I’ve had a few things not quite right with my sleep apnea CPAP therapy the last few weeks.
First, my AHI has crept up from an average of about six to close to eight – about a 30 percent hike.
Second, my Fisher & Paykel Simplus mask seemed to be leaking more than it normally did no matter how much I tightened it.
Finally, the header on the Simplus started to have some material issues.
With all of that going on, I took a trip to my CPAP equipment provider to discuss the situation with the mask and see if we could find some kind of solution or remedy.
The Simplus mask that I was using was only about six weeks old, so it wasn’t like I’d been using it for a year or so which made the whole situation even odder. Over the last week of using it, I started noticing that the silicone seal had become a bit looser and “gummier”. The looseness was also exactly where I was getting leaks. What seemed to be happening is the air pressure on the seal was causing it to blow out when pressure would increase while I slept and was having events. My theory was, these little leaks were causing me to wake up slightly and adjust my mask in a half-conscious state and exacerbating the number of hypopnea and apnea events I was having, thus explaining the increased AHI.
The headgear issue was a bit more troubling, not from a CPAP therapy perspective, but purely from the quality of the product I’d bought. The mask tightens by ways of six velcro straps: two on top of the head, two on the forehead and two on the side by your cheeks and under the ears. The straps on the cheeks started having real problems. The Velcro adheres directly to the material of the headgear, but what started happening was the actual material started peeling away from the foam structure underneath. The obvious problem here is that the straps are longer secure, they float around as the material peels away from the underlying structure of the headgear. I wish I had taken pictures, but I forgot.
The Problems With My CPAP Mask
My CPAP equipment provider said she’d never seen anything like the problem with the headgear before and it was something she was going to keep an eye on. She pointed out something I’d not noticed, a slight discolouration of the fabric where it was peeling away. I thought perhaps it was sweat or something, but it was on the outside, not the underside where it came in contact with my skin. I told her that it looked like the industrial glue that they use to adhere the material to the underlying foam structure of the headgear may have liquified and broken down causing the material to come away.
The issue with the silicone was also something she’d not seen in such a new mask. She really had no explanation for that one.
My provider then immediately called the Fisher & Paykel sales rep they use, explained the problem and the sales rep immediately told her to do a full warranty replacement of the entire mask and headgear.
I’ve now used the CPAP mask replacement for a few nights and I’ve noticed straight away that the headgear is “stiffer”. My original CPAP mask was right out of the package as well, but the headgear was loose and malleable. I don’t really have an explanation, but the new mask’s headgear just seems to be better constructed, we’ll have to see how long it lasts.
Have you ever had your CPAP mask or headgear fail or deteriorate within a few weeks of using it? I’d like to hear about your experiences, so please feel free to post a comment below.