BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure (BPAP)

Last Updated: July 30, 2019

Definition - What does BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure (BPAP) mean?

BiLevel positive airway pressure (BPAP or BiPAP) is a type of respiratory therapy used to treat sleep apnea and other sleep breathing disorders. A BPAP machine delivers a steady flow of air to a person's airway while he or she is sleeping.

These devices are similar to continuous airway pressure pressure (CPAP) machines which are also used to treat sleep disorders. However, a CPAP device, once calibrated can usually deliver only one level of air pressure to the wearer. In contrast, BPAP device has two pressure settings. One pressure level is used for inhalations by the patient, the other for exhalations. These dual pressure levels allow the machine to deliver high levels of oxygen to the wearer while reducing the force that the person needs to use to exhale.

WorkplaceTesting explains BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure (BPAP)

PAP machines are available in several different designs, some deliver continuous pressure while others adjust air pressure automatically in response to each breath. But for patients who have emphysema, COPD, or other conditions that make breathing difficult, a continual deliver of air at high pressure from a PAP machine may not be suitable. A biLevel positive airway pressure (BPA) machine alleviates some of the effort that would otherwise be required for exhaling by reducing the pressure during the exhalation part of the breathing cycle. This allows the BPAP wearer's lungs to operate more efficiently.

As with other PAP devices, a BPAP machine is non-invasive. The system can be used to treat sleep related disorders without causing excessive discomfort.

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