What is an acceptable CPAP leak rate?

by George
(Las Vegas)

I'm fairly new to CPAP. I have facial hair. The first mask I used was F&P Forma but the CPAP leak rates were in excess of 100 liters. I was then given a Mirage Activa with a chin strap and my leak rate is about 32-34. Is this still too high? Or, acceptable?

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May 28, 2012
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Acceptable CPAP MASK LEAK Rates
by: Anonymous

• Fantastic ! Good job bringing that leak rate down.
• To answer your question directly …. Yes it is still too high. I am assuming you are using a Resmed CPAP.
• Since you have a beard please check out http://www.cpaphelpdesk.com/best-cpap-mask-for-beard.html . I address this issue with recommendations. Your CPAP mask cushion must touch skin in order to get a good seal. However there are certain masks that do well for men with beards.
• I suspect you will get better results if you are willing to use another type of CPAP full Face Mask. Very important you are measured for it.
• The following explaination is for the benefit of other people who are using other brands of CPAP. This might come across confusing:

a) Many well established Sleep Centers will prescribe only a certain brand of CPAP because their Sleep physcians really like how the data is presented to them when they do a download on your CPAP machine. I have doctors that only want Resmed machines while others only want Philip Respironics machines for that reason. Please see the video.
b) If you have a Resmed CPAP …many Sleep Physicians will consider a leak rate of 24 and under acceptable.
c) Philips Respironics CPAP … many physicians will look at Leak Rate of 50 liters a minute and under as acceptable.
d) On the same note I have worked with physicians who will personally use Resmed’s criteria of the leak rate should be 24 liters and under, even though the patient is using a Respironics CPAP machine.
e) You see if the level of leak is so large the CPAP or BiPAP machine cannot determine any Respiratory Events with any accuracy. The net effect is you are not getting proper therapy, the air leakage will drive you crazy (dry eyes, dry mouth, very noisy..etc) and also your bed partner will get super irritated with you.
f) Your goal obviously must be to bring the leakage as close to zero as possible.
g) When your sleep physician looks at your download report they will look at a whole bunch of things.
h) For example in the Respironics download report …. They will look at how long each night did you experience a Large Leak (anything above 50 liters per minute ). If it was a few minutes here or there it is okay. Take for example today, I was working with a patient who had an average leak rate of 1 hour 30 minutes. Now that is way too much. Thus I had to find a way to help address the high leak issue so the patient benefits from the CPAP therapy.

All the best,
CpapHelpDesk

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