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Adventures in Sleep

Mask Fit Savvy

Published August 7, 2014 11:56 AM by Penny Mehaffey

I wish, oh how I wish, that my lab dispensed our own CPAP equipment. And not so much the CPAP machines but the masks. We do as much as we can by giving the patient the mask they are titrated with, but that's as far as it goes. Once they leave us, it's out to the big bad world of DMEs. 

Part of the life of a day tech is to perform mask fit clinics; mine are usually the one-to-one basis/trickle-in types. The person who trickled in this morning actually was a VIP who did not have his sleep study with us, but is now seeing our sleep doctor. He was seen by one of the "better" DMEs in town and was told "they could not fit him." I am shocked. He has no facial hair, nothing going on that I could see that would make him hard to fit. He prefers a full-face mask and is compliant. 

I only had to go through two masks; the second one fit most comfortably to him. It was a pretty standard model, one of the two major manufacturers and one of the top full-face models, essentially something that you should find on everyone's shelf. 

It seems as though this scenario occurs more often than it should. Mask fit is the most important component of CPAP therapy. It's the delivery system. It has to work and work well or you have nothing.

Failure is not an option. I for one would prefer to have total control over that part of the process. 

2 comments

Adventures in Sleep : Mask Fit Savvy

November 17, 2014 2:55 PM

Now I'm the one who follows them after their sleep study. I agree that proper mask fit is most important, but I can tell you it has been my experience that the mask picked for the sleep study is generally not the mask that works for the patient once they get home and can sleep in their own natural habitat. Also, there are 3 major successful brands, not just 2 and I would bet 1 of the 2 you are referring to are Respironics and rarely work, and the one you are missing is Fisher & Paykel which have the most efficient FFM out right now. If I am wrong, my apologies. Some of those big bad DME companies work very hard to make their CPAP pt's happy. We take care of them for years not just one night. They get their proper mask fit after CPAP has been ordered, insurance does not pay for mask desensitization prior to their sleep study.

Aimee , Homecare - RRT/RCP September 7, 2014 2:44 AM
Clyde NC

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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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