BiPap and swelling eyes

Posted by magicalladyj @magicalladyj, Oct 16, 2018

After being in the hospital 10 days for a severe bout of aspiration pneumonia, I was found to be in AFib. The cardiologist prescribed various medications, including blood thinners to prevent stroke. A sleep study was also ordered for me. During the sleep study I was found to stop breathing 121 times per hour. Apparently this has caused my AFib as well as other medical problems. I was immediately put on a BiPap. The sleep study determined that the air pressure I need is 21. As soon as I started using the BiPap, I started having problems with leaks at that high pressure. I tightened down the straps as much as I could tolerate, even to the point of bruises and bad chafing on the back of my neck. I only got a couple decent nights on the BiPap before my appointment to speak to the sleep Dr. He reduced my pressure setting to 19 at that time. I could not tolerate the full face mask that included a forehead strap, so I was given a memory foam mask. I was mistakenly given a small mask, which also aggravated the air leak problems. When I was switched to a medium sized mask, the leaks stopped and my sleeping time extended. That's when a new disturbing problem began. Any night that my BiPap indicated that I got 7+ hours of sleep, I woke with an eyelid swollen up horribly. Often there was swelling around the eye, and even a large blister-like swelling below the eye. I did a search about memory foam and found it can cause allergic reactions, including swollen eyes. Thinking that was the problem, I switched to a silicone mask. Last night I got my first long sleep with the silicone mask, and woke up looking like I had been in a prizefight again. My eyelid is swollen to twice it's normal thickness. I have swelling around the eye, and a blister-like eruption on the cheek. So apparently it is not an allergy causing this, but I am at a loss to know what could be causing it. This only happens if I get 7 or more hours of sleep with the mask. Is it from the high pressure or the tightness of the straps? I'd appreciate any feedback.

.Hi, @magicalladyj – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I'm tagging @kmg365 @crookshank @oldkarl @duvie @jakedduck1, who also have mentioned bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines and may be able to help you find some answers with the swelling around the eye following use of your mask. @johnbishop may also have some thoughts for you.

While we wait for the others to join in, here is some Mayo Clinic information on obstructive sleep apnea that may interest you:

@magicalladyj – does this swelling dissipate fairly quickly after you get up?


Hi, @magicalladyj – I would like to add my welcome to Connect along with @lisalucier. I have the full face memory foam mask (ResMed AirTouch F20) and if you have or had the same mask I think the reason is due to tiny air leaks right at the top of the bridge of your nose and into your eyes. I wake up a lot at night not due to the obstructive sleep apnea but for old man reasons ☺. I notice my eyes have moisture in the corners and I frequently rub it off with my finger several times during the night. Before the memory foam mask I had the silicone version of the mask (ResMed AirFit F20) and found a reusable mask cloth cover that you can wash that makes the mask a little more comfortable. It works for several different kinds of full face masks. Previously to the AirFit and AirTouch masks, I tried the Fisher-Paykel full face mask and it had that piece that went up on the forehead and I hated it. I'm a mouth breather but do breathe through the nose some but I have a deviated septum and the nose is mostly stuffed up all the time so I need a full face mask.

I have a Dreamstation CPAP machine with the pressure set to 8 to 18 but it has a ramp feature that I use anytime I'm having trouble sleeping that puts the pressure back to 4 and gradually comes up again. Sometimes the high pressure will "puff" my cheeks open and I wake up and press the ramp button and can go back to sleep. With my memory foam mask I find that having it too tight creates a problem and if I think about it I had the same problem with the silicone mask. I would get a large sore on top the bridge of my nose. What has worked for me was disconnecting the hose from the mask and taking the mask into the bathroom so I can put it on using the mirror and adjust it to be firm but not too tight against my face. Then I just have to go back and snap in the hose to the mask.

@magicalladyj do you have a local medical store you can go to and talk to a sleep therapist? I received some great tips from the one close to me.


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