You may have heard that CPAP masks are universally compatible across machines.
Yes, it’s true! You really can use any CPAP mask with any CPAP or BiPAP machine, with one exception.
It’s common to think you need a certain kind of mask to fit your machine – but why is that? There are a few different issues that arise and leave people confused on mask compatibility.
We’ll go through all the ways you might have found yourself thinking masks are not universal, and the one scenario where you will need different supplies than usual.
Here are different ways masks connections can be confusing:
- Elbows are part of the mask, but can get stuck in tubes.
- Short tubes are part of the mask, not the CPAP tubing.
- Oxygen Adapters work with all masks but not all tubing.
- There is one special exception.
1. Elbows are part of the mask, but can get stuck in tubes.
Elbow connectors are the L-shaped connector for full-face mask designs. They often have easy release options that leave part of the mask inside the tube, so it’s easy to think a new mask won’t fit. What is really happening is that part of the mask is still in the tube. If you forget part of the mask in an old tube, or if you get a new mask but there’s still a piece of the old one in the tube, you’ll think your mask and tube don’t connect!
If you lose or break the elbow, you’ll likely need to replace the whole mask. It’s also best to replace your mask and tubing regularly so that they don’t stretch out. Insurance providers cover CPAP tubes and mask frames every 3 months to ensure they have good seals.
2. Short tubes are part of the mask, not the CPAP tubing.
Nasal pillow or nasal cushion masks usually have their own short tube, which is often mistaken as a replacement for the main CPAP tube. However, you’ll find they are much too short and don’t fit onto your CPAP. You’ll need to remove the short tube before inserting a new mask into your tubing.
If you like having the flexible short tube attachment, check out the brand new Evora from Fisher and Paykel
3. Oxygen Adapters work with all masks but not all tubing.
Oxygen adapters attach between the mask and tube, and allow folks to bleed oxygen into their CPAP therapy. They are universally compatible with all masks and standard tubing. However, if you have heated tubing, there may be restrictions on what style adapter you need.
ResMed’s AirSense has a special version of their heated tube that has an oxygen port built right in, as well as:
- Auto-titration: Smart algorithm automatically adjusts your therapy pressure as your needs change
- EPR: Expiratory Pressure Relief reduces pressure upon exhale, avoiding high pressure mask leaks
- Humidification: 7 levels of humidity and a heated tube ensures you don’t dry out.
4. There is one special exception.
ResMed’s AirMini is the one exception that doesn’t use the universal connections that all other CPAP machines have. Because of its unique HumidX system for its nasal mask options, the travel CPAP has special connectors and tubing.
Forgoing the universal connections that other CPAPs have allows the AirMini to be as small as it is (just 0.66 lb!), as well as include the following features:
- Powerful and quiet: Auto-titrating machine adjusts to your pressure needs as you sleep
- Control in the palm of your hand: Smartphone app gives you complete control over your CPAP therapy
- Mask included with machine: Choose from the AirFit P10, AirFit N20, AirFit F20, or AirFit F30
That covers the different connections for masks and CPAPs. If you’re having trouble connecting a CPAP mask and tube, make sure you have all parts of the mask. If you have a new mask (with its included connector) and it’s not connecting to your tubing, it may be that your tube is too old or loose.
Another common issue is that old elbows or parts of a connector remain in the tube when you try to disconnect the mask, making it impossible to put a new style mask into the tube.
If you’re having trouble connecting your mask and tube, check out the video we made to help you!