The continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP unit delivers a continuous flow of air through the upper respiratory tract and acts as a stent, keeping the tissues from collapsing. The CPAP unit consists of a small air pressure generator connected by tubing to a snug-fitting nasal mask that is worn while sleeping.
Although extremely effective, compliance with the use of CPAP units is also a significant issue. Many people are uncomfortable sleeping with the nasal mask, and they describe a claustrophobic feeling. Humidifying equipment attached to CPAP units reduces the sensation of throat dryness. Also, individuals with significant nasal congestion may require treatment of their underlying nasal condition to comfortably tolerate the nasal mask.