Contraindications of CPAP

Written by patrick gleeson, ph. d., registered investment adv
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Contraindications of CPAP
EMS technicians should avoid using CPAP devices on some patients. (young pharmacy technician image by Leticia Wilson from

CPAP stands for "continuous positive airway pressure," and consists of a procedure, sometimes an emergency medical service (EMS) procedure, applied to a breathing patient to increase the remaining oxygen in the lungs at the completion of normal exhalation. The procedure employs one of several devices, such as a respironics instrument, to assist breathing for asthma patients and patients who experience chest trauma, such as a stab wound, or who have nearly drowned. But, as several doctors have noted, not all breathing conditions will benefit from CPAP, and in other situations the medical team should avoid using the procedure.

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Heart Conditions that Contraindicate CPAP

Patients with cardiac arrhythmia symptoms, particularly if severe, should not use a CPAP device. This holds true as well for patients with coronary heart disease or a history of strokes or seizures, and for patients with pathologically low blood pressure.

Lung Diseases that Contraindicate CPAP

Patients with bullous lung disease or pneumothorax should avoid CPAP. A bulla consists of a blister interior to the lung and filled with fluid. It often results from emphysema. Symptoms include shortness of breath, usually worsening, and general respiratory distress, treatable through pulmonary therapy. Pneumothorax, a treatable condition where the lung has partially collapsed, can result from a lung disease or, often, from an injury.

Other Contraindications for CPAP

Severe epistaxis (nosebleeds) contraindicates CPAP. Medical personnel should also avoid CPAP with unconscious patients, patients with severe apnoea, vomiting patients and patients with severe facial injury.

Partial Contraindications and temporary suspensions.

Medical personnel should use CPAP with caution for patients with CFS leaks (fluid escaping from the brain) and cribriform plate abnormalities, which exhibits as an olfactory disorder. They should temporarily suspend CPAP if the patients exhibits severe ear discomfort, conjunctivitus, serious sinus or middle ear infection and if use of the CPAP device results in facial skin abrasions.

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