Size matters. But where many industries associate “bigger” with “better,” the respiratory/sleep industry is locked in a race to the other end of the spectrum. In the last month, two companies have launched compact systems for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), joining other “pocket-sized” devices on the market since 2011. All position their products as the ideal, travel-sized solution for CPAP users on the go. And in that respect, all of them appear to offer patients simpler transport options and—for those needing in-flight therapy—relief during long-distance or red-eye air travel. A survey cited by ResMed found 65% of CPAP users say device size is the No 1 reason they don’t travel with their CPAP. Skipping therapy has detrimental effects on sleep and health, so there is a clear need to develop compact, transportable systems for users.

Somnetics International offers three Transcend miniCPAP devices, which debuted in 2011. The Auto, Ezex, and standard options are approximately “the size of a soda can,” weighing in at 15 oz (426g / 0.93 lb) and measure 6.1 x 3.5 x 2.79 in. They come with an optional heated humidifier and a three-year warranty.

Launched in 2013, the Z1, manufactured by Human Design Medical (HDM), is called the “smallest, lightest, most integrated CPAP machine available.” The device, which creates 26 dBA of sound and fits in a coat pocket, weighs only 10 oz (283g / 0.625 lb) at 6.5 x 3.45 x 2.25 in.

cpap_philips-dreamstationGo-500In April, Philips Healthcare released its smallest PAP system to date, the DreamStation Go. Checking in at 5.9 x 5.9 x 2.28 in and 29.76 oz (844g / 1.86 lb), it’s half the size of previous DreamStation devices. DreamStation Go is available in a fixed-pressure CPAP or an auto-titrated APAP model.

Two weeks later, ResMed unveiled its newest system, the AirMini, which it calls the “world’s smallest CPAP.” Weighing only 10.56 oz (0.66 lb / 300 grams), the device measures just 5.4 x 3.3 x 2 in and is equipped with ResMed’s AutoSet functionality as well as a built-in humidification system.

Naturally, patients’ homes remain the primary setting for CPAP use. As such, the industry will continue to invest the majority of its research and development on products for bedside systems. But for the subsegment of travel CPAP, it’s clear that the need to be smaller, lighter, quieter, and longer-lasting will drive innovation and product engineering moving forward. As for “the world’s smallest CPAP,” which device claims the title may depend on which spec you value more: smallest in mass (Z1, 10 oz), or smallest in dimensions (AirMini, 5.4 x 3.3 x 2 in). Of course, the number that users may value more than size is likely cost: the miniCPAP starts at $449, the Z1 at $479, DreamStationGo at $799, and AirMini pricing is undisclosed. RT