What is BiPAP™ (BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure)?

BiPAP machineBiPAP™ is a small machine that connects to a mask that fits over your child's nose or nose and mouth while he or she is sleeping. The machine gently pushes air through the mask and into your child's airway and lungs. The BiPAP™ delivers a higher pressure when your child breathes in and a lower pressure when they breathe out. This keeps your child's airway and lungs open, giving them bigger breaths. The BiPAP™ machine does not deliver oxygen. If oxygen is needed, an additional order will be written.

What is the difference between CPAP and BiPAP

CPAP is set at a pressure that stays the same when a child breathes in and breathes out. However, BiPAP™ gives a child extra support by pushing in higher levels of air when a child breathes in. It may also be set to give a child a breath if there is a pause in breathing.

When is BiPAP™ prescribed?

BiPAP™ may be prescribed for some children with:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (If CPAP wasn't tolerated)
  • Neuromuscular Weakness
  • Restrictive Lung Disease (Stiffness of the lungs or chest)
  • Central Sleep Apnea
  • Other breathing difficulties during sleep

Using BiPAP™

A home equipment company will show you how to use and clean the BiPAP™ equipment. BiPAP™ works best when it is used all night, every night. This may not be easy at first, but with regular use most children and teens get used to wearing BiPAP™. The BiPAP™ machine has a modem that uploads data to an online program. After starting BiPAP™, a Respiratory Therapist from our sleep program will look at the data and contact you to talk about how your child is doing with wearing BiPAP™. We may be able to trouble shoot simple problems over the phone.

Your child will also need to have a clinic visit about 1-2 months after starting BiPAP™. During that visit, the BiPAP™ machine and mask will be checked and you will get help with any problems your child might be having with using BiPAP™. Your child should continue using BiPAP™ unless the doctor or nurse practitioner tells you it is safe to stop.