Prevention of Condensation in CPAP Tubing

Compliance with positive airway pressure therapy is dependent upon numerous factors related to the patient, clinician, and equipment. In many cases, PAP therapy acceptance can be improved upon based on a combination of behavioral and technological interventions.

Adding heated humidification is one strategy; however, condensation forming in breathing tubes can decrease PAP devices’ effectiveness as an obstructive sleep apnea treatment. It can cause patient discomfort, disrupt sleep, and impair optimal humidity.

How condensation occurs

Condensation or rainout is the phenomenon whereby water vapor generated by the heated humidifier turns into water droplets when the air cools down due to low ambient temperature. As water condensation builds up in the breathing tube, the air reaching the patient is less humidified. Insufficient humidification can result in nasal dryness and congestion. The movement of the water collected in the tube can create a disturbing gurgling noise that may negatively impact sleep quality.

Tube vibrations resulting from water accumulation also may lead to pressure fluctuations within the airflow.

Other efforts

Patients try to minimize rainout with a variety of partial solutions such as raising their bedroom’s temperature. Or they lower the heated humidifier’s setting, which reduces the humidity output and as a result decreases its effectiveness. Others try insulating the tube by putting it under their blankets or using a tubing sleeve or wrap.

Manufacturers have addressed problems with condensation by introducing a new generation of PAP systems with heated humidifiers and integrated heated breathing tubes.

However, the majority of patients still have previous models of flow generators and humidifiers.

In these cases, a heated breathing tube is available that is designed to work with any type of humidifier that uses standard
non-heated tubing.

Rainout control

The Hybernite® Rainout Control System is a universal stand-alone heated breathing tubing system that prevents condensation in the tubing.

It consists of a heated breathing tube that connects to a medical grade power supply unit via a plug-and-play connector. Copper wires are carefully positioned and embedded in the wall of the tubing.

These copper wires generate uniform heating along the tube’s entire length, which maintains the air temperature inside and prevents condensation and accumulation of water droplets. Standard conical connectors at each end of the tube allow the system to be fully integrated onto any humidifier and any type of mask that uses a standard tube.

As a result, patients are no longer advised to lower the settings of their humidifier. They have the opportunity to optimize the humidity output to suit their clinical needs and personal comfort. The humidity generated by the humidifier equals humidity delivered to the patient.

Preventing condensation reduces pressure instability, avoids sleep disruption, and provides optimal air humidification.

Rik Langerock is sales and marketing manager for Plastiflex Healthcare, a division of Plastiflex Group.