The first CPAP full face mask that I took home from my supplier was the Philips Respironics Amara Mask. We tried the Fisher & Paykel Simplus like I was fitted with at the hospital during my overnight sleep apnea study, but when we applied pressures above 12 cmH20 the mask just couldn’t get a good seal for some reason whereas the Amara seemed to work straight away and was comfortable.
Features of the Respironics Amara Mask
The Amara is a very good quality mask and it came with very comfortable headgear that held the mask nicely on my face without riding or sliding up. The locking mechanism for the headgear is well made but can be a little tough to snap into place when you’re not used to it. The face mask comes away from the frame easily enough for cleaning and maintenance without being flimsy. The silicone seal has this balloon-like action that adds a layer of comfort when you get the mask to fit properly.
For me, the mask did a good job, but it was not without its shortcomings.
Problems With The Amara Mask
First of all, the leaking into my eyes was problematic. I had to really tighten the straps very securely to make the mask get a snug seal and not leak air while I slept. During my first week, this caused a pretty nasty irritation on my neck. I managed to persevere, but it is easy to see why some people give up on CPAP treatment when the masks are a problem.
Secondly, the mask caused pretty bad bruising and irritation on the bridge of my nose. By the end of the second night using the Amara, my wife and I had to go out looking for some kind of bandage or something to stop the bridge of my nose from blistering. We went to a drug store locally that we knew carried CPAP equipment and masks and found the ResMed Gecko Gel Nasal Pad – this resolved the bruising issue right away but added an extra element to the whole process of wearing the mask.
Finally, my statistics while wearing the mask weren’t great. Don’t get me wrong, I was sleeping much better, but my AHI was still hovering around the eight to eleven mark most nights and my leaks were around 50 l/min. Before going on CPAP therapy my AHI was over 70, so the Amara was working great, just not perfectly.
There were other elements to the mask that didn’t really do much for me or were a bit of a nuisance.
The padded forehead with adjustable slider to move the mask closer or a bit away from your nose didn’t really do much for me. I had to tighten the mask so much that the pads were compressed and actually caused me discomfort.
Probably the two most annoying elements to the Amara had to do with condensation. The condensation would pool in my mask while I slept and occasionally I would inhale it which would wake me up coughing. Also, the ventilation would whistle while I was asleep most nights. I later read that this was caused by turbulence being created by the humidity around the vents. We tried all sorts of humidification and heating settings with the F&P Icon machine and could never get it right.
Obviously, results will vary depending on your face shape and a number of other factors. And despite these problems, I stuck with the Philips Respironics Amara mask for just over a month. It is a very well made and solid mask, it just wasn’t perfect for me.