Useful Information for Patients

CPAP Troubleshooting Guide

Dry Mouth / Mouth Breathing

Solutions:
Ensure no mask leak
Use humidifier / Increase humidifier setting
Trial chin strap or full face mask due to mouth breathing via CPAP therapist

Blocked / Runny / Bleeding Nose / Sneezing

Solutions:
Use humidifier / Increase humidifier setting
Try nasal spray (eg. Fess, available from Pharmacies)

Excessive Mask Leaks / Eye Irritation

Solutions:
Adjust headgear
Ensure mask assembled correctly
Ensure correct positioning of mask
Trial alternative mask via CPAP therapist
Note: Air from small mask “exhalation” holes is normal

Skin Irritation

Solutions:
Clean mask daily with warm soapy water using a low allergy product and rinse well
Loosen headgear / Adjust mask
Try mask liner (eg. RemZzzs, Gecko)
Trial alternative mask via CPAP therapist

Pimples under headgear

Solutions:
Reduce sweating by keeping cool and using deodorant on inside of headgear or on your head in the affected area

Pressure Sores

Solutions:
Loosen headgear
Gecko pad can be used on nose bridge
Trial alternative mask via CPAP therapist

Condensation / Water in Tubing / Tubing making “Gurgling” noise

Solutions:
Shake out water and…
Place tubing under doona/blankets
Decrease humidifier setting
Use heated tubing / Cloth tube cover (Tube Cosy, bubble wrap)
Close window / Heat room
Position CPAP machine lower than the bed so water drains back to the machine away from you

Noisy Mask

Solutions:
Ensure mask is not leaking and see solution to “excessive mask leaks”
If moisture in small mask “exhalation” holes: wipe out with tissue and see solutions to “Condensation”

Pressure Feels Too Strong / Difficult to Breathing Out

Solutions:
Ensure no leaks
Re-activate ramp (pressure starts low and gradually increases)
Reduce ramp minimum pressure or extend ramp time
Initiate or increase EPR / C-Flex (some machines can reduce pressure upon exhalation)
Give yourself time to get used to it
Seek help from CPAP therapist or Sleep Doctor. Pressure may need to be reduced permanently or reduced and gradually increased over time. Another sleep study may be required

Waking up with mask off

Solutions:
Ensure mask is comfortable and not leaking
Trial increasing humidifier
Seek advice from CPAP therapist or Sleep doctor and have your machine downloaded. High leak may be present at time mask is taken off or pressure may be inadequate

Poor Sleep with CPAP / Tired

Solutions:
Expected in the first 2 weeks
Ensure mask is comfortable
Ensure no leaks
Trial chin strap or full face mask due to mouth breathing or alternative mask via CPAP therapist
Give yourself time to get used to it. Could trial in the day
Seek help from CPAP therapist or Sleep Doctor and have your machine downloaded. Another sleep study may be required

Snoring

Solutions:
May cease once ramp period is over
Ensure no leaks
Trial avoiding sleeping on your back
Seek help from CPAP therapist or Sleep doctor. Pressure may need to be increased or another sleep study performed

Machine Noisy / Machine Stopped Working / Humidifier Not Heating

Solutions:
Check power point on and working
Check everything is put together correctly
Check for broken parts
Check heater plate is getting warm

Claustrophobia

Solutions:
Trial mask during the day. Hold on face if required. Watch television or listen to music to relax and distract yourself
Trial alternative masks via CPAP therapist
Discuss alternatives to CPAP with your Sleep Doctor

Difficulty Falling Asleep with CPAP

Solutions:
Practice good sleep hygiene. Eg. go to bed when tired, wind down before bed, avoid caffeine/alcohol/computer/phone/cigarettes before bed
Give yourself time to get used to it. Could trial in the day
Wear mask consistently to get into a routine
Ensure mask is comfortable with no leaks
Re-activate ramp. Initiate or increase EPR / C-Flex
Reduce ramp minimum pressure or extend ramp time
Trial chin strap or full face mask due to mouth breathing or alternative mask via CPAP therapist
Seek help from CPAP therapist or Sleep Doctor and have your machine downloaded. Another sleep study may be required

Swallowing Air / Burping / Stomach Pain / Flatulence

Solutions:
Raise bed head
Initiate or increase EPR / C-Flex (reducing pressure upon exhalation)
Seek help from CPAP therapist or Sleep doctor. Pressure may need to be decreased, another sleep study performed, or automatic pressure adjusting machine (APAP) trialled

Headache

Solutions:
Loosen mask straps
Seek help from CPAP therapist, Sleep Doctor or GP
Trial alternative mask via CPAP retailer or CPAP therapist

Ear Pain / Chest Pain

Solutions:
Seek medical advice from GP or Sleep Doctor