EPAP Therapy: What Is It?

September 06, 2019

EPAP Therapy: What Is It?

CPAP Therapy has been clinically proven and labelled the 'gold standard' treatment for Sleep Apnea for a long time. Its non-invasive constant pressurized airflow in and out from a machine delivered to you via a mask has nearly 100% success performance rate. The most challenging obstacle for CPAP therapy is getting people compliant and comfortable with therapy.  

Many of our clients have heard about expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) and often ask us about it. Here at CPAPmachines.ca, we don't sell EPAP therapy, but doctors have recommended it as an alternative method to treat OSA (along with positional devices, oral appliances and surgery) when CPAP therapy isn't right for their patients.

What is this form of Sleep Apnea therapy you ask? Great question. Keep reading as we breakdown down what EPAP is and provide an overview of this technology in treating OSA.

What Is EPAP Therapy? 

EPAP therapy is an alternative treatment option for many OSA patients. This type of modern technology builds resistance on your exhalation to create positive pressure pushing back against your soft tissues to keep your airway open. The theory behind it is as your airway collapses during exhalations it results in apneic episodes or snoring. When positive pressure is delivered as your exhale, it will help to keep your airway open during sleep.

Provent and Theravent Therapy

Two products on the market that treat Sleep Apnea with this technology are Provent Therapy and Thervent Therapy. These products include no machines, masks, tubing or distilled water. EPAP Provent Therapy and Theravent Therapy are marketed as disposable nasal patches you attach to your nostrils and claim to be a revolutionary alternative to CPAP, which is less invasive and lightweight.

Provent and Theravent Therapy are two EPAP products that are attached to the nostrils and assist in helping your airways stay open during sleep.

How This Form Of Sleep Apnea Therapy Works 

Simply put, the technology allows you to breathe in the air normally but makes exhaling more difficult. It's done via mini microvalves for unobstructed airflow in and the microvalves close during expiration restricting airflow creating EPAP pressure. As a result, it keeps your airways open.  Just like CPAP, this type of EPAP Therapy requires a prescription.

Diagram showing how the form of Sleep Apnea Therapy, EPAP, works by creating a resistance positive pressure on exhalation

What's The Difference Between CPAP and EPAP Therapy?

CPAP therapy which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure provides pressure on both the inhalation and exhalation delivered by a motorized machine and mask. While the EPAP Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure is a one-way resistor you attach to your nostrils and creates resistance pressures only during the exhalation process. According to Provent's manufacturers, Provent Sleep Therapy, LLC, Provent patches have been shown to be effective in clinical studies and has shown improvements across various forms of OSA.

Provent Therapy and Theravent Therapy are two examples of how to treat OSA using expiratory positive airway pressure

The Ugly Truth of EPAP Therapy

Whether or not insurance covers this type of OSA therapy, users have reported that using disposable patches can add up. At about $2USD a pair, you're shelling out hundreds of dollars over the course of just one year. Some may argue the cost is more than the cost of a CPAP machine or mouth guard over time. 

EPAP therapy and its products, such as Provent, have been noted in the past as being very expensive in comparison to other forms of Sleep Apnea therapy especially CPAP.

Another negative of this product is if you suffer from any type of sinus or nasal blockage, this product is completely not suitable or usable.  If you're sick for a week or two, you basically cannot use it the entire duration of your cold and symptoms of your apnea may creep back.  

How To Know If EPAP Therapy Is Right For You?

Just like CPAP therapy, EPAP therapy and other forms of Sleep Apnea therapy is not for everyone. Provent has been used to treat mild and moderate Apnea and is not often recommended for those with severe (AHI >30). Be sure to consult with your doctor and always follow your doctor's recommendations.

For us here at CPAPmachines.ca, patients always ask about EPAP products and our experience with them. At the end of the day, everyone is different. It may work for some and not for others. It's an alternative sleep therapy option if you really want to give it a try. 

Remember, with everything, there are always pros and cons and you will have to weigh out the two.  However, for us, we'll stick with the gold standard CPAP therapy - the reputation didn't come without good results.





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