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The History and Timeline Of The CPAP Machine And Sleep Apnea


CPAP ( Positive Airway Pressure) machines give out positive pressure to the upper airway to prevent it collapsing during sleep.

The CPAP machines are used to help with the symptoms of a potential serious condition called Sleep Apnea. Today it is believed that over 17 million people in just the US that suffer with Sleep Apnea.

Here is a timeline of the condition up to now and the research and treatments which were conducted.

The First Recordings of Sleep Apnea: Charles Dickens 1836 The Pickwick Papers was the first Novel by Dickens, and was released as a series over 20 months. In it there was a character called Joe, who was described as a “Fat Boy” who likes to spend his time eating and sleeping. His sleep disorder is the origin for the medical term ” Pickwickian Syndrome”, which lead to the subsequent diagnosis Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome. However the term “Pickwickian syndrome” wasn’t used for years later.

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

1965: Research in to sleep disorders begins In 1965 a team of French and German Doctors, lead by Dr. Gastaut started to research and study the condition Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Here whilst studying investigating various patients they discovered the three different strains of Sleep Apnea. to be treated with a tracheostomy, creating an incision in the windpipe and inserting breathing tubes.

The First CPAP Machine:1981 The First CPAP machine was invented in 1981 by professor and Australian Colin Sullivan and his team. The idea was pretty basic and was inspired by the idea of reversing how a vacuum works, blowing out air instead of drawing it in. The team then applied this idea to a breathing mask, that the Sleep Apnea patient can wear as they sleep. Although effective this machine was not accepted as a adequate Sleep Apnea treatment until the mid 80s.

Sleep Apnea and CPAP machines now: they are more comfortable to use and make less noise. Since Sullivan’s research and creation of the original CPAP machine, CPAP has become the more popular and favoured way to treat Sleep Apnea. CPAP supplies and cushioned masks are now available to make using a CPAP machine 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 in the medical world to something that is widely researched. Thanks to sleep research and societies Sleep Apnea is not ignored and there is always support if you have the condition.

CPAP supplies – Writing has always been my passion and I have been quick to learn a range of writing techniques. I have proved myself to be proficient at writing in a range of online formats as well as crafting creative content. I also work closely with technical and administrative teams as part of my role.