What Is CPAP Titration?

By George N. Root III

CPAP titration is one of the most effective ways to treat the common sleeping disorder known as sleep apnea. But the equipment involved in CPAP titration can make it a challenging treatment to use.


CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and a CPAP titration study is the process that a health facility goes through to fit someone with sleep apnea with a CPAP machine. The CPAP machine is a small pump that pumps room air through a mask and into the nasal passages of a person with sleep apnea, and this opens up the breathing pathways to allow for a deeper sleep.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes a person to stop and then start breathing repeatedly during sleep. This prevents oxygen from getting into the body during sleep, and this can slow the body's ability to replace cells lost from activities such as exercise. Sleep apnea can cause physical problems such as an inability to concentrate during the day, an inability to lose weight or regain lost muscle tissue while resting, and it can also cause a person to fall asleep during the course of the day. A person with sleep apnea never feels rested. In obstructive sleep apnea, the throat muscles relax during sleep, blocking the flow of air. Central sleep apnea occurs when there is a defect in the nervous system that prevents the brain from being able to properly control breathing during sleep. Complex sleep apnea is some combination of obstructive and complex apnea.


A CPAP titration test is administered in a controlled sleep setting such as a sleep disorder clinic, and the patient is asked to spend the night while the technician monitors his sleep activity. The patient is fitted with a belt around the chest to monitor breathing, sensors placed on various points of the body to monitor movement and brain activity, and then breathing tubes in the nose to monitor breathing. The first half of the night is spent with the technician monitoring the patient's sleeping habits. The second half of the night is spent with the patient wearing a CPAP mask, and the difference between the patient sleeping with the mask and without the mask is noted by the technician.


A CPAP titration test is designed to be as comfortable for the patient as possible. Patients are asked to not nap during the day of their test, but they are encouraged to bring anything from home that may help them sleep better. This can include a favorite pillow, or even medication that the patient normally takes to fall asleep. Patients are also encouraged to go through with their normal nighttime rituals such as taking any prescribed medications they may normally take and even watching their favorite television shows to help them relax.

Side Effects

CPAP titration is known to be very effective at helping to reduce or eliminate sleep apnea, and helping patients experience a deep sleep. But many patients complain that the mask in CPAP titration is difficult to get used to, and the fact that the mask needs to be worn indefinitely in order to control sleep apnea makes CPAP titration a difficult treatment to adhere to.

Related Articles

More Related