Variable Positive Airway Pressure (VPAP)


Definition - What does Variable Positive Airway Pressure (VPAP) mean?

Variable positive airway pressure (VPAP) is a treatment method that involves two distinct levels of air pressure settings consistent with an individual’s physiological needs to accommodate natural breathing cycles. Also called bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP), VPAP machines serve to help mitigate breathing abnormalities connected with sleep disorders and pulmonary conditions including central sleep apnea (CSA), obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and emphysema.

WorkplaceTesting explains Variable Positive Airway Pressure (VPAP)

VPAP machines feature technology that delivers air pressure at a proportionate rate to facilitate both inhalation and expiration during circadian rhythm cycles, making its use a preferable option for many patients. In some cases, individuals with central sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea are unable to adapt to consistent air pressure that feeds from a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, thus, a VPAP machine often serves as a reliable alternative. Built-in humidifiers can help regulate the humidity and temperature in circumstances where allergies and climate change can lead to soft tissue dryness of the throat.

Physicians may also prescribe VPAP machines for patients with pathological conditions where it may be helpful. For example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often induces difficult breathing, in turn, interrupting sleep patterns. Obstructive sleep apnea is a prevalent sleep disorder characterized by repetitive breathing cessations that can adversely influence mental acuity and motor reflexes. Consequently, occupational trades that entail operating a commercial vehicle or heavy machinery can pose liabilities in undiagnosed OSA cases where excessive daytime sleepiness, cognitive impairment, and memory lapses can compromise job performance.

Sleep disturbances can drastically dictate the quality of life at home and work, especially if symptoms of snoring, shortness of breath, and sleep arousals remain persistent. If a patient does not conform to CPAP treatment, a doctor may prescribe VPAP therapy as an option in regulating breathing cycles at night. Many VPAP models have auto-titration (adjustment) displays to accommodate the severity of a patient’s breathing difficulties during sleep.

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