Here’s why you should stay way from used CPAP equipment.
Patients with OSA- Obstructive Sleep Apnea rely on CPAP machines and different accessories for healthy and comfortable breathing while sleeping. Many patients even have to use their CPAP machine during the day. The problem is that people start looking for used CPAP equipment online in the hope of saving money. However, is it worth it buying used equipment? Is it a healthy and safe option? Can you indeed save a lot of money?
It is definitely true that new CPAP equipment can be expensive. You also need to purchase different accessories, from tubing, masks and up to comfort accessories such as chin straps or humidifier systems. At first look, buying a used CPAP machine might sound like a good investment- you get the equipment that you need at half price or even lower. At a closer look, things are a little different. There are many considerations you should have in mind before purchasing used CPAP equipment.
Health & Safety risks associated with buying used CPAP machines
When purchasing a used CPAP machine, immediately think of it that it is an already contaminated accessory. When buying online, you cannot tell for sure who used that machine, for how long, why he/she sells it and what other underlying conditions the respective person might have (infectious diseases, viral issues, etc.).
Even though the outside of the CPAP machine looks appealing, just like new…inside there might reside many harmful bacteria and harmful substances. Think of it that when you start breathing in the air coming from the machine, you will actually breathe in all these bacteria that come from the mouth and lungs of another patient.
A CPAP machine represents a moist and warm environment. This in turn represents the perfect ground for mold, yeast, bacteria and other harmful substances to grow and multiply.
How about the reuse of CPAP machines in hospitals? This is a very different question and topic. In healthcare environments equipment pasteurization and disinfection is carried out at the highest, most professional standards. This is not the case when buying a used CPAP machine. Yes, you can disinfect it using wipes and disinfectant solution, but you cannot compare this to hospital grade disinfection.
By using a previously owned CPAP machine, you expose yourself to several risks:
- Respiratory infections- these can be bacterial or viral infections-
- TBC- Tuberculosis
- Parasite infections
- Bronchitis complications
- Irritations to your airways caused by improper use of detergents, soaps and alcohols when the previous owner carried out cleaning and maintenance of the machine
- Exposure to pathogens, irritants and different pollution agents
Buying used CPAP machines- Warranty Issues
Let’s take the example of buying a used vacuum. Why is the person selling it? Probably, the vacuum does not work that well anymore, but he wants to sell it while still functional. You buy it at half the price of a new one, and you are able to use it maybe a few months until it does not work anymore. Is it worth it spending the money on a vacuum that you cannot use at all within a few months, and then you need to purchase anew one anyway. Of course nit. The same goes for used CPAP equipment. And CPAP equipment represents medical equipment, not a household appliance. There is a difference.
Once you buy a used CPAP machine, you will not receive any guarantees. Manufacturer warranties are typically 2 years, and the used CPAP will surely not come with any warranty if it is older than 1 or 2 years. Then, you do not receive any replacement guarantees. When buying new CPAP equipment, you will often enjoy warranties on different parts such as tubing, filters, batteries, etc.
You can certainly buy a used CPAP machine with half the price of a new one. However, this CPAP might work for a few days or even months, but when you will need replacements or a repair, you will not be eligible because of the lost warranty. Thus, you will end up spending even much more than the real market price of a new CPAP unit.
With a used CPAP, your doctor will not be able to track your sleep data correctly. The used CPAP will not arrive with the latest software and hardware updates and upgrades. In order to ensure the effectiveness of your entire therapy, your CPAP must come with the latest features. When your physician cannot track correctly your sleep/ breathing data, you will not enjoy efficient therapy. The best thing to do is to follow closely the prescription of your doctor, and get the type of CPAP he suggests and make the correct pressure settings.
The needs of each patient are different; this is why it is best to opt for a recommended CPAP that is suitable for your unique needs and requirements in terms of therapy. Buying older CPAP units, also means that you might not be able to enjoy most modern features that are available on the latest model CPAPs such as :
- Ramp feature- the feature that allows you to fall asleep on a milder pressure. You can set ramp time from 0 to 45 minutes usually. During this time, the CPAP will deliver a lower than prescribed pressure so that you can fall asleep comfortably. When ramp time is up the machine starts gradually to revert to prescribed pressure levels.
- A humidifier system- provides you with optimum, levels of warmth and moisture so that you can stay away from all sorts of nose and throat irritations.
- The latest APPS and features to help you track data
You will miss all these important features aimed at making your therapy more compliant and effective. It is extremely important to not think about saving money when your health is at stake. In fact, you will end up spending much more and you will not get the best therapeutic results, not to speak of the fact if you contact any illnesses because of a contaminated CPAP unit. It is not even legal in the USA to buy a CPAP if you do not have a prescription. The FDA makes these regulations exactly in order to keep at bay a huge chain of problems that can happen if patients start using a CPAP on their own or if they buy used machines for therapy.
If you have any experience with used CPAP equipment please share it in the comment section below.