Non Invasive Ventilation

Some people with COPD may find breathing extremely difficult as the lungs and the chest muscles work harder and harder for each breath. When we inhale
we breathe in oxygen which is used by all the cells in our body to make energy. This process creates Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gas which is carried in the blood to the lungs where we exhale it into the air. If your lungs and chest muscles are overworked they become less able to take oxygen in and to breathe out carbon dioxide.

Signs of this include feeling tired and sleepy and sometimes a bit confused. To help with your breathing and to give your lungs some relief your Respiratory Team may prescribe a BiPAP® machine.

BiPAP® machines provide relief to overworked lungs and chest muscles by giving you air and a pressure to the lungs as you breathe in. This helps to keep the airways open reducing the amount of energy it takes you to breathe and ensures a steady supply of oxygen to your body. When you breathe out the machine drops its pressure so that you can breathe out easily. This machine will be prescribed by your doctor to suit your own personal needs and adjusted if required.

BiPAP® is usually used at night time but can be used during the day if needed. Getting used to BiPAP® can be difficult and you may experience some or all of the following side effects.

  • Dry, blocked, irritated nose
  • Discomfort
  • Claustrophobia

It is important to discuss these problems with your doctor or nurse. They will help you manage these problems allowing you to continue your treatment.