Difference Between cpap and bipap

Sleep apnea machines are prescribed for sleeping disorders. There are two types of machines, a CPAP and BiPAP machines. By keeping airways open, those who have sleep apnea can sleep without the dangers of not breathing.

Ventilatory support can be provided to those patients that have sleep apnea with a wide array of interfaces and ventilatory mode. The bi-level positive airway pressure [BiPAP] and continuous positive airway pressure [CPAP]) are two common ventilatory modes providing non-invasive ventilation (NIV).


The choice of ventilatory support largely depends on the experience of the physician, efficiency of the ventilators, and the disease condition being treated. The commonest method in Non invasive ventilation is the CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure. This is the basic support and useful in patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. The method is also widely used in patients susceptible to congestive heart failure.


This method is the choice of physicians in treating patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD). The Bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) method requires inspiratory positive airway pressure (IPAP) and expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP). Both differ in the amount of pressure support ventilation provided to the patient. EPAP is the same as positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) method. PAV methods provide assistance in controlling flow and volume of air.

Difference between CPAP and BiPAP

Use – Volume ventilators are used for non-invasive ventilatory supports. CPAP methods are patient friendly and tolerant to leaks which is common with all the non-invasive ventilatory methods

Indications – CPAP increases pressure on inhalation of air. This keeps the airways in nose, mouth and throat open during sleep. This basic method is simple and helps patients suffering from sleep apnea. BIPAP is preferred in chronic conditions or in patients with associated troubles. BIPAP has been known to be effective in patients with congestive heart failure and other diseases affecting the lungs. It is also found efficient in people with nerve and muscle problems

Pressure – The CPAP uses only one pressure, the BIPAP uses two pressures, one inhalation and other exhalation pressure

Equipment – The CPAP is a simple machine which works on the inhalation of the patient. The BIPAP has the same settings of CPAP, tubing, mask and the equipment. But it uses two pressures

Working – CPAP is essentially working from the inhalation of patient. BIPAP is like a breathing assistance. BIPAP makes the patient to breath. Higher level CPMs also work in the same way, but they need to be set prior with breathes per minuteBoth machines are designed to make sure the users breathe a set number of times per minute. One of the main benefits of the BiPAP machine is the pressure is decreased as the person breathes out. This keeps them from having to work as hard at breathing and the person is able to have a more restful sleep

Noise – BIPAP is less noisy and smaller build with a humidifier. Hence in technology they are superior to CPAP

Side effects – Mild headaches, skin allergies, bloating, nasal congestion etc are common in patients who use CPAP. Those who are claustrophobic and anxiety need concomitant medications since their tolerance level is low. BIPAP allows using a humidifier which can reduce these effects to a considerable extent

The choice depends on the needs of the patient. A doctor will usually suggest a sleep test before deciding the ventilator method. CPAP is suited for mild sleep apnea patients. Both of them do no assist in providing you breathe. What they do is to ensure that you take the required number of breathes per minute not to hamper your sleep. In effect, they don’t breathe for you.