Need info on high altitude (9000 ft) use of Cpap

At altitude for a couple of days apneas increase and then taper off. Do I need more pressure or o2 supp.

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Jun 03, 2012
Using CPAP or BiPAP at Higher Altitudes
by: CpapHelpDesk

• You must make 2 phone calls.

• Phone Call#1 - Sounds cliché …but you must talk to your Sleep Specialist prior to your trip. Because she/he only intimately knows your medical history. This is definitely the case if you already have some underlying Pulmonary or Cardiac issues to begin with. Go ahead, please place a phone call to your sleep physician.

• The higher up above sea level you go, the stronger the CPAP machine must work to give you the same therapeutic effect. For example….At sea level, if my CPAP setting is at 10cmh20, then at 9000 feet the unit will have to blow at 12 cmH20 in order to measure and feel at 10 cmH20. Because the air is thinner at those higher altitude. When I come back down to around sea level, the unit will blow at its regular pressure at 10.
(Please note, all the numbers I just mentioned are not real and are used for illustrative purpose only.)

• Does Obstructive Sleep Apnea actually decrease at higher altitude ?….. I honestly do not know. Once again your physician can confidently answer that question. I do not want to mislead you.

• Phone Call#2 - If you have a newer CPAP or BiPAP machine, the unit will automatically adjust for a higher altitude. If you have an older machine, you might have to manually change the altitude adjustment. Call the manufacturer directly and ask them. Just give them the model number. You will usually find the model number at the bottom or on the back –side of the machine where the filter is located.


Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Inc.

15365 Barranca Parkway
Irvine, CA 92618

Tel: 1800 446 3908 or
+1 949 453 4000
Technical Support: +1 877 707-5454
Fax: +1 949 453 4001

ResMed Corp

9001 Spectrum Center Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92123

+ 1 (858) 836-5000
+ 1 (800) 424-0737 (toll free)
+ 1 (858) 836-5501

Philips Respironics (respiratory care and sleep therapy)


Philips Healthcare
3000 Minuteman Road
Andover, MA 01810-1099

DeVilbiss Healthcare

Telephone: (800) 338-1988
Fax: (800) 552-7379
Hours: Monday - Friday; 8am-7pm EST

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