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She is using oxygen only at bedtime at the present time. I’m just not sure about putting her through this change at her age. We just recently switched to a different heart doctor and I just don’t know if this is just extra money for the doctor or if my mom really needs this at this time?


She was diagnosed with COPD about 20 years ago and has stopped/quit smoking 10 years ago. She does suffer from CHF/A-Fib, and has occasional swelling in feet and legs, takes a diuretic for that when needed. The Doctor said she has a strong heart but does have mitro valve prolapse. She also has a pacemaker.


Does anyone of y’all’s parents use CPAP at this age of life? Mom has limited mobility issues. I’m just uncertain if she really needs this or not? Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you & God Bless

Your profile says she suffers from Dementia. A sleep study is usually done at a facility. It means spending the night there and being hooked up to monitor. She will be in a strange place with strange people. Even if u were allowed to stay, people suffering from Dementia don't do well in unfamiliar places. They do have "in home" services but even then she will need to be hooked up to something. And she definitely will not like using a CPAP mask. She probably will keep pulling it off. I am surprised she doesn't fool with the oxygen. I really don't see what the CPAP will accomplish that the oxygen doesn't provide. But then I have never used a CPAP machine nor have I had to use oxygen.

Hope you get some better answers.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I believe very few people that have the sleep study doesn’t end up recommended for a CPAP. My dad got both in his eighties. After many months of trying it, going through most every type of mask, and finding his sleep completely interrupted by the machine, tubing and mask, he returned all of it. He told the doctor that it was ruining his plans to die in his sleep!
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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I’m a Sleep Technologist and caregiver of 85 yo FIL with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. I performed sleep studies from 1-1/2 year olds to 98 year olds with various co-morbities. My suggestion is to perform an in lab sleep study and caregiver can stay overnight with patient. Monitoring oxygen level is different when sleeping. Diagnostic sleep study (PSG) is performed overnight in sleep lab monitoring brain, heart, O2, ETCO2, body position, sleep apnea. No pain or needles. EEG wires are placed on scalp to monitor sleep stages. Home studies are available but do not monitor heart, brain or leg movements, just gives us an idea if person has sleep apnea. Many people are on CPAP for sleep apnea, which helps oxygenating the body, opening the airway, sleeping and wake without exhaustion, helps the heart run smoothly. It’s not O2, it’s filtrated air. It’s a very informative test. Just like we need food and air to live, we need sleep for our bodies to repair, oxygenate, and overall health. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions! 🥰
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Reply to Sharonlags
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AndreaE Sep 27, 2020
my mom has many of the same issues as the OP. She was told she needed a Bi-pap which as you know, is different than a c-pap. I'm wondering if that is what the doctor is recommending since the op's mom is immobile and probably is getting a buildup of carbon dioxide. That is the reason my mom needs the bi pap. She cannot expel the carbon dioxide as she does not exhale fully enough. Thoughts?
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For some reason, the CPAP machine seems to be the "NEW MIRACLE DRUG/Machine" and "Everyone"--including Captain Kirk (William Shatner)--is talking about how "wonderful" it is to use. And how "GREAT" the machines that clean the CPAP are.

It all depends on WHY your Mom's new heart doctor wants her to use a CPAP. Does the heart doctor think that there is a correlation between your Mom's A-Fib and sleep? Does the heart doctor think that your Mom is experiencing A-Fib more often when she is asleep than when she is awake? If so, then the pacemaker is having to work more often to regulate your Mom's heart rate.

Why is your Mom using oxygen only at night and not during the daytime when she is taking a nap or sitting in a chair/recliner? Does your Mom's oxygen saturations drop significantly while she is sleeping or napping compared to when she is awake? Sometimes these are indications that the person might have sleep apnea and need a CPAP.

My Mom had A-Fib and had a pacemaker put in when she was 70 years old. She used a CPAP from age 80 until her death at age 87. It did seem to help her sleep better.

I have been using a CPAP since age 50 because I quit breathing for 10-15+ seconds and/or my windpipe collapses thus causing me to wake up gasping for air because I can't get my breathe. Very, very frightening!! If I ever want to "die in my sleep", all I will need to do is NOT use my CPAP and make sure that I am sedated enough so that I do not wake up when I quit breathing. 💤

You need to talk with your Mom's new heart doctor and ask him/her why he/she thinks that your Mom could benefit from using a CPAP machine.
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Reply to DeeAnna
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Not sure how 'strong a heart' your mother has with A-fib, CHF, COPD, a pacemaker and mitro valve prolapse!!!! Let's face it. My mother has many of those conditions herself and her doctor has NEVER said she has a 'strong heart' at ALL!

That said, she's on oxygen at night as well. My husband is 62, and was 55 when he got a CPAP machine. Let me tell you.......it took him about 4 MONTHS at least to get used to sleeping with the mask! He'd wake up constantly throughout the night and take it off, waking me up in the process. I'd make him put it back on after a 5 minute reprieve. This went on for months before he stopped waking up and stopped fighting me about wanting to KEEP the mask off. He hated it. It was bearish to get acclimated to, and he was in his 50's at the time and not a disagreeable human as a rule. Once he got used to it, he can't sleep without it.

An 84 year old woman with THIS many issues being asked to also wear a mask over her face while sleeping may be a bit too much to tolerate, in my opinion. Besides, who's going to sleep with her for a few months to make sure she keeps that mask on all night? If your mother has dementia, a CPAP would be out of the question because I'm sure she would NOT understand why some contraption is on her face all night long!!! Trying to explain things to a dementia patient is an exercise in futility.

Just something to think about. My mother is almost 94 with more issues than Newsweek. The last thing I want for her is another issue, be it a CPAP mask or whatever, you know? I am a proponent of a palliative care approach...........do the minimum medical interference possible and give them the best quality of what remains of their life. Of course, that's just MY take on things, and others will have a different view, I'm sure.

Best of luck, whatever you and her doctor decide upon.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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My Dh wore a CPAP off and on for a few years. He never was completely compliant with it, so I doubt it helped.

A LOT of people simply cannot sleep with them on. They are also annoying to the mates of those who wear them.

My DH had 2 heart attacks 2 years and afterwards, when he lost a lot of weight, he stopped using the CPAP. He has gained back the weight and snores like a buffalo---and I deal with it by sleeping in another room.

On a humorous note, my 90 yo MIL holds the mask on her face and 'breathes the beneficial vapors' until she is drowsy and the turns the machine off and sleeps w/o it.

I have never met a person who did a sleep study who was NOT recommended by the sleep doc to use a CPAP. Hm. Gives pause for thought.
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Reply to Midkid58
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I use a CPAP, and I love mine as I sleep like a baby where before I didn't. However... if your mom has any dementia (like you stated she does in your profile) I would say a hard "no" to this.
- Sleep studies are very expensive and may not be covered by her insurance. My doctor suggested I have one once my deductible was met in the last quarter of the year ($7,000)
- Sleep studies need to take place in a clinic bedroom setting, so not conducive to the elderly having an accurate study (need to place lots of paste-on sensors, etc)
- Finding the right mask that works for her will be difficult if she has cognitive issues; the right mask is essential to achieving the best sleep and making all the effort worthwhile
- She needs to clean the mask daily and maintain the equipment in general (cleaning or replacing parts when necessary)
I just don't think the cost or effort for either of you will be worth the non-guaranteed outcome.
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Reply to Geaton777
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This is a question to ask Mom. Show her some videos such as on youtube of the c-pap. Ask her if she would want to have this. Explain to her why, and what studies would be needed to assess it.
NPR recently made a short segment on the fact that we stop speaking with out seniors and ask EVERYONE ELSE what should be done. Ask Mom.
Going to your maker in your sleep is, to my mind, the easiest was in the world to go there. If now at 78 someone suggested to me "You may die in your sleep of sleep apnea" I would say "Really??? That sounds GREAT". So no, I wouldn't be doing it. For some others they will say "WHAT!!!!! I want that machine!"
ASK MOM. And my best wishes out to you both.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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When I first read the title and your thread introduction, I was supportive of having a sleep study done, but I initially misinterpreted and thought you meant just an overnight study to determine how frequently her SAT rate might have dropped, as a precedent to consideration of oxygen use during the day as well.   

This is how our pulmonary doctor approached the issue of my father's oxygen use...nights at first, keep testing, especially when in the office, and determine if the need had increased to daytime use.  

Since the pulmonary and cardiac doctors could access each other's records b/c they both served from the same hospital, the former could check the latter's records and get results of the periodic pacemaker tests.    So she would know if his cardiac condition was deteriorating.   

Oxygen was used, a CPAP was never discussed.   I guess I'm wondering if your mother is using oxygen at night, why wouldn't this new doctor consider it during the day instead of a CPAP machine?

From what I've read, CPAP's are uncomfortable, and not something easily adapted to, while adding a cannula may be a bit uncomfortable and annoying (especially without the ear pads), but not as much so as a CPAP machine.

I can't help thinking that this new doctor might just be partial to this particular mode of treatment.  And, BTW, how did you choose this doctor?  Or was he recommended by someone else?   Is there a reason why you left the previous doctor?    Also, is this a young doctor or an experienced, wizened practitioner?
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Does your mother have a primary care physician with whom you could discuss the situation? You'd want to consider all options before deciding whether to move forward with the cardiologist's recommendation, and input from someone who's familiar with her health might be helpful. There are CPAP machines that do not have a full face mask, and are much easier to adapt. In addition, it is possible to have a sleep study at home.
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