pound limitation every time you put your baggage on the counter at the airport. With a travel CPAP you are looking at as much as a 3–4-pound reduction versus your home unit. We also have a ton of campers and backpackers that have to consider every pound that they carry. In cases like that a Travel CPAP is a great option.
  • Can be used on airplanes:

    There is obviously no extra room anywhere when you cram yourself into that airplane seat. With a Travel CPAP plus one of our travel battery options, you can sleep on the plane without snoring in front of 200 people. Plus, you will have a much smaller item to carry when you reach your destination.
  • No distilled water to carry around:

    Travel CPAPs typically use an HME or Heat Moisture Exchanger. These will recycle your own exhaled humidity and allow you to rebreathe it, instead of blowing it off. HME integrate into the tubing of the Travel CPAP, and they are very small. This means that you do not have to worry about packing water or finding when you reach your destination. To learn more about HMEs visit our blog on them here.
  • Simple operation:

    For better or for worse Travel CPAPs do not offer a bunch of bells and whistles in most cases. No big touchscreens with tons of options. For some it is a simple as an on and off button. While you do not have a bunch of visuals and buttons, there is a great deal of simplicity that Travel CPAPs offer.

Will a Travel CPAP work for Truck Drivers?

In short yes, but you need to be careful. If you are going to use one of the Travel CPAP options and will have to follow up with the DOT in the future, then your selection is very important. The only two units that I would currently recommend for a Truck Driver would be the AirMini Travel CPAP and the DreamStation Go. Both of them offer bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone app. You do have to maintain that connection in order for the data to transmit, but it can be transmitted. This will allow your CPAP provider like us here, to access that data and to prodcue the reports that you will need. For more information on Truck Drivers and Sleep Apnea check out our blog here. 
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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Foam CPAP Mask Seals

For as long as CPAP masks have existed silicone has been the standard. Now, there is another option. Memory Foam CPAP masks have become a very interesting alternative to the silicone options. There are pros and cons to the memory foam as well as to the silicone. So, let’s take a deep dive and see what the right option for you might be.

What are the Foam CPAP Mask Options?

ResMed has been the trend setter in the memory foam category. They have a full-face option as well as a Nasal option. The full-face mask is the AirTouch F20 from ResMed. The Nasal is the AirTouch N20. Both have the same sizing, frames, and accessories as their AirFit F20 and N20 counterparts, but the AirTouch versions use memory foam seals. Both of these masks have been around for a while now, and both are available in small, medium and large sizing.

How does the Memory Foam Mask Work?

There is very little difference between how the memory foam CPAP masks work compared to the silicone versions. They are fit with standard headgear and seal against your face. However, the foam is all that touches your face instead of silicone. You tighten the mask as needed with the headgear to account for leaks and to improve your fit. The foam provides a very reliable seal without the abrasion that silicone can sometimes cause.

What are the upsides to a Memory Foam CPAP Mask?

  • Very Comfortable– You really cannot beat the comfort level of the memory foam. When tested by CPAP users it is almost always rate as “more comfortable” than their current mask.
  • Great for people with silicone allergies– If using silicone causes skin issues or rashes, then a foam seal can make a huge difference. It would certainly be worth a try.
  • Really helps with those annoying lines on your face in the morning– The foam will give a more dispersed and soft seal against the face. This greatly reduces those impression lines that you have in the morning.
  • Reduces abrasion– Silicone is a bit tacky and can rub your skin to the point of breaking it down. Foam does not create this issue.
  • Seals extremely well– the foam contours extremely well to your features. This allows you to seal without having to over-tighten the mask.
  • Low maintenance– The foam is built to last 30 days with little to no maintenance at all. At most a simple wipe with a Mask Wipe is all that is needed.

What are the downsides to a Memory Foam CPAP Mask?

  • They do not last as long– You will not get nearly as long out of the foam seal versus the silicone seal. Many users will keep an extra seal around just in case the primary wears out.
  • When it is done, it is done– When the foam seals go bad, they do not work at all. Typically, the foam will tear lose from the silicone base of the seal, and the air will escape through the tear.
  • You can’t wash them– You cannot wash the foam seal at all. Exposing it to soap and water will deteriorate the seal almost immediately. The only cleaning option is the mask wipes for cleaning.
  • Foam sometimes separates from the seal frame– The foam is attached to the silicone base of the mask seal. When the seal wears out, this is where it typically separates. This makes the seal useless at that point.
  • Cost– They are not cheap, and they have to be replaced more often. So, you will not get off as cheaply as with silicone.
  • You cannot use ozone– Ozone will almost immediately destroy the memory foam. If you use a SoClean or Sleep8 CPAP cleaner, then you have to take the seal off of the mask before you put the rest of the supplies in for cleaning.

Sizing yourself for a Memory Foam CPAP Mask:

Sizing yourself for the AirTouch N20 or AirTouch F20 Memory Foam CPAP masks is very easy. We have links below to the sizing gauges. Then simply follow the steps below to find your right fit.

Fitting your Memory Foam Mask:

 

  1. Use the links above to print your sizing gauge.
  2. Cut out the sizing gauge, ensuring that it is to scale.
  3. Use the gauge in a mirror to see which size is best for your features.
  4. Place the order here for your AirTouch N20 or here for your AirTouch F20.

How to clean a Memory Foam CPAP mask:

You have to be careful when you clean a memory foam mask. You must first make sure that you remove the seal from the mask frame before you wash the rest of your supplies. The only method for cleaning your memory foam mask is a CPAP mask wipe. Even when you are using a mask wipe, then you need to be careful not to scrub harshly or pull at the foam. The foam cushion is built to maintain cleanliness without washing for up to 30 days.  
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