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A Short History and Timeline Of The CPAP Machine And Sleep Apnea


The CPAP machines are used to help with the symptoms of a condition called Sleep Apnea, which is potentially quite serious. Today medical experts and doctors believe that over 17 million people in just America alone that suffer with Sleep Apnea.

Here is a timeline of the condition and the possible treatments available.

The First Recordings of Sleep Apnea: Charles Dickens 1836 The first Novel by Charles Dickens was called the Pickwick Papers and was released in 20 monthly parts. A character within the books called Joe, was often described as a “Fat Boy” who always eats and then falls asleep. This sleep disorder is the origin for the medical term ” Pickwickian Syndrome”, which lead to the subsequent Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome. However “Pickwickian syndrome” wasn’t used for years later.

1956: The True effects of Sleep Apnea revealed In 1956, Dr. Burwell was treating various patients who often experienced congestive heart failure, extreme sleepiness or fatigue, as well as improper airflow to the lungs; or respiratory failure. He told the story of an overweight business man who whilst playing poker missed out on the chance to play his hand of three aces and two kings, because he fall asleep. This is the first time ” Pickwickian Syndrome” was recorded as a actually medical condition.

1965: Research in to sleep disorders begins In 1965 a team of French and German Doctors, lead by Dr. Gastaut began to conduct research around the condition Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Here whilst studying numerous patients they discovered and recalled the three different strains of Sleep Apnea. In 1969, Obstructive Sleep Apnea in the windpipe and inserting breathing tubes.

The First CPAP Machine:1981 The CPAP machine was invented back in 1981 by the Australian Colin Sullivan and his team of experts. The idea was straight forward and involved the idea of reversing how a vacuum cleaner works, expelling air instead of sucking in. The team then applied this idea to a ventilation mask, that the Sleep Apnea sufferer could wear whilst asleep. Although effective this machine was not accepted as a positive Sleep Apnea treatment until the mid 80s.

Sleep Apnea and CPAP machines now: CPAP machines have come a long way since the first models, they are smaller, much more comfortable and make a lot less noise. Since Sullivan’s research and development of the first CPAP machine, CPAP became the approved and favoured way to treat Sleep Apnea. CPAP humidifiers and more cushions are now available to make using a CPAP an easy and comfortable experience. A big step from the basic, loud and big machines of the early 1980s.

In recent years Sleep Apnea has developed from being a mystery sleep condition to something that can easily be helped. Thanks to sleep research and societies Sleep Apnea is not ignored and there is always support if you have the condition.

There are numerous CPAP humidifiers that are available for sleep disorder patients to use.