I have been a respiratory therapist for almost 30 years. In all of my years practicing one of the single most important devices to come along for PAP is the heated humidifier. Our nose is a natural humidifier. It warms and moisturizes the air that we breathe. On PAP devices, the air pressure doesn’t always allow our noses to do the best job.
When I began my career, only cool pass-over humidifiers were available for PAP devices. Being “non-heated”, these did not meet the humification demands of the user and consequently, many PAP devices were abandoned.
As we are aware, heated air carries more moisture than cold air. The air pressure on the PAP has a tendency to dry out the mucus membranes of the nose, mouth, and throat. This dryness can cause an increase in symptoms which makes the treatment very uncomfortable and ultimately makes the user non-compliant.
Heated humification is essential when it comes to PAP therapy. It keeps the sinuses, mouth, and throat moisturized, and because the user is now getting adequate humidity, they are more compliant with the therapy. Heated humidification should be started immediately when someone first goes on PAP therapy.
Heated humidity also helps to relieve stuffiness and some of the symptoms of nasal allergies. On the Dream station unit, the heated humidifier has 5 settings so that it can be customized to your needs and environment. Adding the Respironics heated tubing keeps any moisture from collecting in the tube, which means that most of the moisture gets delivered to the airway and the system stays cleaner.
If you are starting on PAP therapy or if you are just purchasing a new device, make sure to order it with the heated humidifier so that you get the most benefit from your therapy.
Author Profile: Laura Castricone, Respiratory Therapist
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