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Alan’s Story


Alan’s Story

For many CPAP users, getting comfortable with the therapy can be difficult, and the temptation to skip a night here and there can often prove too much to resist. However, one of our customers, named Alan, has shown that a solution as simple as trying a different mask can make a huge difference to your acceptance of CPAP. Here is Alan’s story.

Alan has an unusual version of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea called Asymptomatic OSA. This means he had OSA, but without any symptoms such as daytime sleepiness. However, having suffered a stroke his doctor advised him to take a sleep study, and OSA was duly discovered. Despite having no regular symptoms, Alan was advised to use CPAP to prevent the pressure OSA puts on the heart.

Accepting CPAP can be difficult, even when you can feel the benefits the next day. As Alan was Asymptomatic it was even harder to find the motivation, as he felt no ill-effects of OSA anyway and so whether he used the CPAP or not felt no different the next day. So when he was having trouble adapting to his mask, the option to opt-out of his therapy was an easy one to take regularly.

“I took my CPAP off because it became uncomfortable”

“The reason I took my CPAP off is because it became uncomfortable at times; once I moved then it moved, and it bugged me,” said Alan. “Also it was between 25 and 30’C at night here at the moment, so it made me too hot. It didn’t make me feel any better because I never felt bad!”

“The only reason I was wearing it is because I do have sleep apnoea, and I had a small stroke and ventricular tachycardia (fast heart rhythm), so the doctor insisted I drink no alcohol, and use the CPAP. So I did! My heart arrhythmia is much better now, so am out of the woods”.

When Alan contacted us, we could use the unique SmartCode system from his DeVilbiss SleepCube CPAP machine to see exactly how his therapy was going. This simple system displays a set of codes on the display of his machine, which he could then email over to us. These codes could let us see some crucial information; that Alan was only using his CPAP on 70% of nights, but that when he did his AHI (the measure of OSA severity) was down to 2.0 – well within the safety zone of 0 to 5.

What this meant was that although Alan was having difficulty using CPAP, and 30% of the time chose not to use it, when he was using it it was working very well. For this reason, we tried to find a solution to Alan’s problems with using CPAP and suggested that he tried using the SleepWeaver CPAP mask instead. The difference was remarkable.

“The SleepWeaver Cloth Mask is so much better than the nasal pillows mask that I was using before. I sleep much better” said Alan. His partner Carol was also very pleased: “I just wanted to let you know that the SleepWeaver cloth mask is brilliant! Alan sleeps so much better, and we can recommend it! His nose doesn’t get cold or sore. Yahooooo!” Not for the first time, it would appear the partner is the one more grateful for successful CPAP than the patient themselves!

“A change of mask made the world of difference”

This improvement was evident from another look at Alan’s SmartCodes. Where his previous usage had only been at 70% of nights, it now went up to 100% when using the SleepWeaver while his AHI during use remained at a very positive 2.0. This meant that Alan was getting very effective CPAP therapy every single night. The key to the change was simply trying a different CPAP mask.

Although in this case a change of mask was the silver bullet Alan needed for his CPAP troubles, it may not always be the solution. However, the important thing to remember is that if you are having problems with your CPAP that you should speak to somebody and find a solution. At Intus, we’re always looking to help our customers get the most out of their CPAP and will be more than happy to advise you with any issues you may have been having.

CPAP can be challenging, but millions of people have used CPAP so if you have a problem, there’s a good chance a solution has been found. OSA can cause significant health problems, even for those without symptoms such as Alan, so getting the therapy right for you is very important. That is where we come in – so if you are having problems with your CPAP, or are anticipating some if you have not started using it yet, feel free to call us on 0844 504 9999 and we will be more than happy to discuss any issues with you, and help you really get comfortable with CPAP.


About author: Helen Clarkson is a Sleep Specialist at Baywater Healthcare. Ms. Clarkson has worked with Baywater since 2008, working closely with patients in delivering sleep/bi-level services including sleep and respiratory, both in the home and clinic setting. This includes therapy initiation and troubleshooting support. Ms. Clarkson is responsible for delivering the Baywater Healthcare patient adherence management programme to ensure continuing patient therapy compliance. works in conjunction with NHS clinicians and procurement to deliver excellence in home and clinic-based services. She provides training on all aspects of sleep including devices and interfaces. Previously, Ms. Clarkson served as Respiratory Physiologist at Pontefract General Infirmary. Her position was Senior MTO for lung function/sleep department, and she was responsible for performing simple and complex sleep studies, sleep study analysis, CPAP initiation, therapy adherence and troubleshooting/service clinics, spirometry, lung volumes and transfer factor, reversibility, CPET, hyperventilation testing, EIA testing, skin prick testing, 6 min walk tests. She has also held roles as Respiratory Physiologist and Respiratory Technician, working closely with patients with respiratory disorders -- including ex-miners. Ms. Clarkson has a BSc (Honors) in Applied biology from University of Staffordshire. She also studied Developments in Sleep Medicine (advanced course) at St. Thomas’ Hospital, and took the Edinburgh Sleep Medicine course. She completed the BSS: Advanced sleep course and the ARTP NIV Course.

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