CPAP and Upper Respiratory/Sinus Infections

The topic of CPAP causing upper respiratory/sinus infections has come up a lot lately in my world.  We recently had to replace a patient’s CPAP, not because he has an infection, but because he believes that his infection was caused by the  fact that his particular machine is a Respironics Certified repaired, or “re-certified” machine.  I completely, completely agree that we should replace the machine!  Since the patient paid for a new machine he should get a brand spanking new machine.  However, we are not replacing it because he believes this is the source of his infection.  I do not believe that Respironics would risk its reputation by distributing  “re-certified” machines if they were thought to cause infections.

Many equipment companies, including us, rent CPAP machines to people for various reasons.  And we do this without concern of cross-contaminating people!  If I was out-of-town and my machine broke, I would hope that I would find a company that would rent a machine to me temporarily!  Yes, people get “infections” after using CPAP therapy, but the reason has nothing to do with germs in the machine.  You get more germs from touching a doorknob for goodness’ sake!

The real reason for upper respiratory/sinus infections post CPAP use is upper airway irritation from constant air blowing on the tissues of the upper airway.  And in many cases, it isn’t a true infection.  For a very well written explanation of this medical phenomenon, visit  The author, Steven Y. Park, MD is an ENT and regular contributer at, a forum for sleep apnea patients and professionals.


February 2, 2010. Uncategorized.

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