Remember the last time you went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription? You walked up to the counter, handed over the script, waited a few minutes and received a full bottle or package of something - pills, liquids, whatever. ""Take the prescribed dose once per day for ten days, with food"", the pharmacist said.

Fast forward to right now. You've just bought a CPAP machine - or maybe you've been using a CPAP machine for years - and you've discovered that you don't know how to adjust the pressure setting. The primary function of the CPAP machine is to blow air at a certain pressure, and you don't even know how to change the pressure? That's like not knowing how to change the ringer volume on your cell phone, isn't it? Isn't that a vital function that all CPAP users should be familiar with? To you - and to most other CPAP users - the CPAP machine is a mysterious ""black box"". Something only someone else knows how to program. You just turn the thing on, put on your CPAP mask and hope your CPAP therapy works as advertised.

So why is that you don't know how to adjust the pressure setting on your CPAP machine? It's a 30-second procedure that takes only a few pushes of a couple of buttons. The problem is that the manufacturer of your CPAP machine has hidden some controls from you. In fact they've hidden an entire menu of controls found in what is commonly referred to as the ""clinician's setup"" or ""provider setup"" mode.

Before I begin spilling the beans about the clinician's setup, consider that trip to the pharmacy one more time. When you think about it, there's an awful lot of trust between you and your doctor, the doctor and the pharmacist, and the pharmacist and you. You've been told what to do, and they're assuming you're going to do it - correctly. You're also assuming your doctor wrote the right prescription and the pharmacist filled it as written.

Taking this trust issue a step further, consider the fact that when you get a prescription filled at the pharmacy, you don't have to go get one pill at a time. You're trusted with the whole bottle of pills and everyone involved is assuming that you're responsible enough not to do anything stupid with those pills.

So given the secret of the clinician's setup mode would you suddenly become irresponsible? Untrustworthy and reckless? Bent on self destruction by way of CPAP machine? It could happen. But I don't think it will.

I firmly believe you are your own best primary care provider - that nobody else is looking out for your health and well being as much as you are. I therefore think you should be trusted with the knowledge of how to adjust the pressure setting on your CPAP machine. Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating changing the pressure setting on your CPAP machine willy nilly, without regard for your own well being, and I'm certainly not providing you with medical advice (primarily because I don't know you and I'm not a doctor). I think all responsible CPAP users should use common sense when using their CPAP machines, and I think it's a very good idea to talk with your physician or sleep therapist before making any changes to your CPAP therapy. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition, and altering your prescribed therapy settings could reduce the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy.

Whether you have a constant pressure ""regular"" CPAP machine, an automatic CPAP machine or a bilevel CPAP machine, getting into the clinician's setup mode is fairly simple. I'll outine the process for two model lines of CPAP machines.

Respironics REMstar M Series
To get into the clinician's setup mode in a REMstar M Series CPAP machine or a BiPAP M Series CPAP machine follow these steps:

  1. unplug the power cord from the back of the CPAP machine
  2. lift the LCD cover and press the two buttons closest to the back of the CPAP machine
  3. while pressing the two buttons, plug the power cord into the CPAP machine
You'll hear two beeps and then you'll see the word setup in the lower right corner of the LCD screen. When you select setup you'll be in the clinician's mode where you can adjust every feature of the CPAP machine, including the pressure setting. Below is the list of settings you can cycle through on a REMstar Plus M Series:
  • CPAP Pressure (only in provider setup mode)
  • Altitude
  • Fine Pressure Adjustment (only in provider setup mode)
  • C-Flex Setting
  • Ramp Time
  • Ramp Start Pressure
  • Mask Alert
  • Auto Off
  • Patient Reminder (only in provider setup mode)

Puritan Bennett GoodKnight 420 Series
To get into the clinician's setup mode in a 420 series CPAP machine follow these steps:

  1. make sure the CPAP machine is plugged in
  2. find the secret button beneath the two ""o""s in the word GoodKnight which appears just above the LCD screen
  3. press the secret button and the Information Access button simultaneously for 2 or 3 seconds.
The CPAP machine will now be in the provider setup mode. Press the Information Access button to cycle through the list of adjustable settings, and use the arrow buttons to make adjustments. Below is a list of settings you can cycle through on a Puritan Bennett 420G:
  • CPAP Pressure (only in provider setup mode)
  • Ramp Time
  • Ramp Start Pressure
  • Hour Meter Value (which cannot be adjusted)
  • Compliance Meter Value (which can only be reset to 0)
  • Offset of Pressure Sensor (used for calibration purposes) (only in provider setup mode)
  • Machine ID Number (which cannot be adjusted)

PDF Setup Instructions

Note: As of 3/25/2008 Respironics has indicated their displeasure with us posting their ""private and copyrighted for clinician-use only information"". As a result we've removed the Respironics manuals from this article. Feel free to call us with questions.

GoodKnight 420G

Andrew Senske

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

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