CPAP recall sparks concern; experts advise sleep apnea patients on next steps

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Saturday, February 24, 2024
CPAP recall: Experts advise sleep apnea patients on next steps
After the FDA issued a class one recall for millions of devices from a top manufacturer of CPAP machines, many patients are wondering what to do next. Here's what experts suggest.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Rather than weight loss and surgery, getting a CPAP machine has been the top go-to treatment for people with a severe snoring disorder called sleep apnea.

But after the Food and Drug Administration issued a class one recall for millions of devices from a top manufacturer, many patients are wondering what to do next. Pulmonologists explain what you should do next.

"It's frustrating. It's disappointing," said Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine expert.

That's how he described how patients feel after the FDA recalled certain Philips Respironics continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines.

The recall affects about five million people diagnosed with sleep apnea. The issue is with the device's black foam pads to reduce sound and vibrations.

"It was determined that over time, it breaks down. So these little black particles, it just sounds horrible, will be in your mouth," said Dasgupta. "They can go in your lungs, your respiratory tract. People have been reporting that they have illnesses and there have been reported deaths linked to this already. So it is scary."

While the Philips DreamStation 2 model doesn't use the same filter, the FDA warned it can overheat causing smoke and burns. Dasgupta said the recall and warnings should serve as a wakeup call.

"We just want safety for our patients. Hopefully, we can make changes when we talk about FDA approval and devices and their role in these devices," Dasgupta said.

For many sleep patients searching for a new device, experts say now may be the time to re-evaluate your options.

"It all depends on: What are your co-morbidities? Do you have heart failure? Do you have chronic, obstructive pulmonary disease? Is your disease mild, moderate, or severe? Could it be something like a mandibular advancement device? Could it be some diet, weight, loss, and exercise? Could it be some positional therapy? Don't sleep on your back, or that tongue's going to block up the airway up there," he said.

Over time, lack of sleep and oxygen can adversely affect multiple organs. One way to evaluate your condition is to get a sleep study.

"Now you could do testing at home in certain cases, and I think that it's more convenient for a lot of people," said Dasgupta.

You and your doctor can discuss which options will work best for you.