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What is BiPAP ventilation?

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Bi-level positive air pressure ventilation is a noninvasive ventilation procedure that delivers a flow of air through a face mask to keep the upper airways of the lungs open, explains About.com. It is noninvasive because there is no need for an artificial airway through the trachea. With a BiPAP, inspiratory pressure is higher than expiratory pressure.

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Bi-level positive air pressure ventilation has two different air pressures in each respiration cycle, explains Cleveland Clinic. The inspiratory positive airway pressure, which is the pressure used to breathe in, is higher than the expiratory positive airway pressure, which is the pressure used to breathe out.

Bi-level positive air pressure ventilation systems provide ventilatory support for both chronic and acute conditions, reports Cleveland Clinic. These include obstructive sleep apnea, restrictive pulmonary diseases, and sleep-disordered breathing due to congestive heart failure. It is also ideal for patients who suffer from acute respiratory failure due to conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is because the lower expiratory positive airway pressure makes it easier for the patient to exhale, according to About.com.

The gradient between the inspiratory positive airway pressure and the expiratory positive airway pressure increases the tidal volume, therefore reducing the effort required when breathing, reducing respiratory rate, and lowering pressure swings of the diaphragm, reports Cleveland Clinic. The patient spontaneously triggers the breathing mechanism.

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