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Options for a CPAP Battery

Portable Power Supplies Help You Travel Off the Electrical Grid


Updated January 03, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

When you feel a benefit from using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), it's not something you want to leave behind, especially if you take a trip away from a reliable power source. Whether you are camping, hunting, or just traveling, there are battery-operated alternatives available. What are the options to run CPAP off of a battery?

CPAP will only provide you a benefit if you use it. When trips away from home are required, such as a camping or hunting excursion, you may wish to bring the device with you. This may be especially true if your loud snoring is likely to disrupt people in your tent — or the entire campground.

There are portable batteries that can be used to run your CPAP when you're away from a reliable power source. You can start by speaking with your durable medical equipment provider about the options, and the batteries are also available for purchase from online suppliers. Many of the options range from $200 to $400, but it's unlikely that this expense would be covered by medical insurance.

You will want to consider how long you'll need the battery to last. It takes a considerable amount of energy to run a CPAP for 8 hours overnight; in addition, manufacturers recommend not using the heated humidifier, as this will drain the battery even quicker. How long you can expect your battery to last depends on your individual device settings: if you're being treated with a higher pressure, it will take more power to generate the pressure. It's recommended that you test the length of the battery life before taking it on your trip.

If you cannot justify the expense of a CPAP battery for your excursion, what can you do instead? There are a few options that can reduce your degree of sleep apnea during this period. First, you may have some residual benefit from your machine for the first few days after you stop using it. This relates to the decreased inflammation and swelling in your airway that occurs with treatment. You can also avoid sleeping on your back, raise the head of your bed, and abstain from alcohol. All of these factors can worsen sleep apnea.

For those who wish to use a more reliable treatment option, you might consider obtaining an oral appliance from a dentist for use while camping or traveling. A well-made oral appliance can advance your lower jaw, reduce your degree of sleep apnea, and improve snoring. It may not be as effective as CPAP, especially for severe sleep apnea, but it's better than no treatment while you're away from home.

When wandering off the grid, you can continue CPAP therapy with the use of a battery. There are also other options available if you choose to leave your device at home.

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