Richmond's Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists

Ask the Doctor: Using CPAP with a Stuffy Nose


Q: I have sleep apnea. How can I use CPAP with a stuffy nose?

A: Nasal congestion is one of the most common reasons that patients with obstructive sleep apnea fail to use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. Positive airway pressure is prescribed to hold the airway open by preventing collapse of the soft tissues in the throat. However, the nose has a more rigid bony structure that is not readily inflated by the pressure. To the contrary, research has shown that the use of CPAP actually stimulates the nose to swell shut, with measurable decreases in the nasal volume and increased resistance to nasal airflow. If you have difficulty wearing CPAP, consult with an ear, nose and throat specialist. There are many treatment options available for stuffy noses.


Read the article: ‘Acute impact of continuous positive airway pressure on nasal patency’

Photo credit: sleepapnea.com


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