What is “Ramp” on CPAP Settings – How to Best use Ramp

  • By Clay Rollyson
  • /
  • /
For almost as long as CPAPs have existed “Ramp” has been a standard setting included with most CPAPs. But what does it do? In this blog we will help you understand what the Ramp feature does, when you should use it, when you shouldn’t use it, how to adjust it, and things you should keep in mind. So, let’s dive in.

What is the Ramp Setting on my CPAP?

Ramp is almost always a timed setting on your patient settings menu. That setting will be the amount of time it takes for your CPAP to increase from a “Starting Pressure” to your “Therapy Pressure”. Both the starting pressure and therapy pressure are usually located in the Clinical Setting menu of your CPAP. For instance, let’s look at a Starting Pressure of 6cm, a Therapy Pressure of 12cm with a ramp of 30 minutes. In this case when you start your CPAP, and your ramp is engaged you will begin with 6cm of pressure and the CPAP will gradually “Ramp” up to 12 cm over a 30-minute period.

When Should I use Ramp on my CPAP?

Ramp is a great feature for a myriad of CPAP users. That is why it is a standard feature. Keep in mind that Ramp is a comfort feature. So, using it, or not using it, is completely up to you. Once your Ramp time is complete the CPAP will be at your Prescribed Therapy Setting. Let’s look at some great uses of Ramp for certain CPAP users.
  • New CPAP Users– New CPAP users really like the Ramp feature. It allows a first-time CPAP user to acclimate at the lower Starting Pressure and fall asleep much easier.
  • Waking up in the middle of the night– When you wake up in the middle of the night falling back asleep at Therapy Pressure can be tough. Using the Ramp to lower the pressure for a while is very helpful.
  • High Pressure CPAP Users– If you are a CPAP user with a higher pressure, then Ramp can be very beneficial. The hope is that you will fall asleep before encountering the full Therapy Pressure of your CPAP.

When Ramp is a bad idea on your CPAP?

Keeping in mind that Ramp is a comfort feature, you should know that at times it can be a hindrance to your CPAP experience. If the Ramp is making you less comfortable, then you should consider going without it. Let’s look at some instances where Ramp may not be the best choice.
  • Old School CPAP users– For people that are upgrading an older CPAP Ramp may be a surprise setting for you. Many long-term CPAP users are accustomed to their Therapy Pressure. They need to feel that full pressure to fall asleep.
  • People that fall asleep fast– If you fall asleep when your head hits the pillow, then we all need to know your secret ;). For those users the lower Starting Pressure may not be enough to keep your airways open, and you may have apnea while the CPAP is ramping up. In those cases, reducing the Ramp time may be a good option.
  • CPAP users with severe apnea– This is another time where the lower starting pressure during the Ramp may not be enough to keep your airways open. You can increase Starting Pressure or reduce Ramp Time to help with this.

How to Adjust your Ramp Setting:

Adjusting your Ramp setting is fairly simple. However, you should keep in mind that the Ramp also has a lot to do with Starting Pressure. Starting Pressure on most CPAPs is located in the Clinical Settings Menu and has to be changed by your provider or doctor. The Ramp Setting is usually located in the Patient Menu. When you select this setting, you can increase the time to have a longer Ramp or decrease the time to get to your Therapy Setting quicker. For some newer CPAP models, you may even be able to set your Ramp to an “Auto” setting. In the Auto Ramp setting the CPAP will monitor your breathing and increase the pressure when your breathing slows to a sleep pattern.

Things to keep in mind with your Ramp Setting:

As you acclimate to CPAP your Ramp setting may be a very valuable tool to increase your comfort. That is, if you keep a few things in mind. Let’s go over a few pointers:
  • Adjust in small increments– As with all CPAP settings, a gradual adjustment is best. Going too far in one direction or another can create issues as well.
  • Ramp has two settings– While in your Patient Level Menu you may only see Ramp Time, it is important to remember that you can also adjust your Starting Pressure. You will have to loop in your CPAP Provider or your Physician, but it is another option to keep in mind.
  • If it ain’t broke, Dont fix it– If you aren’t having an issue with pressure or falling asleep on CPAP, then it may be best to leave the settings alone.