March 12, 2021
March 12, 2021

How To Setup Your CPAP Machine

After completing your sleep study, the healthcare provider will let you know which kind of sleep apnea you have (central or obstructive sleep apnea. Next, you will receive your prescription from your sleep specialist which will allow you to purchase a CPAP machine.

If you are just beginning on your CPAP journey, the CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine can be a confusing thing to understand. There are so many settings and modes, many people do not know where to begin. No need to worry, we are here to help! In this post, we are going to discuss how to assemble and set up your ResMed AirSense Auto 10 and your Philips Respironics Dreamstation Auto CPAP machines.

Assembling your AirSense 10 CPAP Machine

ResMed AirSense10 Auto CPAP machine

If you purchase ResMed’s AirSense 10 Auto CPAP machine, you will receive the machine, the HumidAir water chamber, standard CPAP tubing, the power supply unit, SD card (should be already installed). All these items should arrive in a convenient travel bag. Along with the machine you should have purchased a CPAP mask as well. You will not be able to use the CPAP machine without a CPAP mask so make sure you purchase these things together. Once you have all the equipment necessary, it is time to assemble the parts together.

First, you want to make sure you place the device on a level, stable surface. Then, take the power adapter and plug it into the back of the machine. Connect one end of the power cord to the power supply unit and plug the other end into an outlet. Next, take the tubing out and connect one end into the air outlet located on the back of the machine. The AirSense 10 comes with a built-in humidifier water chamber included. Keep in mind, it is possible to use the AirSense 10 without the humidification feature by simply turning the option off, but I will explain the setup with the humidification option turned on.

Once the tubing has been connected to the machine, you want to open the water chamber and fill it with distilled water. DO NOT fill pass the max fill line as the water could spill out and may damage the device. Close the water chamber and insert it into the side of the machine. Next, assemble your CPAP mask and connect the other end of the tubing into the mask. Now you are ready to begin your CPAP therapy! If you need or prefer more humidification, you can purchase the heated tubing specifically for the AirSense 10 called the ClimateLineAir heated tube. Once you have assembled your AirSense 10 and CPAP mask you are ready to setup your machine.

Setting up your AirSense 10 CPAP Machine

ResMed Airsense 10 Auto CPAP machine with CPAP mask

Now that you have assembled your AirSense 10 CPAP machine and CPAP mask you are ready to begin setting up the machine with your pressure range and features indicated by your CPAP prescription. I am going to go over some of the features of the AirSense 10 clinical menu.

Once you have your machine turned on, you can access the clinical menu by holding the click wheel and home button for a few seconds until you see “exit clinical menu” at the very top. Next, use the click wheel to go into “my settings”.  The first things you are going to see are mode, max pressure, min pressure, and mask. There are 2 different modes, CPAP and Autoset. CPAP mode will provide a fixed constant pressure while Autoset mode is auto-adjusting your pressure on a breath-by-breath basis throughout the night. The Autoset algorithm of the device responds to 3 parameters based on the degree of airway blockage: inspiratory flow limitation, snore, and apnea. In Autoset mode your device will automatically increase the CPAP pressure setting as a blockage occurs to minimize the chance of this developing into apnea.

Next, input your maximum pressure based on your CPAP prescription. You can use the click wheel to increase or decrease the pressure as needed. Then do the same thing with the minimum pressure. After this, you select the mask type you are using, full-face, nasal, or nasal pillow. If you are using the ramp feature which is the next option in the clinical menu, make sure you set it to auto. What this does is have a lower starting pressure indicated then after you have fallen asleep the pressure level will start to increase.

Another important feature is called EPR or expository pressure relief. This feature can ease feelings of breathlessness by 1,2, or 3 pressure points when the CPAP user exhales. For example, if your maximum pressure is 20 and you set your EPR to 3, the AirSense 10 will reduce your pressure to 17 cmh2o (the unit that measures the pressure in CPAP machines and the centimeters of water pressure) upon exhalation and bring it back up to 20 as you inhale. You can also change when this happens with the “EPR type” option. You can have this happen full-time or only when the ramp is on.  

If you are using the heated humidifier feature with a heated tube you can use the “climate control and tube temperature” options to adjust humidification. Setting the “climate control” option to auto will make sure the device uses the moisture in the air to provide humidification. If you want more control you can set it to manual. The “tube temperature” option will allow you to choose the temperature of the heated tubing.

Now we are going to use the click wheel to go down to where it says “Options”. Once there you should see an option called “essentials”. Make sure you choose the plus option which will let you see your sleep data in depth. The last option is “smart start”. What this does is automatically start your CPAP therapy as soon as you put on your mask.  Once you have set up your AirSense 10 CPAP machine you are ready to begin your therapy.

Assembling your Dreamstation CPAP Machine

Philips Respironics Dreamstation Auto CPAP machine

Unlike ResMed’s AirSense 10, the Dreamstation does not come with a built-in humidifier. You can purchase the base model without a humidifier, or you can buy the model with the humidifier attached. Also, the humidifier can be purchased as a separate piece if you have the base model and would like to include humidification in your therapy. Your Philips Respironics Dreamstation Auto CPAP machine should come with your CPAP machine, standard flexible tubing, power cord, power supply, carrying case, a reusable blue pollen filter, and a user manual. Inside the machine, there should be an SD card already installed.  

Like the AirSense 10, you want to make sure the Dreamstation is on a level, stable surface before you begin assembling your equipment. The very first thing we want to do is install the blue pollen filter to make sure we are breathing in the freshest most unpollinated air. Lift up the filter access door and swing it open. Place the filter inside the slot and swing the door closed. Please note that if you are using a blue pollen filter along with a disposable light-blue ultra-fine filter you can place a blue pollen filter on top of the light-blue ultra-fine filter and snap them together before inserting them into the device.  Take the power cord and power supply out of the carrying case and plug the socket end of the AC power cord into the power supply. Plug the pronged end into an outlet then plug the power supply cord’s connector into the side of the machine. Make sure the connector is fully inserted into the machine.

Next, we are going to connect the tubing and CPAP mask to the Dreamstation machine. Connect the flexible tubing to the air outlet located at the back of the machine. The other end of the tubing is going to connect to your CPAP mask.  If you have the additional humidifier attachment with the heated tubing, attach the tubing to the top of the humidifier. Once the tubing is attached, lift the latch on the humidifier and pop the water chamber out. Fill the water chamber with distilled water and put it back inside the humidifier and close the lid. Connect the other end of the flexible tubing to the CPAP mask and you are ready to begin setting up your Dreamstation!

Setting up your Dreamstation CPAP Machine

woman asleep using her Dreamstation auto CPAP machine

Now that you have assembled your Dreamstation Auto CPAP machine and CPAP mask you are ready to begin setting up the machine with your pressure range and features indicated by your CPAP prescription. I am going to be going over the options in the clinical menu of the Dreamstation Auto CPAP machine. To get to the clinical menu, hold down the click wheel and the yellow ramp button located on the top of your machine until you see the patient menu drop and the clinical menu comes up.

The first option you are going to see is “my therapyHere you can set your therapy mode, pressure range and there is an option called opti-start where the machine will start at a high-pressure level to reduce apneas. It is recommended to have this option on if you see that your AHI (apnea-hypopnea index) score is high. The next option in the clinical menu is comfort.” First in the “comfort” menu is your humidification mode. If you are using the heated tubing any humidification settings on the Dreamstation will be locked, meaning the settings have been preprogrammed. If you are using a standard CPAP tubing, you can choose between adaptive (uses the moisture in the air to adapt the heat plate to the conditions around the machine and provides an optimal level of humidification) or fixed (heat plate will remain at one fixed temperature. Next, you can choose your humidifier levels-this is a setting that goes from 1-5. The same can be done for the tube temperature option.

The following option is called “smart ramp”. What this does is start at a lower pressure so you can fall asleep then once you are asleep it will gradually ramp up the pressure. This works best on a fixed or CPAP mode. Next, you have “flex type” and “flex setting” Under “flex type” there are going to be 2 options-A-flex and C-flex. A-flex will let out lower pressure at the end of your inhale and as you exhale, and C-flex drops the pressure as you exhale. “Flex setting” decided how much the pressure is going to drop from 1-3. The next options you are going to see are “tube-type” and “mask type”. In “tube-type” you can choose between a 15mm or 22mm tubing.

The “mask type” setting is only applicable if you have a Philips Respironics mask. Those masks come with a value type of x1,x2,x3, and x4. If you do not have a Philips Respironics mask you do not need to worry about this setting. The last setting is “check mask fit” which will check the fit of the mask to make sure there are no leaks before you start your therapy. You want to make sure this setting is on to ensure the best possible mask fit each night. Once all these settings are programmed you are ready to begin your CPAP therapy.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the assembly and setup of these two CPAP machines are simple. We hope we were able to answer any questions you may have had about the AirSense 10 Auto or Dreamstation Auto CPAP machines and how they go about treating sleep apnea. Keep the replacement schedule for your CPAP equipment in mind and don’t forget to visit for your replacement needs.

Written by Karina Lima

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