A study using computational modeling finds that CPAP does not adversely affect airflow velocity or cause harmful levels of shear stress on lung tissues. 

RT’s Three Key Takeaways:

  1. The University of Technology Sydney’s study finds that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is safe for the entire respiratory system, causing no adverse effects on airflow velocity or lung tissues.
  2. By using advanced computational fluid dynamics, researchers analyzed CPAP’s impact on the entire respiratory tract.
  3. The study analyzed parameters like airway pressure, airflow velocity, and shear stress, providing reassurance regarding the safety of CPAP therapy.

A new comprehensive evaluation of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for obstructive sleep apnea has found no adverse impact from its use in any part of the respiratory system.

Using a computational model representing the full respiratory tract, researchers from the University of Technology Sydney say they have confirmed the safety of CPAP therapy, addressing concerns about potential damage to lung tissues due to high pressure or turbulent airflow.

“Unlike previous studies that have focused primarily on the nasal cavity or specific sections of the respiratory system, our study has used advanced computational fluid dynamics to understand how CPAP therapy affects different parts of the respiratory system, from the nose down to the smallest airways in the lungs,” says Suvash Saha, PhD, lead researcher for the study senior lecturer of mechanical engineering, in a release. 

Safety Across the Entire Respiratory Tract

Saha says the results provide reassurance that CPAP therapy, while increasing airway pressure to prevent blockage during sleep, does not adversely affect airflow velocity or cause harmful levels of shear stress on lung tissues.

“Our study helps dispel doubts about the safety of CPAP therapy by systematically analyzing various parameters like airway pressure, airflow velocity, and shear stress,” Saha says in a release. “This contributes to a better understanding of how CPAP supports the airway without causing additional strain or damage.

Optimizing Treatment Strategies

“Knowing the detailed impacts of CPAP therapy provides insights that could help optimize treatment strategies for obstructive sleep apnea, something that is particularly valuable for medical practitioners looking to balance the benefits of airway stability provided by CPAP with the comfort and safety of their patients.

“Interestingly research is now supporting the use of CPAP as a simple and safe approach to improving lung growth and breathing for premature infants, and our results may also support that application of the technology.”

The study’s results have been published in Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology.

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