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BiPAP humidifiers running dry as I sleep

My humidifier tanks have run dry three times in the last 2 weeks. This leaves my breathing hot, dry compressed air. I can bring the water tanks up to snuff by using a drop of dish detergent and rinsing with hot tap water. (This gets the smell of 'baked aluminum' out of the tank.) My lungs, however, don't seem to be as resilient. They actually seem damaged this time. This has been happening for several years now, every winter. None of my pulmonologists or RTTs have any suggestions. Has this happened to anyone else? Any advice? I've been using the Trilogey 100 and EVO. This has happened with both

  1. Hi Leon:
    It seems that the Trilogy series of machines do not have an alarm for when the humidifier runs dry.

    All I can come up with is to set an alarm to wake me up to change tanks. Seems that I may lose some sleep over this, but its better than breathing hot dry air.
    (Odd that I hadn't thought of it some time ago...)

    Anyway: the best to ya!

    1. Hi again, willdoe, and thanks for your latest reply about humidification, above. As best as I can tell, the Philips Trilogy series of ventilators do not come with an integral humidification system. I would say the humidification system is an add-on option to the basic ventilator. A humidifier can be selected or chosen, that would have a built in alarm function. That would be a solution for what you are dealing with.

      I do, however, like the solution you came up with for your present configuration. I hate to think you have to wake up to make the changes yourself, but if you find that is what works for you, that should also solve the problem.

      Please do keep us posted as to how this all turns out for you!

      Wishing you well,
      Leon (site moderator

  2. Thank you, Leon.
    One of the RTTs that I mentioned was maintaining the Trilogy 100. She left the company January before last and may simply have not known about the alarm. I had presumed that there was no answer but will now contact my supplier tomorrow.
    (I find it odd that 2 pulmonologists were unaware of this. I haven't mentioned this too my most recent pulmon.)

    The results, so far has been the need for a liter more O2 while doing things that already sap my oxygen. Like changing the sheets on my bed. I'm sure that I have damaged my lungs even more.
    My resting O2 seems to not have been affected too much but I do need to start up again sooner when getting coffee etc.

    Thanks for the prompt attention, Leon!

    1. Hi again, willdoe, and thanks yet again, for this recent explanation, above, I'm glad to have been of some assistance. Glad to hear you now plan on discussing this further with the supplier - good luck!
      Not all pulmonologists are well versed in the technical aspects of respiratory therapy equipment although, some are. Since you two were not (and you haven't mentioned this as yet to your current doctor), it's a good idea that you are reaching out to the equipment supplier. Someone there (perhaps a respiratory clinical manager), should be able to assist you. If for some reason they are unable to, you may want to suggest they contact the manufacturer of the equipment you are using.

      Please do check back and let us know how this all turns out for you.

      Leon (site moderator

  3. The point is that it runs dry while I am still asleep and can't refill it. The heating element keeps heating the now empty reservoir, which has an aluminum base. The result is the opposite of humid air, it is now hot and dry air. This dries my lungs and thickens the mucus, which now sticks to my already reduces air-sacks. This makes it more difficult to breath, and more difficult to remove the thickened mucus.

    Now, it seems that this may have damaged some of the air-sacks. (Not telling how long I was asleep breathing the hot-metal air. In the morning, the reservoir smells of scorched aluminum.)
    It isn't a question of refilling the water tank. It's that I continue to sleep once that it has run dry.

    Hope this clarified the situation for you, Leon.

    The best!

    1. Hi again willdoe, and thank you for the clarification! I thought I might have misunderstood what you had explained the first time around so, I appreciate your further description.
      Now, I am even more puzzled. Please, bear with me! Some of those humidifiers. with heating elements and an aluminum base, are supposed to have integral safety alarms and/or safety shut off switches! These integral adjuncts are designed for just those instances when the humidifier runs dry - they are supposed to protect the patient from the type of situation you have found yourself in! And, these circumstances are not that uncommon in patient care systems such as these!
      From my professional perspective, the equipment supplier and/or physician should be able to easily resolve this for you. If they aren't, you may want to speak to those in charge at the equipment supply company.
      Wishing you well,
      Leon (site moderator

  4. Hi , and thanks for your post. You've got my stumped! I can understand that the humidifiers may be running out of water on the overnight. However, I would think they just need to be refilled when this occurs.
    What is really puzzling (for me), is that the pulmonologist(s) and the respiratory therapists cannot resolve this for you. That is their specialty!

    Perhaps others in our community with this type of experience, will weigh in with their suggestions / opinions as well.

    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator

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