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ResMed Quattro Air Full Face Mask

Resmed Quattro AirDuring a recent visit to my CPAP supplier, they told me that ResMed had made available to them a brand new full face CPAP mask, the Resmed Quattro Air and they wanted to know if I was interested in testing it out.  No need to ask me twice!

I was quite interested in the Quattro Air because it was billed as being 45% lighter than the rest of the Resmed Quattro range and fewer pieces to take apart and clean.

The best way to describe my experience with this mask is just to come right out and say it, I hated it.  It was by far the worst CPAP mask I’ve ever tried.

During my first night with the Quattro Air, it lasted all of about forty minutes before I had to wake up and put back on my Fisher and Paykel Simplus.  I tried it again the second night and it lasted less than half an hour the second time around before I had to get up and switch it out so that I could get some good sleep.

Issues With TheResMedd Quattro Air

So what was wrong with the ResMed Quattro Air?

Probably an easier question to answer is, what was right with it?  The headgear was nice and soft and it was very easy to adjust in the darkness of night.  The silicone forehead piece is easily the most comfortable forehead part of any CPAP mask I’ve ever tried – it really is a nice innovation on the part of Resmed.

And from there, it really is all down hill.

The mask was just way too narrow for my face.  When I would open my mouth wide I could feel the corners of my mouth breaking the seal of the mask along the sides.  I thought maybe it was just me, but my CPAP provider said when I returned it that this was the same complaint they’ve had from a few people who’ve tested the mask.

It was also really uncomfortable on my face.  The silicone seal inflated under pressure, but because of how narrow it is, you have to tighten the mask quite a bit and as a result, there’s this harder plastic edging underneath that digs into your face.  This was the reason I had to take it off, it actually was a bit painful to wear.

The headgear itself is great, like I said, nice and soft, but the way it connects to mask is with hooks that the headgear straps loop over the top of.  First of all, it’s not really easy to strap into the mask and secondly, it just feels really cheap.

Actually, that was my overarching feeling about the Quattro Air – it just felt really cheap.  The lightweight aspect of the mask contributes to that cheap, plastic feel.

Which I suppose leads me to the whole “lightweight” angle of the mask… Why?  When I first heard about it, I was curious, but then after I thought about it for awhile, it just didn’t seem to make any sense to me why this would be a feature.  I’m not going out running great distances in my CPAP mask.  Even if I have to take it with me somewhere, the difference in weight is more or less negligible.

I really want to put this in context – the fact that over two nights, the mask got just over one hour of combined use is really rare for me.  Since starting CPAP therapy four months ago, I’ve had 100% usage – I’ve never once taken my mask off during the night.  So for this mask to require me to swap it out, two nights in a row after less than an hour each time was a first for me.

There is no scenario imaginable that would ever bring me to recommend this mask to someone else.

At the end of the day, the Resmed Quattro Air just seems like a bunch of solutions to problems that nobody is having.

ResMed CPAP Mask Wipes

CPAP Mask WipesAs part of properly maintaining your CPAP mask, one of the things that all manufacturers recommend you do is clean your mask daily.  To this point, I’ve been taking apart my mask and washing it out with warm water and baby shampoo then letting it air dry.  This has been really effective and is the recommended solution you see most online.

I’d read about the CPAP mask wipes before but my CPAP supplier didn’t carry them, but on a recent visit, they mentioned that they’d just gotten the ResMed CPAP Mask Wipes in stock.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try them out.

The wipes themselves are 100% cotton, so they’re natural and non-abrasive so they’re very gentle on the mask.  They are also entirely alcohol and latex free, which is an absolute requirement to ensure that the silicone on your mask doesn’t breakdown.

Using The CPAP Mask Wipes

One thing I was a bit worried about was the smell the wipes would leave on my mask, but these particular wipes are scentless.  I had found on occasion that if I didn’t rinse my mask out really well, I would sometimes smell and even get a slight taste in my mouth of baby shampoo which could be really unpleasant, but with these Resmed Mask Wipes, I’ve never had anything like that.

The wipes also contain aloe vera which is great for your skin.  Considering the issue I had previously with CPAP mask rash, this touch of aloe vera is something I’m quite happy about.

When I wake up in the morning and take my mask off, I pull one of the wipes out of the container, take my mask off its frame and give is a really good wipe down, paying particular attention to the silicone seal.  It takes about 30 seconds all up and then I just snap the mask back into the frame and get on with my day.

A little side benefit is how well designed the actual dispenser for the wipes is.  If you’ve ever had small children, you’re probably familiar with the wet wipe dispensers where you pull them out one at a time and the perforated sheets come apart one by one.  Those things are a giant pain and more often than not you end up pulling out multiple wipes or like eight of them get stuck in the hole!  I’m happy to report that ResMed have figured this out and they have this sort of dual action dispenser where you pull the next sheet out through a wider hole and then pull it against this other part that has teeth to catch it, hold the next sheet in place and makes it easier to tear the sheet you want apart along the perforation.  I haven’t explained this really well, but I was very excited by it – Johnson & Johnson should take note!

The last point I’d like to add is that these CPAP Mask Wipes don’t replace the cleaning instructions you’ve gotten from your mask’s manufacturer, they aid in keeping your mask extra clean and well maintained.  You should follow whatever instructions your mask’s manufacturer recommends.

I’ve told my CPAP supplier that I want them to keep stocking this item.  For a mere $12, you get 62 cleaning sheets which is great value.  Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so because my provider got a whole shipment of them and sold out in a couple days – thankfully they’d put mine aside for me!  If you’re using a CPAP mask, these handy little ResMed CPAP Mask Wipes are a fantastic little investment.

Philips Respironics FitLife Mask

Fitlife Mask ReviewBeing an adventurous sort of person, I decided that I’d rent a Philips Respironics FitLife mask from my CPAP equipment provider and test it out for a few days to see how I liked it.  The Philips FitLife has always intrigued me because it really is a full face CPAP mask covering almost the entire surface of your face.  Somewhere in my thought process I just assumed it would be an easier overall experience, but honestly, I had pretty mixed results.

I’m going to start this review by talking about some of the things I really didn’t like about this mask.

Issues With The Fitlife Mask

Probably the most noticeable thing for me was that it was quite confronting when I put it on and tried to go to sleep for the first time.  I suppose if you’re a SCUBA diver or something like that you might not find it so odd, but I really found it very noticeable right from the moment I first put the mask on that it was like I was wearing some kind of helmet.  I was almost hyper-aware of the mask and that’s not the most conducive feeling when you’re trying to drift off to sleep.  I wore the mask for about four nights and while that closed in feeling subsided a bit, it was still something I was very conscious of every time I tried to go to sleep.

Another issue for me was that I really struggled to get the mask to stay put on my face while I slept.  The wider surface area means that the edges come into contact more with your pillow and over the course of the night, I kept finding the mask riding up my face and literally covering my mouth with the silicone cushion of the edge – in fact, on my third night with it, I woke up to find it sitting above my top lip and my whole mouth not covered.  Needless to say, my wife said I snored a fair bit that night.  I kept trying to tighten the mask to keep it in place, but then I found the headgear digging into the back of my skull and hurting.

Then there were the little annoyances with the mask:

  • The ventilation made a bunch of noise and on the first night when I wasn’t used to it, it actually kept me awake longer than I needed to be;
  • No matter what I tried, every time I put the mask on it fogged up which added to the disconcerting nature of being enclosed
  • The locking clasps are a bit tough to put on in the dark although they do come off easily enough
  • The spot where your chin and lower lip meet is where the mask sits and I found the silicone irritated my skin a bit
  • Strangely, on two of the four nights, I turned my CPAP machine off and removed the mask at 1:30am while asleep

It wasn’t all bad, the Respironics FitLife mask does have some good qualities as well.  For example, the headgear is very well made and structurally a good design.  I know I said it dug into my head a bit, but I was having to make it very tight.  The FitLife was also exceptionally well behaved when it came to leaks, each night the leaks were under 35L/m which is a very acceptable.

Most importantly, I didn’t wake up tired and had good energy during the day on the days that I used the FitLife.

I really like the concept of this mask and I have to say that deep down I wanted to like this mask, but I won’t be buying one and replacing my Fisher & Paykel Simplus that’s for sure.  I think the idea of the mask is great and I’m certain that over time I could overcome the odd discomfort from being so enclosed, but the problems with this mask just outweigh the good.  I’d really like to see Philips Respironics have another crack at this type of mask because I don’t think they are that far away from being onto a winner and if they do produce one, I’d be really looking forward to testing it out.

3

Resmed Gecko Nasal Pad Review

Review of Resmed Gecko Nasal PadMy first few nights wearing the Philips Respironics Amara mask was really quite painful.  I was getting a great night sleep with the mask and CPAP therapy was obviously working for me, but I was having to wear the Amara mask so tightly that it was causing swelling and blistering on the bridge of my nose.  By the fourth day, it became clear that I needed to find a solution because the bridge of my nose was bright red and very painful.

The ResMed Gecko Nasal Pad

We decided to go to a few pharmacies that we knew stocked CPAP equipment and supplies.  After thinking about things like band-aids and nasal strips, we found the ResMed Gecko Nasal Pad in a pharmacy close to our house.  I had read mixed things about it, but I was in need of relief so I bought it right away.

The Gecko Nasal Pad is effectively just a clear silicon strip that sits on your nose to form a slightly cushioned barrier between your mask.  The silicon softness and tackiness serves as a good material for this type of application and I was quite keen to give it a try.

On the positive side, the Gecko Nasal Pad did exactly what it was meant to do.  My nose felt so much better after just one night and by the third or fourth morning, the redness and irritation were gone entirely.  Cleaning the Gecko is a snap; run it under some hot water with a bit of baby shampoo and you’re done.

Downsides of the Gecko Nasal Pad

The big thing I was concerned about with this kind of barrier between my face and the mask were obvious leaks.  I’d say about 80% of the time the seal was great and there were no problems with leaks, but every now and then the nasal pad would cause air leakages into the corner of my eyes.  I’d then need to remove the mask, reset the nasal pad and put the mask back on.

The biggest flaw with the Gecko Nasal Pad is that it doesn’t really adhere to your face, it sort of balances precariously on the bridge of your nose and you use the mask to pin it to your face.  I was able to put on my mask by myself if I was laying on my back, but standing up was a challenge – I didn’t like the fact that putting my CPAP mask on at night had become a team sport.

Another problem was if the nasal pad slipped slightly or wasn’t in the right place when you put the mask on.  In this circumstance, you can end up with a piece of silicon touching the corner of your eyelid and if you have long eyelashes, it can be quite annoying.

When I switched to my Fisher and Paykel Simplus mask I was able to abandon the pad because the Simplus doesn’t irritate my nose at all.  With that said, if you have irritation or blistering on the bridge of your nose, then the ResMed Gecko Nasal Pad is something I highly recommend because it did work for me!

Do you have one of these nose pads or maybe another solution?  Leave a comment below telling us about it!

2

Philips Respironics Amara Mask

Philips Respironics Amara MaskThe 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.

7

Fisher & Paykel Simplus Mask

Fisher Paykel Simplus Full Face MaskWhen I did my sleep study in the hospital, the first mask that they tested me with was the Fisher & Paykel Simplus Mask.  The sleep technician said that this new mask was getting great results for most people they’d tested it on and that it was now the first one they tried for anyone who needed a full face mask.

Within a couple minutes the technician had me strapped in and we were testing the mask with some pressure from the machine.  This was the first time I’d ever worn a CPAP mask and it was very comfortable, I didn’t find it unnerving or distracting at all.  Most importantly, there were no leaks and we had a good seal!

That night I slept really well in the sleep clinic and despite a few “first time” issues with the mask, we had a pretty good result and the next morning the technician told me she was recommending to doctor that I use the F&P Simplus when I started my CPAP therapy at home.

Trying The Fisher & Paykel Simplus Full Face Mask At Home

When it came time to go to the CPAP supplier and pick up my trial equipment we tested out the Simplus.  Strangely enough in their offices, we couldn’t get a seal, and the Simplus was leaking significantly into my eyes.

Fast forward a few weeks and having tried a few other masks, I asked the equipment supplier if we could try the Simplus again.  We went through the fitting this time and it worked a treat – I think during the initial fitting in the supplier’s office they tried a medium size mask rather than the large and it may have been too small.

The first night I got the Simplus home I put it on, adjusted the straps and fell right to sleep.  I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and no pain or discomfort on my skin from the mask.  My AHI and low leakage numbers confirmed that I’d had a good sleep and no issues with the mask.

The Simplus was easily the most comfortable mask I’ve worn to date.  The mask fits securely without being too tight and causing marks or bruises – bruising and blistering across the bridge of the nose can be a real problem with some masks, but not this one.

The headgear on this mask is my favourite set that I’ve tried to date.  The straps are easy to adjust even while lying down, so if you find a small leak or something in the middle of the night, you can quickly adjust the velcro straps without having to get out of bed.  One minor problem that I have is that I sometimes find the lower straps ride up the side of my neck a bit during the night, but that’s easily fixed and is probably more to do with my face shape than anything else.

Cleaning The Simplus CPAP Mask

The clips on the Fisher & Paykel Simplus Full Face Mask make taking it on and off a breeze.  It has a very nice “catch” system that is secure when engaged but very easily removed with a quick flick of the wrist.

The mask is also incredibly easy to clean and service because the frame and the mask come apart and clip together so easily.  You can literally remove the mask from the frame with one hand and snap it back in place just as quickly.  The frame has been designed to work with all three sizes of masks: small, medium and large. I clean the mask in the morning with warm water and a little Baby Shampoo. I haven’t tried the CPAP cleaning wipes that you can buy online just yet but will post a review of these when I do.

Having tried masks from all of the major suppliers of CPAP masks, I am convinced that the Fisher & Paykel Simplus is by far the easiest to use and most comfortable CPAP full face mask on the market today.

Fisher Paykel Icon+ CPAP Machine

Fisher & Paykel Icon+Right from the moment I realized I was probably going to need a CPAP device, I knew that I wanted the Fisher & Paykel Icon+ CPAP Machine.  Even while I was in the sleep clinic getting my sleep studies done, I was playing around with the demo unit in the room and reading all of the literature they had available on the machine.

Why?  Well, what captivated me was just how stylish the F&P Icon was.  It looks like a really cool clock radio/CD player that you’d happily have in your bedroom sitting on the night table.  The other machines looked like medical devices and while I know that’s exactly what they are, I can’t help but think why do they have to look like that.  And the truth is, they don’t.  Fisher & Paykel has proven that you can mix contemporary design and deliver a really good CPAP machine.

Fisher & Paykel Icon and Icon+

First of all, let me say that this review will really cover both the Icon and the Icon+.  What’s the difference, I hear you ask?  Well, the Icon+ is the next generation replacement model for the Icon, but functionally, they’re pretty much the same.  When I rented the machine for the first four weeks of my CPAP therapy, I rented the Icon.  Then after visiting my doctor after about a month, we decided it was time to purchase.  When I turned up at my CPAP supplier’s office, they told me that the Icon+ had just arrived that morning and the Fisher & Paykel rep had taken away the older Icon models – lucky me!

The Icon+ has a heated humidifier unit built in.  I think this is a great idea because virtually everyone who uses a CPAP machine now uses a humidifier, so why not be clever about the engineering and integrate the two?  The Icon+ has a twist off top that reveals the removable humidifier well.  Being able to pull this well out makes it extremely easy to clean and there’s a handy little line that shows you exactly how high to fill the well up before popping it back into the base unit.  The device also comes with a heated hose, which is very handy!

One of the many things I really like about the Icon+ is that it runs very quietly.  The machine that the sleep clinic used during my sleep survey was quite a bit louder and made a noticeable buzzing sound as it humidified the air.  The Icon+, on the other hand, is as quiet as a whisper.

The major difference between the Icon and Icon+, other than the slight change in colour (the Icon is a brushed metal colour and the Icon+ is charcoal black) is in the menu system.  The newer model has a simplified menu option and in some places is easier to navigate.  Functionally though, as I said, they’re identical.

SensAwake Feature of the Icon+ CPAP Machine

The one feature I really like is the SensAwake functionality.

The device has plenty of bells and whistles that I’ve not used and probably never will – it has a built in alarm clock that you can load songs into via the USB memory stick where you can read your data from and it will wake you up to those tunes.  Oddly enough, since I’ve started my CPAP therapy, I’ve not really needed the alarm clock let alone the one built into the machine!

There are a few small problems with this device though.  My primary complaint is that it doesn’t let me extract my sleep data and view it on my computer, I have to take the memory stick to the supplier and have them print me off reports.  The last time I went to my supplier they said Fisher & Paykel are working on a web based reporting solution at the moment.  I’m not particularly concerned because I can check my data on the machine’s display, but ideally, I’d like to see it visually on a screen over the long haul.

The second problem I see is that because the humidifier is built into the device, it’s a bit heavier than the modular units from other suppliers which can make travelling with it a bit more difficult.  The Icon+ CPAP Machine comes with a nice travel bag that’s big enough to carry the device, the hose and your mask.  I will be travelling soon and I will take my device with me, but I could see if you were a regular traveller for business, you might consider this an issue.

I’m extremely happy with my Fisher & Paykel Icon+ machine.  I like the digital interface, it is nice and quiet, but most importantly, it is helping me get great results and in the end, that’s all that matters.