CPAP device recall leaves Americans with sleep apnea searching for alternatives

The current CPAP recall is leaving millions of Americans with sleep apnea struggling.

Now that Philips Respironics has recalled some of their CPAP machines due to the company stating that using them could result in serious injuries, including death. While it may take months for the life-saving devices to get replaced, there are options for those with sleep apnea to sleep safely. 

Originally recalled in 2021, Philips Respironics made the decision after concerns that the noise-dampening foam within the machine could break down and become ingested or inhaled. When this foam breaks down, it could potentially release toxic chemicals. The company has advised users to talk to their doctor concerning what they should do about their Philips branded CPAP device. 

While it is possible that it may take months before Philips is capable of replacing or repairing all recalled CPAP devices, the recall has had a major impact on CPAP machine availability. Even purchasing a new one may be difficult. All is not lost, however, as Dr. Peter Nassar from the Jacksonville Sleep Center offers some alternatives for patients.

Losing weight is the first suggestion, as Dr. Nassar states that 80% of people who are at their ideal body weight will likely not suffer from sleep apnea. However, this is typically only a solution if your sleep apnea is mild. 

The second suggestion is to consider finding a travel CPAP device. While many regular CPAP machines are out of stock, travel-sized CPAP machines can still be found, and will work just as well until you can find a proper replacement.

The third piece of advice that Dr. Nassar recommends is talking to your dentist about an oral appliance. An oral appliance is a device that holds your lower jaw forward from your neck, increasing the space in your airways. These devices can help prevent sleep apnea, and are also custom made by the dentist.

Another option for an alternative to a CPAP device is an implant. Typically an implant is for people with moderate to severe sleep apnea, and the device can be thought of as a pacemaker for your airway. 

At night, the device is turned on with a remote control. When you breathe, the device will sense your inspiration, sending a pulse to your tongue. This pulse causes the tongue to protrude forward, opening the airway and curing the sleep apnea. 

The last thing Dr. Nassar suggests is talking to your doctor about a positional device that would aid you in sleeping on your side. Sleeping on your side typically causes sleep apnea less frequently than sleeping on your back. The device itself is rather simple, in that it is a bubble that goes around your waist. The bubble sits behind your back, leaving you unable to position yourself to sleep on your back.

For those unable to find a replacement for their CPAP device, different options are available. Talking to your doctor or finding a CPAP community may also help you with sleep apnea.