All’s quiet on the sleep front

Monday, March 31, 2008

ResMed is “happy to make noise about noise,” says Senior Vice President Mick Farrell, but the sleep products manufacturer is not alone.
Over the past few months, Covidien, Respironics and DeVilbiss Healthcare have joined ResMed in releasing new products that, in some instances, cut the noise level to below a whisper—and with good reason.
When it comes to CPAP therapy, a machine’s noise level is second only to mask comfort in determining patient compliance, Farrell said.
“If the bed partner can sleep, they’ll be more supportive of the therapy—as opposed to, I can’t wait for him to pull that thing off in the middle of the night and turn it off,” said Kristin Mastin, director of marketing for DeVilbiss.
Secondly, offering equipment that runs quiet allows providers to differentiate themselves from the competition by marketing the technology to referral sources, said Kimberly Snyder, Respironics’ U.S. marketing manager for home respiratory.
“It’s a way to show the physician they are thinking about patient care and to grow their business with the physician,” agreed Farrell.
Here’s a look at some new products with reduced sound levels that recently hit the U.S. market. Keep in mind that it requires a reduction of three decibels to create a 50% noise reduction to the human ear.

Respironics 31-pound EverFlo Q Stationary Oxygen Concentrator produces a typical sound level of 40 decibels. That’s five decibels below the original EverFlow and well below standard concentrators that clock in at more than 50 decibels.

DeVilbiss’s new IntelliPAP Standard and AutoAdjust units operate at 26 decibels. Units that operate at 30 decibels—like DeVilbiss’ 9000 Series, which the new units replace—are not uncommon.

Covidien’s new Sandman Intro CPAP, the first in a new line of products for sleep disordered breathing, also operates at 26 decibels. The company’s existing Goodknight line runs at 30 to 31 decibels.

ResMed’s Easy-Breathe Comfort Technology, now used in the company’s U.S. VPAP Auto bilevel and quite likely to be expanded to other CPAP products, reduces noise to less than 25 decibels.
Manufacturers have not significantly increased the price of this new quiet technology. With reimbursement trending downward, “we couldn’t do that,” Mastin said.HME