Auto CPAP machines are similar to standard CPAP machines in which a single pressure setting is delivered, however this pressure setting can automatically adjust over the night when the machine detects you need more pressure to stabilize the airway.
The big question that always comes up is why would you need more pressure?
The answer is easy, during the course of the night we enter different stages of sleep and some of those stages are deeper and relax the muscles more, especially those that support the airway. There are also certain positions of sleep that make us more prone to sleep apnea events, like sleeping on your back versus sleeping on your side.
Auto CPAP machines operate on a range of 4cm/H2O to 20cm/H2O and will adjust up and down during the course of the night.
Auto CPAP machines can also be programmed to standard or fixed pressure CPAP mode, this is beneficial because your treating physician can determine your compliance and AHI (apnea hypopnea index) between the 2 therapy treatments.
Auto CPAP machines can also have the range adjusted and what that means is a minimum pressure can be set as well as a maximum, so if you doctor wants you to stay in a range of 6cm/H2O to 12cm/H2O, the machine is not going to go outside of that range.
Many customers that call in to speak with our technical staff often ask why anyone would choose a standard CPAP machine over an Auto CPAP machine and the answer really comes down to what your physician feel comfortable with prescribing.
For those that do not like to go back to the sleep lab every 1-2 years for a pressure adjustment, this is great because the machine will detect the need for more or less pressure as needed.