Which CPAP MASK – nasal or full-face?

Added: 16 December 2011

Which  CPAP  MASK – nasal or full-face?

Whether you are just starting CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy or you are a long-term CPAP user, choosing the right mask is essential for the best results. Fortunately, a wide range of masks is available, as there is a very large sleep industry.

What type of mask will be used on the night of my CPAP titration study?

Patients new to CPAP will be able to trial up to three different masks on the night of their CPAP titration study and we normally trial a nasal mask in the first instance.  Patients who are already using CPAP therapy generally bring their own mask from home on the night of their study. During the study, SNORE Australia’s staff ascertain whether the mask fits correctly and if not, they will trial other masks (particularly for patients looking to replace or upgrade their current mask). 

 Why do we suggest a nasal mask instead of a full-face mask in the first instance?

When using CPAP, it is generally easier to achieve an effective seal with a nasal mask (or nasal prongs) than with a full-face mask. Also, if the straps of a full-face mask are adjusted too tightly the jaw can be pulled backwards, causing the back of the tongue to block the airway, which can interfere with the effectiveness of CPAP treatment. This problem does not occur with nasal masks.

Will the CPAP provider help me with my final choice of mask and ensure that I obtain the correct mask-fit?

Yes, your CPAP supplier will offer you the opportunity to trial multiple masks (typically at least three) and these will normally be fitted while you are in a reclining position whilst connected to a CPAP machine (you cannot properly gauge the fit of the mask unless it is under pressure). 

 Important points to remember:

  1. In order to avoid any financial conflict of interest, SNORE Australia never sells CPAP equipment or CPAP masks – this is why all of our patients are referred to commercial equipment-providers for their mask and equipment needs
  2. Most CPAP problems relate to mask issues, and these can generally be solved with patience and with sufficient attention to the exact nature of the problem – we recommend only competent equipment suppliers, who have the necessary expertise and commitment to deal with whatever problems you encounter – PROVIDED THAT YOU REMEMBER TO ASK THEM FOR HELP.

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