Continuous Positive Airway pressure (CPAP) is the delivery of high flow air to the patient via a close-fitting face mask. With the entrainment of oxygen into this circuit, this has been found to be a very effective therapy for certain patients with COVID-19. CPAP therapy with entrained oxygen is thought to recruit alveoli, improving gas exchange and improving oxygen saturations in patients with COVID-19 who are in oxygenation failure.
Candidates for CPAP therapy tend to have increasing oxygen requirements, and associated with increasing infiltrates on their chest x-ray.
CPAP therapy is an aerosol generating procedure, so the fit of the patient’s mask is very important to minimise the aerosolisation around the patient, and appropriate PPE should be worn. The fit of the mask should be tight enough to prevent leak, but not too tight that there is skin damage around the bridge of the nose or the chin.