By Zaid Altawil, M.D.

Faculty Advisor: Laura Welsh, M.D.

Bi-level positive airway pressure ventilation, known as the BiPAP, has seen widespread use in Emergency departments across the nation as an effective form of Non-invasive Positive Pressure ventilation.

We most commonly use it for our COPD patients to help prevent respiratory failure, or for our CHF patients suffering from pulmonary edema to help decrease their work of breathing.

At our program, given how available and excellent our respiratory therapists are, it seems as though the extent of our interaction with the BIPAP is paging our RTs for it to be placed. While resources are a blessing, it is helpful to familiarize ourselves with our BIPAP machine and at least make sense of the numbers on the screen. A full dive in to the mechanics and intricacies of the BIPAP can be reviewed at the references below, but I have a created a cheat sheet in the image above to help us with a quick refresher about what to look for when using the BIPAP machine. A link to download the PDF is below. Enjoy!


Positively Useful: A Brief ED Guide to NIPPV EMRA. Accessed June 25, 2019.

BCCH BIPAP Self Instructional Learning Package Acute Inpatient Units BIPAP (Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure) Self Instructional Learning Package BCCH Acute Inpatient Units.; 2012. Children’s Hospital/00.00 BIPAP Self Instruction Learning Package.pdf. Accessed June 25, 2019.

Non-Invasive Positive Pressure Ventilation in the ED.