CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure.

It consists of a mask worn during sleep which is designed to fit snugly over the nose and sometimes mouth. It is connected to a small, quiet machine which gently blows air into the throat, stopping it from flopping shut, as occurs in obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

CPAP is a very effective treatment for OSA. It improves sleepiness and snoring, and prevents any further damage to your health which OSA may be causing.

Starting CPAP therapy at Royal Papworth Hospital

People with OSA who need to start CPAP are admitted to our sleep centre as a day case or for an overnight stay.

They are looked after by an experienced team of specialist doctors and nurses. The team makes sure that the best possible fit is achieved for comfort and effectiveness.

Patients are shown how to operate the equipment and given an auto titrating CPAP unit to take home. This works out the correct therapy levels for them while they sleep.

After one to two weeks the unit will have calculated the optimal treatment levels and the patient is seen again by the specialist nurses and given a correctly calibrated CPAP unit for their longer-term use. They will then take CPAP home to use every night during sleep.

Patients are given a telephone helpline number and a review appointment is arranged for a few months later to check CPAP therapy is working and deal with any 'teething' problems.

Patient videos

CPAP user guide

How to use your CPAP machine overnight. ​​​​​​


How to find hours of use and other CPAP information

How to find hours of use and other information from your CPAP machine ahead of a telephone or video appointment.


Contact our CPAP team

If you are an exisiting CPAP patient at Royal Papworth Hospital, you can speak to a member of our team directly: 


01223 638526 (Monday to Friday, 09:00-16:30)

Patient Information Leaflets

Download our 'Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and CPAP Therapy' leaflet