FAQs

General

Can I use supplemental oxygen with my Fisher & Paykel Healthcare CPAP device?

Yes, oxygen can be administered at the mask. Turn the device on before turning on the oxygen. Ensure that the oxygen source is turned off before switching off the device to avoid oxygen accumulating in the machine.

How much will it cost me to run my CPAP device?

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare's CPAP units are very energy efficient. Their power consumption is approximately 140W which means it costs less than leaving 2 x 100W lights on overnight.

How often do I need to change the filter? Why do they become dirty?

The filter in the machine and in some masks, needs to be changed when it becomes significantly discoloured due to dirt particles in the air. The machine filter needs to be replaced when it becomes significantly discolored or after 1,000 hours of machine running time or in accordance with your healthcare plan.

It is important not to clean these filters as they will no longer function correctly. When they become discolored replace them; do not attempt to clean and reuse them.

If I get a cold or the flu, should I stop using my machine?

No, you should continue to use your machine. Obviously in some cases this may not be possible. For example, if you have a severely blocked nose and are using a nasal mask you may not be able to breathe in through your nose. If this is the case, you may wish to stop using your CPAP unit until you are able to breathe through your nose again. If you are suffering from a chest infection or a blocked/sore ear, consult your doctor before recommencing treatment. 

There is a delay when my unit starts up – why is this?

The unit is checking the power voltage and reacting accordingly. This process takes just a couple of seconds but a slight delay can be noted.

What happens to my device during power failure ?

During a power failure your device will stop running and you will no longer be recieving therapy. If you are using a CPAP mask which meets the specific mask standard (ISO 17510-2), which all Fisher & Paykel Healthcare masks meet, then your CO2 will be flushed from the mask through the exhaust flow ports. If you wake up and your machine has stopped and is unable to be restarted you should remove your mask and reinitiate therapy once the machine has power.

What is Ramp and how does it work?

Ramp allows the pressure of the machine to be lowered for comfort while awake. Over a 20-minute period the pressure will slowly increase to the therapeutic pressure the machine has been set at in order to splint your airway open. The amount the pressure is lowered by is proportional to the pressure at which your machine is set.

If your pressure setting is 12 cmH2O or less, the pressure will drop to 4 cmH2O. If your pressure is higher than 12 cmH2O, the pressure will be lowered to one third of the set pressure. It is useful to use this function if you find it difficult to get to sleep with the full pressure of your machine. Having the pressure reduced may allow you to get to sleep more easily.

What is the expected life of the tube and the chamber?

The HC325 and HC345 water chambers are made for single-patient use. Over time the chambers will slowly deteriorate (this will be accelerated with the use of normal tap water), at which time they will need to be replaced. In some markets, extended life chambers are available. These chambers pull apart (i.e. you can pull the plastic away from the stainless steel base), allowing for more thorough cleaning (dishwasher safe); so the chamber can be used for a much longer period of time.

The F&P ICON chamber (900ICON200) should be washed in a mild dishwashing detergent or a domestic dishwashing machine on a daily basis. These chambers are also made for single patient use and will slowly deteriorate requiring eventual replacement.

Contact your equipment provider for more information.

The breathing tubes should be replaced regularly depending on your healthcare plan. However, if you notice any breaks or tears, the tube should be replaced immediately. It is important that the tubes are attached and detached from the water chamber and mask with care. Hold the rubber cuff of the tube when removing if from the chamber and/or mask.

Who do I call for help?

If at any stage during your CPAP therapy you require any help or assistance, contact your homecare provider.
Humidity

Can germs pass from the humidifier to me?

No, using a heated humidifier in line with your CPAP device will not cause you to become sick or give you germs. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s heated humidifiers are pass-over humidifiers that do not produce aerosols (the fine water droplets that are visible to the eye such as steam from a kettle). Pass-over humidifiers add moisture in the form of water vapor. Water vapor particles are smaller than bacteria or viruses so it is impossible for them to be transported up to the mask (and then to you). Even if pathogens (germs) were able to exist in the chamber, they would not be able to be transported to you. Refer to the diagram below which demonstrates the size of water vapor, bacteria and virus particles.



The important thing to remember is that all equipment (especially your mask) needs to be cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis, so that it does not become a desirable environment for bacteria to live and grow. Follow the cleaning instructions for all equipment to ensure proper hygiene and cleaning.

Do I need to remove the water chamber from the CPAP device or humidifier when filling?

Yes, the water chamber should be removed for filling and then reinserted onto the humidifier heater-plate. It should also be removed for emptying. Remember: It is important to put fresh water in the chamber every day.

Do I need to use distilled water in the chamber?

It is strongly recommended that you use distilled water in the chamber as it is free of minerals and will prolong the life of the chamber. Using distilled water will also prevent mineral build-up on the inside of the chamber which can make it appear dirty. Distilled water is pure and therefore the most suitable to use. However, the use of normal tap water will not harm you but may cause the chamber to deterioate at a rate faster than expected.

(Note: If your chamber begins to leak, replace it immediately).

Do I need to use heated humidification?

It is recommended that every patient uses heated humidification in line with their CPAP machine as it will make treatment more comfortable. The use of a humidifier will lessen any airway irritation that causes unpleasant nose and throat symptoms. Although you may find you do not suffer symptoms from the upper airways it is still recommended that you use heated humidity as the comfort of treatment will be dramatically increased.

The advantage of this is that the nose does not have to work as hard to heat and humidify the air in order to get it ready for the warm and moist conditions of the lungs.

How do I change the Humidity setting?

Both the Humidity and Boost settings can be adjusted to achieve optimal levels of patient comfort. Refer to the Operating Manual for details.

How do I know when I need to decrease my Humidity setting?

Use the symptoms you are experiencing to guide you. If you experience any of the following, you should decrease your Humidity setting until the problem is resolved and/or you feel more comfortable.

• CPAP air feels too hot
• CPAP air feels too wet or humid
• The CPAP air feels stuffy or smothering
• Water in the CPAP tube
• Water on your face in the morning

How do I know when I need to increase my Humidity setting?

Use the symptoms you are experiencing to guide you. If you experience any of the following, you should increase your Humidity setting until the problem is resolved and/or you feel more comfortable. If you get to the top Humidity setting of 7 and these symptoms are still not resolved, only now should you adjust your Humidity Boost setting upwards.

• CPAP air feels too cold
• Dry nose, throat or mouth
• Scratchy/sore throat/hoarse voice in the morning
• The pressure at the mask feels too intense
• Congested or runny nose

How do I prevent water from collecting in my breathing tube?

Water collecting in your breathing tube is a result of condensation formed as the room temperature decreases during the night. Condensation in the delivery tube will cause tube vibrations and disruptive gurgling noises as the air passes through. More importantly, condensation may affect your therapy by causing an unstable mask pressure.

It is therefore important to prevent condensation from forming. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has developed advanced humidification technologies that aim to improve CPAP therapy by combating condensation (see Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s product range). To prevent condensation from forming you can try the following:

Adjust the humidity to a lower level. There should only be a light misting in the six inches of tubing closest to the mask.
• Use a Fisher & Paykel Healthcare CPAP machine that includes ThermoSmart™ or Ambient Tracking™ Plus technology.
• Alternatively, if you wake up dry in the morning or with a sore nose/throat, adjust the humidity to a higher level.

How do I use my Fisher & Paykel Healthcare heated humidifier?

Firstly, remove the chamber from the heater-plate and fill the chamber with water (preferably distilled water) up to the indicator line. Secondly, place the chamber back onto the heater-plate and adjust the humidity setting in the CPAP to the required level (see the Operating Manual for instructions on how to do this). The humidity level you use will vary from other users, depending on your preference and room temperature.

How does heated humidification work?

Heated humidifcation works by increasing the amount of water vapor in the air, at the same time as increasing the temperature of the air. This happens as the water in the chamber is heated, consequently heating the air that passes over it. As a result, water vapor is added to the air and delivered to the CPAP user.

I feel air leak out of my mouth at times and it wakes me up - what can I do to fix this?

If you use a nasal mask with your CPAP therapy you need to keep your mouth closed and breathe in and out through your nose. At times the mouth might naturally fall open, letting air escape or air may escape from the corners of the mouth. This is called “mouth leak.” It is important to minimize and if possible avoid mouth leak as it causes upper airway drying and irritation of the throat. Below is a diagram which explains the vicious cycle that occurs with mouth leak.



The use of heated humidification will minimize the drying effects of mouth leak. However, if you find it is affecting your therapy you could try using the Forma™ Full Face Mask, one that covers both your nose and mouth and allows you to breathe through either route.

I live in a very humid environment; do I still need to use heated humidification?

Often houses in humid environments have air-conditioning systems that reduce the temperature and humidity of the air. The only way to sufficiently heat and humidify the air from CPAP is to use a heated humidifier.

I use a full mask; do I still need to use heated humidity?

Yes, you should still use heated humidity with a full face mask. This is because you are likely to be a mouth breather (full face masks are usually given to patients who breathe predominantly through their mouth). Unlike the nasal airways, the mouth can not warm and moisten the air you breathe, so a heated humidifier is required to prevent oral dryness.

What is the difference between a humidifier and a dehumidifier?

A humidifier increases the amount of water vapor in the air, while a dehumidifier reduces the amount of water vapor in the air (i.e. a dehumidifier will dry out a damp room).

What is the difference between the Humidity and Boost settings?

Both the Humidity and Boost settings adjust the level of relative humidity in the delivered air. The Boost setting (which requires adjustment only in extreme situations) allows you to optimize your humidity. The default settings will be suitable for most CPAP users.

Why does my upper airway become dry and irritated after using CPAP?

One of the key functions of the nose is to warm and moisten (humidify) the air we breathe. CPAP treatment can at times overwhelm the ability of the nose to do this job. This can result in irritation of the upper airways, causing unpleasant nose and throat symptoms as the levels of heat and moisture are inadequate. Many of these symptoms can be alleviated by using heated humidification.
Traveling

Can I take my CPAP device camping?

Yes, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s CPAP devices can easily be connected to a deep-cycle battery (also known as a marine-type deep-cycle battery) and run for eight hours. Adapter cables connect to the battery and create a cigarette-lighter-style plug, which the inverter can plug into. The inverter provides a standard three-pronged socket that many electrical devices can be plugged into – in this case your CPAP device. Connect your CPAP device directly into the power inverter to commence therapy. Please review the Operating Manual before using your CPAP device with battery power. If you are planning a trip, particularly if you are going to be several nights without power, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare recommends that you try sleeping with the device connected to the battery for a few nights at home to test its performance.

Caution: These power options are for stationary use only and are not intended to make a system mobile.

Can I travel to other countries with my Fisher & Paykel Healthcare CPAP unit?

Yes. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s CPAP machines are lightweight and compact, allowing for easy transport with the custom carry-bag. These units have a universal voltage feature that allows them to operate on any domestic AC mains voltage (which is between 100 and 240V), and with the use of the appropriate pin/plug adapter the unit can operate in most countries. When going through Customs you may wish to have a letter from your doctor stating the use you have for the CPAP unit.

Note: Ensure the water chamber is empty of water before packing away your CPAP unit for travel.

Can I use my Fisher & Paykel Healthcare CPAP unit on airline flights?

Some airline companies allow the use of CPAP units on their aircraft. The best thing to do before booking a long plane flight is to check the airline company’s policy regarding the use of CPAP units whilst flying. If company policy allows for use of such equipment, arrange a seat close to a power outlet on the aircraft. You will also need to ensure you have a US-style pin/plug adapter, as often aircrafts have US-style sockets only.
Cleaning

How do I clean the humidifier, mask and tube? How ofen should I do this?

Regular cleaning of all equipment is vital to ensure its longevity. Follow the cleaning instructions given in the applicable equipment manual.

Below is a brief summary of recommended cleaning of your equipment at home.

TUBING: Every day your tube should be rinsed with warm soapy water and then left to dry.

WATER CHAMBER: Should be rinsed daily with warm soapy water then rinsed with clean water. Weekly, the chamber should be cleaned more thoroughly with one part white vinegar to two parts water. The chamber should be left to stand with this solution before rinsing with distilled water.

MASK: The mask should be cleaned daily. For Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s nasal masks, the headgear, silicone seal and grey foam cushion should be removed from the mask frame. The foam cushion should be wiped with a cloth (it is important not to immerse this in water as it will deteriorate and reduce the life of the cushion). The mask frame and the Silicone Seal should be washed with warm soapy water. Once rinsed, leave to dry before reassembling. The headgear should be washed weekly with warm water and a mild detergent. For the Oracle™ Oral Mask, cleaning should be undertaken daily with warm soapy water for all parts. The mask should be left to dry before it is reassembled and used. The Soft Seal of the mask (the part that sits inside the mouth) can be rinsed in an antibacterial/antiseptic mouthwash (e.g. Listerine); this will give the Soft Seal a more thorough clean and at the same time leave it tasting pleasant.

FPH Technologies

A feature of Ambient Tracking™ Plus is to compensate for humidity loss during leaks - so what is the difference between Ambient Tracking™ Plus and Leak Compensation (or HC234 vs HC238 CPAP models)?

Ambient Tracking™ Plus registers an increase in flow which is indicative of leak, and automatically increases the temperature of the heater-plate to compensate for moisture stripping during leaks. Leak Compensation registers a drop in pressure (caused by the leak) and will therefore increase the motor speed (RPM) of the device to maintain the set pressure. Models with Leak Compensation (HC238, HC240/HC250 Series and HC608) therefore have an additional Pressure Sensor for this purpose.

Can I use my device without a heated breathing tube?

It is possible, but you will not gain the optimum humidity performance the device offers. The device will then not display the heated breathing tube symbol.

Do Fisher & Paykel Healthcare CPAPs have pressure relief?

Yes. Pressure relief has traditionally been provided in the form of expiratory pressure relief - Fisher & Paykel Healthcare offers a different form of pressure relief called SensAwake. Given patients are only intolerant of pressure when they are awake, SensAwake ensures relief is provided during these critical times. When a patient wakes up, SensAwake drives the pressure towards the minimum set pressure for enhanced comfort.

Does the SleepStyle™ 200 AutoCPAP have pressure relief?

Yes. Pressure relief has traditionally been provided in the form of expiratory pressure relief – Fisher & Paykel Healthcare offers a different, more advanced form of pressure relief. Given patients are only intolerant of pressure when they are awake, SensAwake™ ensures relief is provided during these critical times. When a patient wakes up, SensAwake™ drives the pressure towards the minimum set pressure for enhanced comfort.

How does it detect awake breathing? / How does your algorithm work?

We can often tell when someone is asleep by their quiet, relaxed breathing, similarly we can tell someone wakes up because of their irregular breathing. The SensAwake algorithm recognizes this awake breathing pattern.

How long does it take for the pressure to drop to the minimum set pressure when SensAwake™ is activated?

Between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. This will depend on the pressure the device was at when SensAwake was activated, the minimum set pressure and the frequency of awake detections.

Is there any clinical evidence that supports the use of ThermoSmart™ technology over conventional heated humidification?

Yes, several independent studies have been conducted on ThermoSmart. The key findings of four of these studies are:



What are the benefits of SensAwake™?

Ultimately what matters most to a patient is comfort. With SensAwake, patients receive effective and comfortable treatment that adjusts to suit their needs during both sleep and awake states. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare feels that SensAwake will help providers ensure that their patients are as comfortable as possible and give them every chance of therapy success and acceptance from day one.

What are the benefits of ThermoSmart™?

ThermoSmart alleviates upper airway dryness and congestion by delivering heated humidification to the patient. ThermoSmart also alleviates the build-up of condensation in the heating breathing tube caused by ambient temperature changes. Condensation in the tube causes disruptive gurgling noises and pressure fluctuations and may adversely affect sleep quality.

What is Ambient Tracking™ Plus and how does it work?

Ambient Tracking Plus is a unique technology that has been incorporated into Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s CPAP machines to allow the automatic adjustment of humidity as external conditions change throughout the night or between seasons. As a result, the level of humidity is maximized and condensation is minimized. Ambient Tracking Plus compensates for changing room temperatures. For example, as the room temperature drops during the night, the heater-plate temperature will adjust accordingly (i.e. will also drop), so that the appropriate level of humidity will be delivered while minimizing the likelihood of water condensing in the tube. Ambient Tracking Plus also compensates for humidity loss during high leak periods. When mouth or mask leaks occur, the heater-plate temperature is automatically increased to compensate for the loss of humidity that results during these periods.

To ensure accurate sensing of the room temperature, the CPAP unit should not be placed in a constant cold draft, in front of a heater or in an enclosed box, as this will affect the performance of the Ambient Tracking Plus technology.

What is leak compensation and how does it work?

  • Leak compensation is a mechanism inside the CPAP device designed to ensure that prescribed therapy pressure is maintained in the event of a mask leak.
  • The device uses pressure and flow sensors and has preset parameters which determines what the pressure should be at a given flow rate.
  • In the event of a leak being present the pressure drops and the device will then increase the flow rate to compensate for lost pressure until it reaches the prescribed threapy pressure.

What is SensAwake™?

We all experience subconscious waking through the night - at which time pressure intolerance is likely to occur. SensAwake responsive pressure relief:
  • Detects wakefulness 
  • Promptly relieves pressure 
  • Eases the return to sleep

What is the difference between the HC604 and HC608 CPAP models?

Both the HC604 and HC608 CPAP models have ThermoSmart technology. ThermoSmart will register an increase in flow (due to leak) and will increase the heater-plate and the heated breathing tube temperatures to add moisture back into the air-path. The HC608 provides additional Leak Compensation as it has a Pressure Sensor and so will increase the motor speed of the device to maintain the set pressure during leaks.

What is ThermoSmart™?

ThermoSmart™ technology combines a unique breathing tube and algorithm to deliver higher customized humidity levels that are maintained throughout the night regardless of ambient temperature changes. However, the Boost setting should only be adjusted in extreme situations.

Which patients will benefit the most from ThermoSmart™?

  • Patients over 60
  • Patients on medication
  • Patients who prefer a cold room
  • Patients with pre-existing nasal conditions

Why was SensAwake™ developed?

Patients on CPAP therapy commonly arouse from sleep and experience periods of wakefulness. Pressure is not required during awake states and can impact on a patient’s ability to get back to sleep. Comfort during this time is therefore critical. SensAwake detects the transition from sleep to awake and automatically lowers the pressure to the minimum set pressure to help facilitate the return to sleep. Once sleep has resumed, the auto-adjusting algorithm will determine the appropriate pressure delivery for the patient.

Why was ThermoSmart™ developed?

The effectiveness of conventional humidification is limited by ambient temperature. As air travels from a conventional humidifier it cools, causing condensation to form in the breathing tube. As a result it fails to deliver optimal humidity levels to the patient.
InfoUSB™

Does the InfoUSB always have to be in the device to record data?

No, data is stored on the device first and then transferred to the InfoUSB. So if the InfoUSB was not inserted correctly, or was not inserted at all during therapy, data would be automatically transferred to the InfoUSB the very next time it was correctly inserted into the device.

The InfoUSB symbol is flashing on the Home Screen - why is this?

The Symbol will flash every 6 seconds to indicate it is transferring data.

When is it safe to remove the InfoUSB?

When the CPAP is turned off, or in standby mode, and when the symbol is not flashing on the device.

Who do I send the InfoUSB to?

Your healthcare provider - when they request to see it.
SleepStyle

Can I remove the CPAP cover myself?

No - damage to your unit will result, should you attempt to do so without the required conversion kit. Contact your healthcare provider to request an upgrade to humidification.

The CPAP looks like it has a cover on the front .... what is under this?

The CPAP has been designed to be upgraded to heated humidification. If or when you require some form of humidification, then the unit can be converted.