Sleep Apnea

Understanding ASV Machines: A Look at How They’re Used in Sleep Apnea Therapy

What You Need to Know About ASV Machines A good night’s sleep can lead to you waking up feeling rested, attentive, and ready to take on the day. But are you wondering where to start when it comes to getting the sleep you not only need but also deserve? 

If you’ve tried CPAP and BiPAP therapy and they haven’t helped to treat your sleep apnea, ASV therapy may be your doctor’s next recommendation.

Join us as we break down ASV technology, why it can help to improve your overall therapy, and what to look out for if you are considering it.

What Is Complex Sleep Apnea?

Let’s start at the beginning—Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome, or CompSAS, is a sleep disorder characterized as Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), which we see at work in those with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). But how do you know if you have it? CompSAS is encountered during initial treatment with CPAP devices.

Sleep-disordered breathing results in persistent apneas that are obstructive. However, these apneas are not relieved through CPAP therapy—at least not entirely. CPAP treatment may reduce the complex issue, but your breathing may still be labored. 

What Is ASV Therapy?

In the quest to reduce the symptoms of Complex Sleep Apnea, Adaptive Servo Ventilation (ASV) has taken the lead in recent years. ASV is a non-invasive ventilatory treatment, created for adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Complex Sleep Apnea. ASV treatment uses a positive airway pressure machine to monitor your breathing for any changes or sudden stops.

The ASV machine adjusts its own internal pressure delivery using an integrated sensor to detect sleep apnea. The machine components detect interruptions or trouble with breathing during any given sleep cycle, automating the treatment for Central Sleep Apnea.

In the world of ASV devices, the pressure is key. The machine pressure is adjusted on the fly based on your breathing within your set pressure window, allowing the machine to adjust its own pressure constantly. As a safety measure, the constant pressure adjustments can even help to trigger breathing if suddenly required.

ASV Machines: A Breakdown

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are different in a few ways. OSA is a physiological problem that stops the upper respiratory system from doing its job with the muscles and tissue in your throat and mouth. Central Sleep Apnea is neurological and may result from preexisting health conditions to medications.

ASV machines are available to help combat the underlying conditions. ASV machines are defined as a bi-level PAP machine, which is an umbrella term used to describe the technology that helps those with Central Sleep Apnea overcome their problems. ASV machines have the option for a fixed or adjustable pressure based on your needs to help you breathe with ease throughout the night. 

How Does ASV Differ From CPAP and BiPAP Therapy?

By-and-large, CPAP is the first form of therapy most people receive to treat their sleep apnea symptoms. Where most diverge in their treatment often starts with the need for variable pressure. 

Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure or BiPAP therapy features individualized inhalation and exhalation settings for maximum versatility, making BiPAP therapy the next logical step if you’re having problems with your CPAP therapy.

And what do we do if both CPAP and BiPAP therapy are ineffective options in treating your sleep apnea symptoms? There is a third option: ASV therapy, which uses advanced technology to help you sleep.

The Benefits of ASV for Sleep Apnea

When compared to other therapy options, ASV therapy offers several distinct advantages when it comes to the treatment of sleep apnea:

  • Adapts to Your Unique Breathing Patterns and Changes Throughout the Night
  • Helps to Promote Therapy Compliance in Hospitals and Medical Settings Where It Is Most Often Used
  • Ensures You Receive a Steady Flow of Oxygen Throughout the Night, Keeping You Safe and Promoting Sound Sleep
  • Shown to Decrease Residual Sleepiness Following Therapy

Who Isn’t a Candidate for ASV Therapy?

If you have severe symptomatic heart failure or a combination of underlying and pre-existing conditions, ASV therapy may not be for you. 

You may not be the best candidate for ASV therapy if you have these conditions: 

  • Chronic or Severe Hypoventilation
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Chronically Elevated Partial Carbon Dioxide Pressure
  • Thoracic or Neuromuscular Disease

Work closely with your doctor to determine if ASV therapy would work to your advantage. 


Therapy for sleep apnea is not one-size-fits-all. Varying treatment options like ASV therapy can help you to breathe throughout the night and get the restful sleep you deserve.

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