Philips has introduced an improved headgear option for its nasal and gel pillow continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks that aims to make patients more comfortable with wearing their equipment, perhaps leading to better sleep quality.
“As CPAP masks have evolved over the years, their designs have become more minimal, much smaller in size, and much lighter in weight,” said Kevin Coldren, director of global product marketing at Philips, in an interview with MD+DI. “The challenge that comes along with that is, because they are lighter and smaller, they're much easier to move and dislodge when the patient moves in any way during the night.”
The company’s latest platform of CPAP masks, which includes the DreamWear nasal mask and the DreamWear gel pillow mask, solves some of that problem by moving the elbow of the mask from the front of the face to the top of the head.
“That removes actual torque right where the mask is sealing, but in general those smaller masks typically have less substantial headgear, so they're not as tightly strapped to the face,” said Coldren. He said these new masks do not need to be tightened as much, but they are a little less stable than four-point headgear that was commonly used with a traditional nasal mask or a full-face mask.
“So it’s kind of a tradeoff,” he said of the choice between stability and comfort. “And we don't want patients to have to make that trade-off anymore. We want to give them a nice small design that's stable as well, so as they move during the night [slippage] is not a problem.”
The company’s updated headgear has a slip-resistant design that is made from a silicone blend. The headgear arms work like eyeglass arms, sitting just behind the ears, and they are compatible with both the company’s nasal and gel pillow mask designs.
Before launching the new head gear, Philips conducted overnight trials during which patients wore the mask anywhere from 10 to 90 nights. At the same time, several other studies and trials were done with the company’s customers in either sleep labs or through the durable medical equipment provider.
Coldren explained that studies have shown that how frequently and how long patients use their masks within the first month is a good predictor of how long and how well they're going to do long-term in terms of compliance. “So what we're trying to do here is to make sure our patients get off on the right foot and make sure they have that a good positive first experience, and we think that will lead to better usage long term.”
The new headgear has just recently been released. “It's still early as far as the market goes, but we know from our internal trials and studies that patients are very happy with it,” said Coldren. “We have seen some of the reports that we’ve gotten back stating that it was more stable and more comfortable and patients are more satisfied with the overall fit and feel of the mask.”