ResMed just released a new full face mask on January 4, 2011, and we just got our hands on it on January 6. The mask - which has been available outside of the US for quite some time now - looks to be a winner and we're expecting it to be well-received by CPAP users. In this article we'll take a look at the Quattro FX in detail.

The Quattro FX is not a traditional full face mask. The most obvious departure from tradition is the elimination of the forehead support found on most CPAP masks to provide an unobstructed view for the user. We've seen this design on a couple of full face masks before, but it's definitely not considered a standard design yet. We're not sure why, because there are a lot of benefits resulting from eliminating the forehead support, including:

  • Fewer parts - simpler design
  • Unobstructed view for user
  • Elimination of what is traditionally the most fragile and breakable part of a CPAP mask
  • Lighter weight and less intrusive
  • Fewer contact points with skin

The first thing you'll notice about the Quattro FX packaging is that there's a sizing gauge included in a separate pouch in the packaging. This part of the package says, "Size First, Open Here", indicating that a CPAP user can open the sizing gauge and use it to verify sizing before actually opening the mask itself. This is a great idea, because many CPAP dealers won't allow the return of an opened mask for any reason, since once a mask is opened it can be contaminated and rendered unfit for sale to anyone else. The sizing gauge is very easy to use, and you won't need anyone to help you with it. You'll just need a mirror.

ResMed Quattro FX Packaging with Sizing Guide
Quattro FX Packaging with Sizing Gauge Pouch Ripped Open

Ideally, you'd be able to use this sizing gauge before ordering online. However, as always, you can give us a call and we can help you find the right size based on measurments you provide us before you place your order. The included sizing gauge is still a nice tool to make sure we didn't lead you astray when helping you determine your CPAP mask size. Here's a table that will help with sizing, even without the sizing tool:

Small3 5/8 inches
Medium4 inches
Large4 3/8 inches
Measure straight down from the top of the bridge of the nose, to the horizontal indentation below your bottom lip. Measure straight down, off to the side of your nose (not along the bridge).

If the sizing gauge indicates you've ordered the wrong size Quattro FX, simply keep the mask sealed in its package and contact your dealer. If you follow this advice you should have no problem sending the wrong size back to your dealer for an exchange for the correct size. If the sizing gauge confirms you've ordered correctly then it's time to open the mask packaging.

ResMed Quattro FX Sizing Gauge
Quattro FX Sizing Gauge - Note the Sliding Size Indicator at the Bottom

The sizing gauge is easy-to-use, and is basically fool-proof. Just line up the top indentation (colored orange) with the bridge of your nose, and slide the slider until it rests in the indentation below your bottom lip. If the gauge indicates you're between sizes, then you should choose the bigger size. It's always better to go a little too big, than too small with a CPAP mask.

Once the mask is opened you'll need to remove the big plastic orange "X" that's installed at the factory to protect the top headgear attachment points. Perhaps this colorful piece of plastic can be used as a chew toy for your dog. Better he chew that than your mask. (See your local vet for details and contraindications.) This bright piece of plastic is there to protect the Quattro FX's new spring frame, so you might decide to actually keep it safe and away from your dog if you want to use it when you pack up your mask to go to Disneyland.

ResMed Quattro FX Orange X
The Orange X Isn't Part of the Mask - It's There to Protect the Spring Frame While in the Package

The spring frame provides the anchor points for the headgear strap. The spring frame consists of somewhat flexible plastic that is attached to the hard plastic main frame. The headgear straps attach to the spring frame on the top and bottom. The bottom two attachments use quick-release headgear clips. The top two attachments are simply slots into which the velcro straps are inserted. This new spring frame is designed specifically to accomodate user movement during sleep. The spring frame is not a replaceable part, so we're hoping the ResMed engineers did their homework and chose a material that will not break too easily. Only time will tell.

ResMed Quattro FX Spring Frame
The Spring Frame Is Forgiving of CPAP Users Who Move Around A Lot

The Quattro FX is available in three sizes - small, medium and large - but the included headgear strap is size medium on all sizes of masks. The headgear strap is adjustable and will fit most CPAP users comfortably. A small and large headgear strap are both available separately. The new headgear design avoids contact with the sensitive area around the back of the neck.

ResMed Quattro FX Headgear Strap
Quattro FX Standard Headgear is Size Medium

The exhalation vent is built into the hard plastic mask frame, and consists of 36 very small holes near the top of the mask. This vent design disperses air gently and quietly. It's very similar to the vent design on the Mirage Quattro.

Full face CPAP masks like the Quattro FX aren't for everybody. In most cases you should use a full face mask only if you breathe through your mouth while you sleep. A relatively high percentage of CPAP users breathe through their mouths at least part of the night, making the full face style of CPAP mask prevalent and popular. When your mouth is open, any air rushing in through your nose will take the path of least resistance. If your mouth is open, your mouth becomes the path of least resistance, so the air will simply rush in your nose, and rush right back out of your mouth. This is bad for two reasons: 1) it's terribly uncomfortable (think "gag reflex"), and 2) you won't get good CPAP therapy if the air isn't stenting your airway.

If, however, you sleep with your mouth closed, then a nasal mask is probably the best choice for you, because nasal masks are smaller, lighter, and generally less expensive. You can also buy the nasal pillow style of nasal mask for a true minimal-contact mask design.

Whether you need a full face CPAP mask like the Quattro FX, or a nasal mask like the Swift FX, give us a call and we can help you make a good choice.

Andrew Senske
President is a leading online retailer of CPAP equipment. Located in Spokane, WA has been serving thousands of customers around the world since 2001. Founded on a belief that patients are their own best primary care providers, understands the importance of educating patients and customers on both the effects of and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. For more information visit or call toll free 1-888-955-2727.

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