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British Lung Foundation
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Bipap machine and high co2 retainer

I've been to hospital emergency room 6 times last year from high co2 u get sick throw up dizzy confused , I was on CPAP from severe sleep apnea , now been on the bipap for week now starting feel better but scared my bipap will not regulate my co2 so I'm like preparing myself to get sick cause I usually do every few weeks. Will my bipap regulate my co2 I'm on oxygen 24/7 my lungs are good heart good co2 and sleep apnea ..

12 Replies

Hello Gmack27 and welcome to the forum. I don't use a Bi-Pap but several members do and I am sure they will share their experiences with you.


Hi Gmack27, I was diagnosed with type II respiratory failure in April 2017, I’ve been on oxygen 24/7 since 1 litre whilst at rest and 2 litres on exertion such as walking or climbing stairs.

That all worked fine, but in October my oxygen tube had come off my concentrator in the night and when I woke up about 3am, I re-connected my oxygen and did my readings on my pulse oximetre and my oxygen reading was at 65%, I tried it again and it was the same, a few days later I had my outpatient appointment with my respiratory doctor and she organised a at home sleep study for me and they found my levels at sleep dropped dramatically, even though my daytime readings were fine.

In November I was told I needed a BiPAP machine to use whilst I was asleep, but to get this I had to go into the sleep unit at another hospital to have the machine set up for me, but this wouldn’t be until February, however in December just before Christmas I became acidotic and was admitted to Arrowe Park hospital and put on a BiPAP machine for 17 hours, after that I felt fine, I had a great Christmas Day with my family and a good week but became unwell again on New Years Day (not because of alcohol) I did my readings again and my oxygen level was 74%, my sister phoned 111 and they sent a paramedic ambulance within 10 minutes, I was admitted to Arrowe Park HDU, because the respiratory unit had no beds, I was there for 3 days until I was transferred to the respiratory unit I used the BiPAP machine for bedtime for 9 nights, on the 10th night got my own machine which I used at bedtime and was fine, I was discharged on the Saturday and have been great using the machine at home since then.

My doctor also told me that there is a good chance I will able to reduce or come off my oxygen and just use my BiPAP at bedtime, in the future.

I hope I have been some help for you Gmack27.



Hi Gmack27 - don't worry. I'm sure your bipap will bring down your CO2 levels. I'm a CO2 retainer. I was diagnosed with COPD in January 2008 and put on oxygen, but initially wasn't doing very well and CO2 retention was mentioned. I was sent to Southampton Respiratory Unit and since January 2009 I've been using a BiPap every night. My CO2 levels started coming down immediately. I now don't need oxygen overnight and am on just 1 litre oxygen during the day, but I'm able to come off it for several hours at a time, which is great for my social life when I’m not doing anything more strenuous than eating and chatting, although the oxygen concentrator is always on hand.

The BiPap for me has been a life changer as I had been going steadily downhill during 2008 (these dates are imprinted on my mind) until they diagnosed the CO2 problem and started treating it.

If you wanted to read more thoughts on CO2 retention, typing ‘CO2 retainer’ in the search box above right will bring up older threads where it’s been mentioned and will give you lots more information.

I hope this is some help. Best wishes :-) Jan

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Don’t worry, Gmack, BiPAP machines do work! I had mine in September 2014, with O2 at night and a total of 16 hours O2 out of 24, if you see what I mean. I reduced the O2 during the day, and in December 2015 stopped the O2 through the BiPAP at night.

You’ll find that you begin to feel better with more energy, and that the sickness and confusion will pass. One thing I would say is that you will need to keep having conversations with your respiratory consultant and nurses about tailing off the O2. I had a Pulse oximeter on overnight and no O2 which confirmed that my O2 levels were good. I manage during the day without O2 and rest if I get breathless with exertion. I use O2 for a short period each day when I have an exacerbation.

The point is, and I wasn’t told this, is that too much O2 can bump up your CO2 levels if you’re a CO2 retainer. When your sats are good on air you no longer need the O2.

I think I could have put this more simply, and I’m sorry about that. The good news is that you will feel better, and will be able to reduce or come off your O2 but you do need to use the BiPAP machine every night. I really miss being able to sleep comfortably but I’m used to it now.

Good luck, Sue x


Thank you, I know it's brutal retaining co2. My thing now is when wear my machine I look at therapy it says I had 19 total obstructive Apneas last night and 10 other Apneas etc what does that mean I know the numbers are high I was told with bipap I wouldn't stop breathing as much I believe them obstructive apeneas means I had 19 episodes of stopping breathing so idk I wear my machine 24/7 and there still high wonder wheny co2 will be high my AHi under 5 so that's good but total numbers of Apneas a night is very high.


I’m sorry, Gmack - I know very little about sleep apnoea. I don’t read my machine at all. I suggest you contact the respiratory nurses or whoever gave you your machine and mask and ask their advice. It may be that the machine records the number of times you have a problem each night and that it then over-rides the problem. You do need professional advice I think. Take care, Sue


It's okay sleep apnea is problem on it's own but we do share bipap and the oxygen part has helped me cause I would turn oxygen up to 5 liters and idk til I read what you said too much oxygen can cause problems with retaining c02 but I have tried contacting everyone you named and all I hear is crickets but I'll figure it out . Thanks again.


03000 030 555 - BLF Helpline. I had to write it in before I forgot! They’re open Office hours, Monday to Friday. I’m not allowed to advise you on the right treatment for you but the nurses are very good and I’m sure they’ll be able to help you.

I can’t really figure out what’s going on, but it does seem that you haven’t been given enough advice or information. You need to know about when to change the filters on your machine, when to change the parts on your mask and where to get the parts from. You should also be having advice from your respiratory nurse about the levels of oxygen you should be having.

I’m here to support you and encourage you if I can. Please do keep in touch and I hope you get things sorted soon.

Best wishes, Sue


Thank you , you have been very helpful what's number ?


At the top of my last reply. x


I'm in United States Denver Colorado I can't try dialing that number won't go through where you at ? 0300 030 555 ?


I’m sorry. It’s for UK only! What a shame. Try chasing your professionals again tomorrow. Do let me know. x


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