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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

First Impressions: Resmed S9 Autoset with iH5 Humidifier

I've been a CPAP patient for years. For many years, my CPAP machines have been made by Respironics because that was what the doctor ordered. The Respironics machines unfortunately were all bulky, clunky, heavy and noisy. Yes, that includes the latest and greatest System One. To combat the bulk, clunkiness, and weight, for many years I used the Puritan GoodKnight 420E Auto-CPAP machine. That machine was quieter, lighter, and had a much lighter system weight. It accompanied me on nearly every bicycle tour of the alps in recent years, but had one fatal problem: it was fragile. Sticking a machine in a saddlebag is probably the toughest thing you can do to anything, but the Puritan Bennett machines, when taken apart, were found by Pardo to be not designed for robustness.

Well, someone not-to-be-named killed my Puritan Bennett machine last year, and on my recent Portland trip, my Respironics started flaking out. So I took a bit of time to research if I could have a machine that did it all: lightweight and robust for travelling, quieter (so my wife would stop complaining), but still good enough for home use. (The Puritan Bennett wasn't recommended for home use because the machine wasn't as sophisticated in terms of algorithms for matching pressure to your needs)

Enter the Resmed S9: it's light, and has an option to buy a 30W power supply to make the total system weight even lighter, which is a great plus for a cycle tourist. It's humidification system is as sophisticated as the Respironics. The technician at Sleepquest in San Carlos confirmed to me as well that she received fewer repair requests for the Resmed than for the Respironics systems. It also features a heated humidifier hose, a filter cover (which indicates a design for noise reduction which never seems to occur to the respironics people), and is a slicker looking machine in general (not important, because the ideal place for a CPAP machine is as low as possible, out of sight).

The humidifier snaps together with the air pump easily. The machine has a knob and a power button. The knob gives you last night's statistics (including leaks!), as well as a way to adjust the humidifier and whether you're using a nasal pillow, full face mask, etc. One difference from the Respironics is that while the Respironics would automatically turn on when you started breathing through the mask or nose, you have to manually activate the ResMed S9. The machine is quiet. I don't think I'd ever heard such a quiet machine before.

After one night with the machine, I don't feel any different than with the Respironics. Though (I'm not motivated enough to test one thing at a time) I was also trying a new nasal pillow system instead of a full face mask. Looking at the statistics this morning, it looked like I had fewer apnea events than usual using the new machine (and nasal pillow). Obviously, one night does not make a trend, so assuming there's any interest in this, I'll come back in 3 months and post again.

Nevertheless, as far as I'm concerned, this machine is a win-win-win over the Respironics so far. If you're due for a CPAP machine replacement soon, I would recommend that you get this machine over the Respironics just for the reduced noise level alone. Everything else is icing on the cake.

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