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We Asked A Sleep Doctor About The Recent CPAP Recall—Here’s What He Said

Questions about the CPAP recall with Dr. Barone

Since the announcement of the Philips Respironics recall in mid-June, we’ve received a lot of questions from concerned customers looking for answers. Understandably, many have turned to social media and online forums to find these answers. Unfortunately, this has led to a lot of rumors and confusion. We’ve gathered some of the most common questions we’ve seen online and asked a sleep medicine doctor to shed some light on these topics. 

What we do know is that registering your CPAP machine as soon as possible is the best way to stay informed regarding new updates or other corrective solutions from Philips Respironics. We encourage you to bookmark this page as well to stay in the loop—we’ll be adding new and important information there as it becomes available.

Not all details of this recall are known at this time, but we want to address some of the rumors swirling around online to help you navigate the Philips’ CPAP machine recall. We spoke with Dr. Daniel Barone, who specializes in the evaluation and management of sleep disorders like sleep apnea as an Attending Neurologist at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. 

Dr. Barone is also an Associate Medical Director of the Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine and an Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College. 

Below, we’ve asked Dr. Barone to provide his insight surrounding some of the common misconceptions we’ve seen online in the last couple of weeks. To ensure your safety and health, our goal is to provide you with the facts you need to know about the Philips Respironics’ recall and how it impacts your sleep apnea treatment. 

Q: What Are You Currently Recommending to Your Patients Regarding the Philips Respironics’ Recall? 

A: Dr. Barone explains that “every situation is really a case-by-case basis. Typically, though, if a patient has mild or moderate OSA, I will have them stop their CPAP, and make sure that they sleep on their side or incline. Then, we await either a new CPAP through insurance/recall or, if they have the means, I would offer to them to buy another one outright. We could [also] go for alternative treatments like an oral device. Other ways to improve the OSA include weight loss, exercise, and avoidance of alcohol and sedatives before bedtime.”

For my severe patients, I typically tell them to keep on using the CPAP, with the goal the same as above—await a new one or go ahead and buy one outright. I am more concerned about the potential health risks for untreated severe OSA patients in the short term than I am about the potential cancer risk. 

Dr. Barone furthers, “lastly, we are talking about CPAP devices in this situation. There are other forms of treatment for sleep-related breathing disorders such as ventilators, which should not be stopped per the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.”

For more information from the AASM of this continually evolving situation, I urge readers to check out AASM.org.”

Q: If I Don’t See Foam Particles in My Machine Parts, Is My Machine Still Safe to Use?

A: Dr. Barone states, “Well, if you have any of the machines listed, you need to register them and talk to your provider. Just because we can’t see these particles, doesn’t mean they are not there, so the same logic applies as in the last question.” 

Q: What Advice Can You Give to Those Who Can’t Afford a New Machine but Are Encouraged to Continue Treatment?

A: “That really depends on the severity. Again, each patient is a different case, but what I have been telling my patients is as I said previously. Definitely, a discussion with your provider would be needed.”

Q: Some People Have Opted to Use Inline Bacteria Filters. Do You Recommend This?

A: Dr. Barone furthers, “My position on this is neither recommending nor not recommending. I don’t think we have enough data to know if these are effective or not. Can they help? Maybe. Are they ‘bad?’ Probably not, but we just don’t know as of yet.”

Q: What Are Your Thoughts on Ozone Cleaners for CPAP Equipment? What Recommendations Do You Have for Effectively Cleaning a CPAP Machine? 

A: Dr. Barone believes that, “Yes, in this case, avoid ozone cleaners. The way to clean these CPAP machines are the same as always: soap and water.” 

Related Reading: Read our complete guide to cleaning your CPAP.

Q: What Are the Risks Associated With Ending Treatment Abruptly Versus Continuing Treatment Using a Recalled Machine?  

A: Dr. Barone states, “Great question—as above, it really depends on the circumstance, the severity, and many other factors such as the health of the patient overall. But, my rule (and this is just my rule, there is no right or wrong here because the field really doesn’t know yet, unfortunately) is that if the OSA is severe, to keep using your CPAP.” 

Q: Can You Shed Any Light on How This Recall Affects Concerns Around Compliance and Insurance? 

A: Explaining further, Dr. Barone writes, “This is a great point, and I don’t have the answer—it probably is going to depend on the insurance company, the CPAP supplier, and other factors. What I would say for sure, however, is to keep very tight records of what has transpired and when (i.e. “I stopped using my CPAP on this date on the advice of my provider because of the Philips’ recall”). That way, in the future, there can be no debate as to what happened.”

Q: What Are You Recommending for DOT Patients? 

A: Dr. Barone answers, “In our Center, we have sent a letter to patients advising them of many of the things we are talking about [in this article]. Our stance is that if you are a commercial driver or machine operator, please contact your provider to obtain a letter of medical necessity for your insurance and consider continuing CPAP therapy until a solution is available or refrain from performing activities that require sustained vigilance.”

What Steps Should I Take Next?

The first step to take is to register your Philips Respironics device on the Philips website using the serial number found on your machine. If you need help finding your serial number, read this handy guide. You’ll also want to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss the continuance of your current CPAP machine or the issuance of a new device.

If you believe you had an issue with your CPAP or BiPAP machine from Philips Respironics, the FDA encourages you to report the problem through the MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Form. You may find it helpful to read through these questions and answers on our latest Philips Respironics recall update, as well.

Purchasing a New Machine Outright

If you do decide to purchase a machine outright, there are some advantages to buying online. For a full comparison of machine models that we offer, you may want to read our top rated CPAP machine guide for 2022 and our comparison of the ResMed Airsense 10 vs. DreamStation to help you decide which machine is comparable to your existing setup.

At CPAP.com we are committed to helping you navigate through the complexities of this recent recall and will continue to advocate for our customers. You can stay up to date on the latest Philips recall news here and we invite you to join our CPAPTalk online community. There you can learn more about our products and connect with other people who have sleep apnea.

Please note that this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding the recall or any other medical treatment.

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