CPAP nasal pillows sometimes referred to as nasal cushions are used with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure CPAP machines to provide breathing assistance to sleep apnea patients.
Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) experience constant episodes of paused breathing during sleep. If left untreated, OSA can lead to serious medical complications such as heart problems, stroke, and high blood pressure
Sleep apnea patients wear CPAP masks during sleep to help keep their airways open. The mask is used together with CPAP machines to direct air to the patient’s airways so that they can enjoy quality sleep.
CPAP nasal pillows are one of the three CPAP masks that have been recommended for sleep apnea patients. The other two types of CPAP masks include nasal masks and full-face CPAP masks.
What Is a CPAP Nasal Pillow and How Does It Work
A CPAP nasal pillow is a compact and simple mask that has two cushioned nasal tubes that fit directly into your nasal cavity. This mask that sits on the top part of your upper lip is one of the most popular CPAP masks among OSA patients due to its minimal mask design.
Once pressurized air is pumped from the CPAP machine, the nasal pillow delivers air directly to your airways through the two nasal prongs. These two nasal cushions create a secure seal to your nasal cavity, which reduces air leaks.
A nasal pillow also comes with a frame that holds the two nasal cushions in place and headgear or straps that secure it around your head.
Who Should Use the CPAP Nasal Pillow Mask?
A sleep specialist may recommend a CPAP nasal pillow for patients who are:
Claustrophobic – A nasal pillow mask is lightweight and has a minimal mask design. This makes it suitable for claustrophobic patients as only a small part of this mask will come into contact with their faces
Patients who like to read or watch TV in bed – Since a nasal cushion is less cumbersome than other mask types, it’s best for patients who prefer to read a book or watch their favorite TV show before they sleep. Also, its minimal design means it won’t obstruct your vision as you read
Patients with facial hair – CPAP nasal pillows are ideal for patients with beards or mustaches since they don’t cover the face. Also, this mask’s seal is only formed on the nose airways
Nose breathers – This mask only works for nose breathers. If you’re a mouth breather, you’d have to use this mask with a chin strap to help keep your mouth closed as you breathe
Active sleepers – If you toss and turn in your sleep, then a nasal pillow may be more ideal than other types of CPAP masks. This is because the two nasal cushions that form a secure seal on your nostrils will stay put even when you change positions during sleep
Patients who wear glasses – Unlike a nasal mask, a nasal pillow doesn’t cover the bridge of your nose. This means that you can comfortably wear glasses with this CPAP mask. Besides, due to its slim design, this mask provides a wider field of vision compared to a full-face mask
Pros of CPAP Nasal Pillow Systems
- Reduced air leaks as the mask feeds air directly into the patient’s nostrils
- They work well for patients who have lots of facial hair
- They’re lightweight and compact, making them ideal for patients with claustrophobia
- They provide more open vision than other mask types, which makes them suitable for patients who read in bed and those who wear glasses
- Suitable for restless sleepers as they maintain a secure seal
Cons of CPAP Nasal Pillow Systems
- Uncomfortable for patients who require higher pressure settings as they feed airflow directly to the nasal passages
- Some patients experience nasal dryness and nosebleeds caused by the direct air pressure
- Not ideal for mouth breathers as the mask will be uncomfortable and opening the mouth will prevent the patient from getting adequate air
Features of Modern Nasal Pillows Systems
The latest nasal pillows come with many features meant to make your CPAP therapy as comfortable as possible.
For instance, models such as Resmed CPAP nasal pillows that are available at No Insurance Medical Supplies come with silicon cushions that are soft and comfortable.
- Other notable features that you can find in modern nasal CPAP pillows include:
- Stretchy headgear
- Air diffusers
- Minimal to no noise which reduces sleeping disruptions
- Fabric mask frame wrap to reduce skin irritation
- Lightweight minimalistic designs