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An adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) machine tracks and adjusts its pressure to match the breathing pattern of a person with sleep apnea. Using an ASV machine may help a person with sleep apnea to sleep safely.

ASV machines provide an alternative to the more common continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines for people with sleep apnea.

This article explores how ASV machines work, the risks and side effects, and the ones available for purchase.

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A person with sleep apnea may benefit from an ASV machine.

An adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) machine is a non-invasive device to help treat both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a physiological problem that occurs when the muscles in the throat relax, causing the surrounding tissues to narrow the airway. As a result of this narrowing of the airways, a person briefly stops breathing.

Similarly, a person with central sleep apnea also stops breathing in their sleep. However, this is a neurological problem where signals from the brain do not tell the muscles to breathe.

An ASV machine is a form of BiLevel positive airway pressure (BiLevel) therapy. This means it alternates between high pressure when a person is breathing in and lower pressure when they are breathing out.

By alternating the pressure during inhalation and exhalation, it helps the lungs to operate more efficiently.

The ASV machine tracks a person’s breathing pattern while they sleep and adjusts their pressure to help a person breathe normally during the night.

If a person is breathing normally, the ASV machine will provide very little support. However, if it detects that a person has stopped breathing, it will increase the pressure and support to help a person breathe.

Before a person goes to sleep, they will need to put on a face mask that either goes over just the nose or the nose and mouth. The mask connects to the ASV machine via a flexible hose.

Research has identified a range of benefits of using an ASV machine. This includes reducing the number of events in which a person stops breathing and improving their quality of life.

There are a few risks and side effects to consider before using an ASV machine.

According to an article in Respiratory Research, ASV usage has associations with heart complications. For this reason, a person who has experienced heart failure should not use this product.

The American Association of Sleep Technologists also highlight that people with sleep apnea who have the following underlying conditions should avoid using an ASV machine:

According to an article in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, unintentional leaking from a seal, the mouth, or another issue with the device, may cause sleep disruption and ineffective therapy.

One manufacturer of ASV machines lists the following potential adverse side effects:

ASV machines differ from CPAP machines in that they adjust their pressure to suit the user’s breathing needs. A CPAP machine maintains a continual, fixed pressure.

Doctors typically prescribe CPAP machines first and recommend an ASV machine as a last resort.

Currently, there are two notable ASV machines available for purchase. However, before buying one, a person should discuss this with a doctor or healthcare professional.

Please note, the writer of this article has not tested these products. All the information presented is research-based.

The ResMed AirCurve 10 ASV

This machine is specifically for people with central sleep apnea. The manufacturers recommend that a person uses this machine alongside their preferred face mask.

This device also contains a humidifier. The company claims that this provides breathing comfort.

The company website explains how the AirCurve 10 ASV works in 5 steps:

  • The machine pushes air along the tube and into the mask.
  • The mask uses an algorithm to allow pressurized air to enter the airway when necessary.
  • The humidifier helps moisten the air a person is breathing.
  • The 90w power supply assures continuous power while a person is asleep.
  • Filters help stop allergens from entering the airflow.

This machine also comes with access to an app where a person can track their therapy.

The ResMed AirCurve 10 ASV is available for purchase online.

Phillips DreamStation BiPAP auto Servo-ventilation system

The manufacturer of this machine refers to it as ‘auto servo-ventilation.’ However, this means the same as adaptive servo-ventilation.

Like the ResMed AirCurve 10 ASV, this machine uses an algorithm to adapt to the persons’ breathing pattern to provide support when necessary.

A person will need to purchase a mask to work with the machine. However, most CPAP masks are compatible for use with this machine.

The machine can work alongside the DreamMapper app to track breathing and help people self-manage their sleep apnea.

The Phillips DreamStation BiPAP auto Servo-ventilation system is available for purchase online.

ASV machines provide breathing support for people experiencing sleep apnea. It uses an algorithm to track and adjust the pressure to match a person’s breathing pattern.

There are currently two ASV machines available to buy. However, anyone considering using an ASV machine should talk to a healthcare professional before purchasing one.