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How To Read My CPAP Machine

August 3, 2022


How To Read My CPAP Machine

Getting the diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea can come as a shock. Often, patients are given the diagnosis, prescribed a CPAP, and sent on their way. The next step includes ordering and receiving your CPAP machine. When you order through Advanced Homecare, we are careful to walk you through the process of using the machine, what to expect from the first few nights, and how to read the display.

Unfortunately, not everybody comes to Advanced Homecare for their first PAP machine. (You can still purchase your supplies through us and get to know our fantastic customer reps!)

Here’s how to read the information on your CPAP:

Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI)

AHI is the reading you get from your CPAP machine after sleeping. It tells you how well you slept by tracking the times you stopped breathing entirely or partially.


The AHI is calculated by adding all apnea and hypopnea episodes and then dividing that number by the number of minutes you slept. Taking the final number, you multiply by 60, and you have your AHI. See how much easier it is to track using a PAP machine?

In the end, your average AHI measures the severity of your sleep apnea and can also help in prescribing the best treatment. Physicians will consider your AHI along with other measurements from a CPAP to see whether your sleep is improving or if other methods could be considered.


Air Pressure (cmH2O)

Air pressure is a range that will be set by your doctor. Once it’s set, it will be tracked by your PAP. Not receiving enough air pressure can mean you are not receiving the oxygen you need to help you sleep, and this will cause side effects.

cpap Mask Leakage

Leakage is similar to air pressure in that it’s a number tracking how much air you are receiving. If your mask is leaking, the air you need is not being pushed into your body. This will cause negative side effects. Luckily, you can adjust the mask to fit you better. If you need help making the right adjustments, please reach out to us.

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Compliance Tracking

These are the numbers that read how often you are using your mask and for how long. These numbers don’t lie! If you don’t use your mask, you will not be receiving the benefits of a PAP machine.

If your compliance numbers are bad, reach out to us! We’ll help you fix the things that are bothering you about your PAP, or recommend the next steps in your journey to fixing your sleep apnea.

Total AI

These are all instances of apneas. Every time you stop breathing is tracked. This reading is usually provided if there are additional readings that break down the AIs.

Central AI

“During the night, people with central sleep apnea stop breathing when signals in the brain that tells the body to breathe don’t work properly. No effort is even made to inhale. In contrast, with obstructive sleep apnea, an effort is made to breathe in, but because of collapse in the upper airways, air can’t get into the lungs.” (Doctorstevenpark.com)

If your PAP machine is tracking Central AI, this number is vital to your safety.

Some machines have more extensive readings (such as Ramp, which allows the machine to provide less air during the period of falling asleep), and some have less. The readings are important for you to understand so that you can be sure the machine is working for you. If you have any issues understanding your machine or concerns that it’s not working, reach out to us. We can help! Use the form below to reach us quickly.

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