CPAP Machine Recall: What You Need to Know

A woman sleeps while using a CPAP machine to help her breathing
CPAP machines, like the sample one pictured above, are a crucial sleep tool for millions of Americans.

Millions of people in the United States use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines as treatment for sleep apnea on a nightly basis.

Without use of a CPAP machine, patients with obstructive sleep apnea will have their sleep interrupted multiple times per night due to interruptions in their breathing.

CPAP machines allow patients to get a more consistent, restful night’s sleep while also lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other conditions.

Simply put, millions of Americans rely on their CPAP machines for a good quality sleep.

Why are CPAP machines in the news?

In late June, Philips, a major manufacturer of CPAP machines and other medical equipment, announced a recall of certain CPAP devices in the United States.

As part of the recall, Philips recommended that patients stop using the CPAP machines in question.

Patients should only continue to use the device if it’s a life-sustaining ventilator or if the patient feels his or her health would suffer without PAP therapy.

Which CPAP machines are affected?

The recall applies to Philips CPAP, BiLevel, and ventilator devices. The recall does not apply to CPAP machines made by other manufacturers.

You can view a full list of applicable units on the Philips website.

Why are the CPAP machines being recalled?

The CPAP machines use a “sound abatement” foam to reduce the amount of noise generated while the machines are in operation.

Philips identified an issue where this foam may degrade over time or due to cleaning methods and environmental factors.

When the foam degrades, patients are at risk of being exposed to inhaling the degraded foam itself or to chemical emissions from the affected foam.

Did these problems cause any illnesses?

According to Philips, the company has “received reports of headache, upper airway irritation, cough, chest pressure, and sinus infection” due to exposure to the degraded foam.

What should I do if I think my device may be subject to the recall?

First, you should visit the Philips website to confirm whether or not your device is affected.

If you determine that your CPAP machine needs to be recalled, you should contact your Durable Medical Equipment (DME) company so they can start the return authorization for your device.

If you have trouble contacting your DME company, you can also register your device on the Philips website to begin the process of submitting a claim.

Unfortunately, the timeline for when patients will receive replacement devices isn’t clear at this time.

What should I do if I still need my CPAP machine?

If you’re a South Shore Health patient and feel like your health will suffer without PAP therapy, please contact your sleep physician or primary care provider.

Your provider will review your situation and work with you to find the right solution to meet your needs.

If you’re not a South Shore Health patient, we recommend contacting your DME company sooner rather than later to begin the return process. We also recommend speaking to your clinician about your best options moving forward.

Karin Sloan, MD is a pulmonologist at South Shore Health.