FAQs on Traveling with your PAP Machine

What if your CPAP machine is being checked for explosives?

If your CPAP machine is going to be checked for explosives, you can ask a TSA official to use a new pair of gloves and a new swab to examine the device for explosives. Sometimes CPAP machines need to be closely examined due to the fact that X-ray scanners can’t always get a clear image of your CPAP device.

What if you need to use your CPAP device in-flight?

We recommend that you check with the airlines you plan on traveling with prior to boarding. Every airline has their own rules and requirements, and some aircraft models have power options while others don’t. Check to see if you might need to bring some extra cables, plug adapters, or even a battery pack to travel with your CPAP machine.


Traveling with a CPAP machine doesn’t have to be difficult if you properly prepare your patients beforehand. Sharing these tips with your patients prior to traveling will help increase CPAP compliance rates among patients who frequently travel.

To learn more about helping CPAP patients, download our free ebook “Increasing PAP Adherence” and gain insight on increasing PAP adherence rates within your sleep center.

Tips for Traveling with your PAP Machine

According to the TSA Blog, officers are used to dealing with CPAP machine screenings on a regular basis and recommend the following:

Put your CPAP machine inside the baggage you plan on checking in

TSA officials recommend that those flying with checked bags to put their CPAP device inside the baggage to be checked to reduce the possibility that their baggage is misplaced.

However, those who would rather have their CPAP machine with them can do so  without worrying about extra carry on item concerns, especially since CPAP machines count as a medical equipment and do not count towards your personal carry-on item limit.

If you bring your CPAP machine in a carry on bag, consider bringing a plastic bag

Since it’s crucial that CPAP machines are in the cleanliest environment at all times, TSA agents actually advise against plopping a CPAP machine in an X-ray bin that might be unsanitary, especially since the machine will need to come out of its case to be examined properly.  It’s recommended to bring a clear plastic bag to put your CPAP machine in so it can go in the X-ray bin that passes through the security check point.

Consider using a travel-friendly CPAP device

We know that some CPAP devices can be heavy to carry around; that’s why we recommend those expecting this discomfort to travel with a light weight, travel-friendly CPAP device that works well for home use. Consult with your patient prior to their trip about obtaining a CPAP device that works best for their traveling needs.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease

During an episode of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) where the upper airway collapses, the oxygen level in your blood decreases (hypoxia).  This is terminated by a sudden arousal or awakening from sleep at which time the oxygen level normalizes. This cyclic decrease in blood oxygen level followed by deoxygenation is a result of increased sympathetic activity in the body.   Think ‘flight or fight response’.  During this episode of increased activity, the heart rate increases, glucose increases, adrenal glands release norepinephrine and epinephrine among other changes.  This is non balanced state.  OSA causes increased sympathetic activity which has been proposed as a mechanism behind inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

The good news is that with PAP (Positive Airway Pressure) therapy, reduced sympathetic activity occurs and inflammation decreases which may decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Obesity and Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Have you ever wondered why patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) may also be overweight?  OSA is present in approximately 40% of obese individuals and about 70% of OSA patients are obese.  Could it because their sleep is fragmented frequently at night due to upper airway collapse causing the brain to ‘arouse’ to breath thus causing daytime sleepiness?  Maybe?  Or are there other mechanisms behind this?

Frequent sleep fragmentation due to OSA as well as sleep restriction disturbs many processes in the body.   In particular, levels of our hunger hormone (ghrelin) increases.   Increased ghrelin levels will stimulate appetite.  In addition, levels of leptin (a protein produced in fat cells) decrease.  The primary function of leptin is to send a signal to the brain when you are full.    Since leptin levels are low, the brain will not get the signal that you are full.  This will cause you to eat more.  These 2 processes working against each other will lead to obesity.

The good news is that effective treatment with Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) will normalize these levels.

The Santa Barbara Sleep Clinic has moved as of May 2, 2016

We are happy to announce that the Santa Barbara Sleep Clinic has successfully moved into the Internal Medicine office of Dr. Jeffrey Polito (Medical Director and owner of the Santa Barbara Sleep Clinic) as of Monday, May 2nd.  We are now located in the beautiful, new building at:  5333 Hollister Avenue, Suite 225, Santa Barbara, CA 93111.  Our telephone # will remain the same (805) 681-7378 as well as the fax # (805) 681-7376.  Please keep posted for new pictures of our facility very soon.

CPAP compliance 84.2% this Quarter!

frontimageOnce again, we are pleased to report that our patients are enjoying 84.2% compliance on their PAP devices for the first quarter 2015.  As many of you may know, insurance companies and Medicare use 70% (equal to or greater than 4 hours) as their benchmark for successful compliance.  We are happy to report that we have exceeded our clinic goal of 80%.    Congratulations to our compliant CPAP patients!

Phone lines down at the Santa Barbara Sleep Clinic

As of 12/4/14, we have been experiencing problems with incoming calls for the last 3 days at the Santa Barbara Sleep Clinic.  We are working closely with Verizon to get this solved as soon as possible.  If you need to reach us, please contact Dr. Polito’s Internal Medicine office at (805) 681-1490.  They will relay the message to us.  We are able to make outgoing phone calls but incoming calls have been blocked.    We appreciate your patience.

CPAP compliance improves at the Santa Barbara Sleep Clinic

In an effort to maintain quality patient care, identify trends and gain new insight, the Santa Barbara Sleep Clinic collects compliance data from patients who have been set up on Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) at the Santa Barbara Sleep Clinic.  With a goal of 80%, we are happy to report that we have exceeded that goal to 83% in the 3rd quarter, 2014, and continue to strive for increased compliance among our patients.


PAP compliance data

If you are new to PAP, most insurance carriers are following Medicare’s guidelines for usage.  If your machine is being covered on a rental basis (that is usually determined by the insurance company), you will be required to prove that you use the device for at least 4 hours / 70% of time.   New machines that are dispensed come with an SD card that can be inserted or read by your DME provider (or Sleep Clinic) to prove that you have used the device for the time required.  Some machines are equipped with a wireless modem to transmit the data directly the DME company.  The new ResMed Air Sense unit has an internal modem eliminating the need for an external, plug in modem.

If you have been on PAP for many years and wish to re-order supplies, Anthem Blue Cross is now requiring that the DME company or Sleep Clinic prove that you have used the device for 4 hours / 70% of the time for the previous 3 months prior to ordering the supplies.  This can also be accomplished by downloading data from the SD card or reading the data via modem.


New CPAP masks available at the Santa Barbara Sleep Clinic

We are excited about 2 new CPAP masks that have recently been released.  The first one is the Nuance Pro by Philips/Respironics.  A nice alternative to the popular Swift FX from ResMed, the Nuance Pro’s nasal pillows are made of gel and fit nicely in and around the nares for an excellent seal.  The entire mask is lightweight and has a non-slip strap on the headgear so as to prevent the back strap from sliding up on the back of the head.    The other mask is the new Nano by ResMed.  Similar to Respironic’s Wisp nasal mask, the ResMed is small, light with an open face design, and minimal headgear.  Nuance ProBoth masks are available now at the Santa Barbara Sleep Clinic.

Nuance mask Nano