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How Many Events Should I Expect With a CPAP?

April 1, 2022

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Have you found this article after Googling “How Many Events Is Normal with a CPAP?” or something similar? That’s an extremely common question that new CPAP users ask. When we fit our patients with their first machine, we go through their expectations, but often the information is overwhelming, so we will lay it out today and hopefully answer all questions. 

What is an “event” when you have sleep apnea? 

An event is a moment during which your airway is blocked. Sleep apnea means that you have stopped breathing for at least 10 seconds due to a completely – or partial – blockage of your airway. Your CPAP machine will take over and ensure that you continue to receive the breath you need during these times. 

Your CPAP machine (depending on which type you use) will keep track of when an event occurs. When you wake, you will be able to see your ​​Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) score, which is the total number of events you had per hour. 

What is a reasonable number of events per hour for a sleep apnea patient?

Based on the AHI, the severity of OSA is classified as follows:

  • None/Minimal: AHI < 5 per hour
  • Mild: AHI ≥ 5, but < 15 per hour
  • Moderate: AHI ≥ 15, but < 30 per hour
  • Severe: AHI ≥ 30 per hour
    (Harvard.edu)

Severe OSA is considered dangerous and should be monitored continuously, including regular checkups with your physician. 

“Sleep apnea causes hypoxia (a low oxygen level in the body). When this happens, your body becomes stressed and reacts with a fight-or-flight response, which causes your heart to beat faster and your arteries to narrow.” (Healthline.com) This can lead to a heart attack, amongst other concerns. 

If you are unsure how to read your CPAP, or have difficulty using it, we can help. Use the form below to get in touch with our team today. 

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