Difference Between CPAP and BiPAP

There is a disorder, Sleep apnea which is not as common among individuals but occurs in approximately 3% to 7% of the individuals. In this disorder, while sleeping, individuals face problems in breathing. This may be caused due to some increased muscle obstruction in the throat. These frequent pauses sometimes can be life-threatening for the individual, and thus it is treated with some therapies, and CPAP and BiPAP are two among them.


The main difference between CPAP and BiPAP is that in CPAP therapy, the individual is treated with only a single pressure setting of the machine that regulates only the inhalation pressure, whereas comparatively, on the other side, when the individual is treated with BiPAP therapy, they have two different settings separately to regulate inhalation and exhalation pressure.


CPAP therapy is the acronym used for the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Most commonly, doctors prescribe CPAP therapy for the patient. Like its name, the machine used in CPAP therapy maintains both flows of inhalation and exhalation. But sometimes, while using this machine, the patient experiences some discomfort in the exhalation process. They have reported a choking problem during this.

BiPAP therapy is the acronym used for the Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure. Sometimes the cases are severe, or their condition does not require equal pressure for inhalation and exhalation. Then, in that case, doctors advised the patient to go for the Bi-PAP therapy in which pressures can be maintained separately.

Comparison Table Between CPAP and BiPAP

Parameters of ComparisonCPAPBiPAP
Complete TermsContinuous Positive Airway PressureBi-level Positive Airway Pressure
Cost Low chargesHigh charges
Pressure LevelSingleDouble
Typical Pressure Range4-20 centimeter H2O4-25 centimeter H2O
Medical UsesPremature babies, sleep apneaParkinson disease, OSA patients, CSA, patients of congestive heart failure, ALS, COPD
Insurance CoverageNot necessaryNot necessary when CPAP gets fail

What is CPAP?

CPAP therapy is the terminology used as the short form for the Continuous Positive Airway Pathway in medical terms. The short terms are easier for doctors to understand in one go. The therapy is the active solution used in cases of sleep apnea. Doctors have recommended it as the most common treatment or cure for it.

In the cases of Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), CPAP therapy is first suggested, but if the patient fails to respond further, the doctor advises the patient to go for BiPAP therapy. CPAP therapy is a cost-effective one. Through the machines attached can maintain pressure on a continuous level.

The pressure range necessary in the CPAP therapy is approximately about 4 centimeters to 20 centimeters H2O. Sometimes this therapy is also used to cure the short breathing in prematurely born babies as they face quite a difficulty in breathing. The one drawback of the CPAP therapy is that due sometimes, while exhaling the air, the patient has a feeling of choking, which is immediate to be checked by the doctor.

What is BiPAP?

Bi-level Positive Airway Pathway is the therapy that is known by the acronym Bi-PAP and is more convenient for the use of doctors in medical terms. It is one of the PAP therapies that is given to patients suffering from sleep apnea.

In the BiPAP therapy, the exhalation and inhalation pressure is maintained but not singly like CPAP, but in this therapy, the flow is regulated separately according to the need. In general, the pressure for inhalation is always kept quite high, while the pressure for exhalation process the pressure is kept low. The general range of pressure of the machine is approximately between 4 centimeters to 25 centimeters H2O.

The medical uses of BiPAP therapy are quite vast, and it is not only restricted for patients with sleep apnea. The therapy is used for Parkinson’s disease patients, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), it is a cure for the patients with congestive heart failure, in some cases of OSA, when CPAP therapy is failed then BiPAP therapy is given to the patient, and many more others.

Main Differences Between CPAP and BiPAP

  1. The complete terminology for the acronym CPAP is Continuous Positive Airway Pathway, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the complete terminology for the acronym BiPAP is Bi-level Positive Airway Pathway. 
  2. The price range for a single-time CPAP therapy is low, whereas comparatively, on the other side, the price range for a single-time use of BiPAP therapy is high.
  3. In CPAP therapy, the inhalation and exhalation pressure is maintained at a single pressure level, whereas comparatively, on the other side, in the BiPAP therapy, the inhalation and exhalation pressure can be maintained separately, thus having double pressure levels.
  4. The pressure range used in the CPAP therapy is approximately 4 centimeter to 20 centimeter H2O, whereas comparatively, on the other side, the pressure range used in the BiPAP therapy is approximately 4 centimeter to 25 centimeters H2O.
  5. CPAP therapy is actively used in the cases where premature babies are born and face difficulty in breathing, also in some obstructive sleep apnea cases (OSA) whereas comparatively, the medical uses for the Bi-PAP therapy are vast, and it is used for the patients facing congestive heart failure, central sleep apnea (CSA), ALS, COPD, Parkinson disease, OSA patients who failed to respond to CPAP therapy.
  6. The CPAP therapy is not necessary to be covered under insurance, whereas comparatively, on the other side, the BiPAP therapy is also not necessary to be covered until the CPAP therapy is failed in some cases. 
Difference Between CPAP and BiPAP


To summarize the above discussion, it can be concluded that sleep apnea is a life-threatening disorder and must be cured immediately. The frequent pause taken by the individual while sleeping may cause serious conditions, and the same is done by the brain itself. The brain of the individual sends some signals that tend in response and do take a pause in breathing.

Sleep apnea is also of many types but is curable in many cases. In obstructive sleep, apnea is cured by taking both CPAP therapy and BiPAP therapy if firsts fail. Also, central sleep apnea is curable by taking the BiPAP therapy.

The advantage of BiPAP therapy is that the patients don’t complain about any choking senses as they sometimes feel in CPAP therapy as it has the continuous flow of air, while in BiPAP, it is regulated at different pressure levels.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378378220300025
  2. https://journals.lww.com/dccnjournal/Abstract/2006/03000/The_Role_of_Noninvasive_Ventilation__CPAP_and.6.aspx
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0736467901003857
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0736467901003857
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