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BiPAP is a trademarked acronym of Respironics, Inc., for Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure. Other names for this device include BiLevel, and VPAP. The generic name for this device is a bi-level flow generator.

Like the CPAP, it’s a device which blows air from a machine, through a tube, and into a mask which fits over either the nose or the nose and mouth. Its purpose it to provide a pneumatic splint for your airway.


Bilevel machines

Bilevel machines(Respironics terms are BiPAP, Adapt SV, VPAP, and AVAPS. A ResMed term is VPAP.)

Like CPAPs and APAPs, bilevel machines come in two flavors: fixed pressure (like straight CPAP) or auto-adjustable pressure (like APAP), plus other sophisticated features for various respiratory conditions, such as ASV devices. Bilevel positive airway pressure machines have one setting for inhalation (IPAP) and another setting for exhalation (EPAP). Bilevel machines or auto bilevels are prescribed when the patient can’t tolerate a standard CPAP or APAP machine, needs a very high pressure, has central apneas, needs extra exhalation relief, has UARS or flow limitations not corrected by CPAP or APAP, or has other medical conditions such as some heart or respiratory conditions. Some people without those medical conditions prefer bilevels or auto bilevels because of the comfort of extra exhalation relief. Bilevels are the most expensive of the three types of PAP machines, running from about $1,000 to $4,000. Again, with any type of machine, the algorithm and the setting of the timing of exhalation and inhalation needs to be compatible with your breathing patterns, or else the machine will be uncomfortable. Titration and adjusting the machine settings may best be done in a well qualified sleep lab while you are sleeping.

Here’s a technical discussion of bilevel machine settings and various health conditions. It illustrates why you need a very good sleep lab and sleep doctor if your SDB (Sleep Disordered Breathing) is not the garden variety that easily responds to CPAP or APAP:

See this informative article by a sleep doctor about flow limitation or UARS (upper airway resistance) and bilevel:

Bilevel comparison chart

Bilevel comparison chart of various brands and models

See the best selling bilevel machines at this online DME for self-paying customers at

Mike Moran’s humor: Alternative AP therapies

Sources: Based on personal experience with obstructive sleep apnea and gleaned from the collective wisdom of contributors.

Want more? See the blog peer coaching articles on Checking Your CPAP Machine Settings and Changing Your CPAP Pressure Settings at

Not written by healthcare professionals. The information and opinions offered are not intended or recommended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Mile High Sleeper, August 2006-2008. Permission to use for free educational purposes.

When CPAP Machines Fail, Try BiPAP ... _Monograph[1].pdf