This past June top med tech company Philips announced a recall of certain CPAP, BiPAP and ventilators. The problem? The machines could degrade, and the patient could inhale small particles or dangerous chemicals.
Unfortunately, to make matters even worse, not only are the machines recalled but they are also in short supply. The United States Food and Drug Administration recently placed these recalled machines on the device shortage list.
What does this mean for those who need CPAP machines?
If your CPAP machine was recalled, it means you may have difficulties getting a replacement or getting the parts you need to get your current unit repaired. In the meantime, patients may find the following tips helpful:
- Register the machine. If you own a recalled CPAP, BiPAP, or ventilator get it registered as soon as possible. This generally ensures your spot on the list to get a replacement or repair for your unit.
- Get an appointment. Take the time to talk to your health care provider about your situation. How to navigate this issue is a deeply personal decision and one that you should not take lightly.
- Take precautions. If you clean your machine, do so carefully. Avoid use of any ozone or UV-base cleaners. If you chose to purchase a used machine get a doctor or other professional to reset it so it meets your needs and be sure to get information about how long the previous owner used the machine. These generally only have a five-year life span.
Whatever you do, refrain from trying to fix the machine yourself. This could lead to unforeseen issues that cause even more problems for your health and may have a negative impact on the operation of the machine.
How are patients and medical professionals handling this situation?
Some patients require the use of these machines to function. Their sleep apnea is so severe that they struggle to get through the day when they do not use their machines. As noted in a recent interview, some medical professionals are pointing out that the current known risks of continuing use of the recalled machine are rare.
Again, we stress the importance of discussing your situation with your health care provider.
What could go wrong?
Although immediate known risks may be rare, what we do not know is the long-term impact. As we have seen with exposure to other small particles and dangerous chemicals, the presence of foreign materials in our body over a long period of time can increase the risk of developing cancer and other fatal diseases.
We know the recalled machines contain polyester-based polyurethane, a sound abatement foam. Although the foam helps to reduce the noise of the machine and help the user get a more restful night of sleep, exposure to degraded particles of the material from these recalled devices could increase the risk of cancer.