Definition of Positive Airway Pressure

Positive Airway Pressure is methods to maintain higher than normal air pressure against the inner walls of the bronchi and trachea during breathing.

Positive airway pressure may be a treatment for atelectasis (collapsed lung), chronic respiratory failure, and sleep apnea. It is also an important aspect of mechanical ventilation.

The most common method is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a small pump pushes a steady flow of air through a face mask to maintain enough pressure against the airways to keep them open and unobstructed during sleep. CPAP is a common and an effective treatment for sleep apnea.

Bilevel positive airway pressure, or BiPAP, is a flexible variation of CPAP. The conventional CPAP device maintains a constant airway pressure for inhalation and exhalation. BiPAP provides additional pressure or support during inspiration to aid inhalation.


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