My BiPap

Last updated: September 2021

One of the constant tests I had done while in the hospital was Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) Test. It is a test to measures acidity of oxygen and carbon dioxide from the artery. A small amount of blood is usually drawn from your wrist. It is the most reliable means of checking how your body is moving oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. This test can be painful if they touch a nerve but the pros of having this test outweigh the cons.

Retaining carbon dioxide

When I was first taken to hospital, tests showed evidence that I was a carbon dioxide retainer. Not a good outcome for someone newly-diagnosed with COPD. It means that because my lungs are compromised, I cannot exhale oxygen properly and my lungs are not expelling Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as they should be. I am storing C02 in my alveoli and I am retaining or keeping it.

The symptoms of retaining CO2 are fatigue, headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath along with an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure. I have all these symptoms but I didn’t even think to talk to my doctor about them. I just wanted to push through it.

High CO2 in your body is often presented with low lung function that, if left untreated, can lead to respiratory failure and ultimate death.

Managing while asleep

The time when we retain most is nighttime. As our already compromised lungs behave very badly when we enter deep sleeping patterns. Treating high levels of CO2 in the body and allowing the lungs to release more CO2 can be achieved with a BiPap, or a Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure. It is non-invasive ventilation administered through a mask, with bi-level positive airway pressures.

I received my BiPap shortly after beginning Respiratory Rehabilitation, while I was still an inpatient. It was easy to monitor the results of my ABG tests. I always had a positive reaction to using my BiPap from the beginning.

The main difference between a CPap and a BiPap is that BiPap has 2 pressure setting, one for inhalation and a lower one for exhalation. This allows the lungs to better move the air in and out and prevents the throat muscles from collapsing. BiPAP is prescribed for those with COPD or those with cardiopulmonary issues or who have heart failure.

Although my BiPap emits some noise it is relatively quiet by comparison to my concentrator. When the BiPap is first turned on, the interface lights up then slowly fades as you put the mask on and get into bed.

Morning wake-ups seem to be easier. I feel somewhat more rested using my BiPap and use it anytime I lay down, for a nap or a good nights rest.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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