Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that affects 26% of adults aged 30-70. The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Although CPAP treats nearly every case of sleep apnea, some people find available CPAP masks uncomfortable. Air leaks can make noise and interfere with treatment effectiveness. Frustrated, people discontinue their CPAP therapy, continuing to snore, stop breathing while they are asleep, and feel tired during the day.
BleepSleep has a novel product that replaces ordinary CPAP masks. Rather than a silicone mask BleepSleep’s DreamPort is an interface that does not use headgear. Instead of a silicone mask, soft adhesive pads hold the interface to the nostrils, delivering airflow to the upper airway to prevent the airway collapse of obstructive sleep apnea.
I met with founder and CEO of BleepSleep Stuart Heatherington demonstrated the DreamPort. I was intrigued by the features and design of this product. In some ways it is similar to a nasal pillows interface: it interfaces directly with the nostrils rather than fitting over the face like a traditional CPAP mask. The DreamPort differs from other CPAP interfaces by using adhesive pads rather than a headgear to keep itself in place. The single use adhesive has been designed for comfortable connection to the nose, creating an airtight seal that delivers air pressure without leaks. The device itself is designed to be light and flexible to allow for easy position changes throughout the night.
BleepSleep sent me a DreamPort for testing. The demonstration unit came in well-designed packaging and contained instructions that clearly explained how to apply the DreamPort adhesives and connect it to a CPAP tube. The first step is to clean the skin around the nose to remove excess skin oils and cells. Then the DreamPort adhesives are applied one at a time to each nostril making sure create a good seal. Next the DreamWay connector is attached to the adhesive ports and it is ready to be used.
I applied the BleepSleep DreamPort adhesives, avoiding facial hair. I found connecting the Dreamway connctor to the ports to be a bit challenging while in bed. However, facing a mirror it was easy. I connected the CPAP tube to the other end and the interface. The first thing I noticed was that the fully connected DreamPort felt very light. There was no pulling sensation from the weight of the tube or when turning my head. I turned on the CPAP and air pressure was easily transmitted. I felt comfortable lying on my back and on my side. I needed to secure one of the adhesives to stop a small leak, but I didn’t need to make any other adjustments.
It must have worked well, because the next thing I knew was that it was morning. The adhesives had remained in place through the night. The BleepSleep team must have done a lot of research on the adhesive. Even though the adhesives held through the night, removing them was easy. The nose has relatively delicate skin, but the adhesive did not irritate or tear. The adhesive is designed for single use which insures that a fresh set of ports is used daily.
The DreamPort is a nasal positive airway pressure interface that can be used with multiple modes of treatment including: CPAP, automatically titrating CPAP, BiPAP/VPAP, or ASV. Since it is an exclusively nasal interface, it would not work well for people who require an oral/nasal mask. It also may not fit well with someone who has a full moustache, because facial hair may prevent the adhesive from making a seal.
BleepSleep DreamPort is now FDA approved and is in the process of production and marketing. It will be available to patients soon.