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Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for sleep apnea

Person wearing nasal pillow that is attached to CPAP machine placed next to bed.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathe more easily during sleep. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in the throat so your airway does not collapse when you breathe in. You use CPAP at home every night while you sleep.

Current as of: March 1, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Hasmeena Kathuria MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine

Research Health Topics

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