Tapping: A Growing Market


“The TAP PAP Nasal Pillow Mask”

It’s no easy task to make a splash in the highly competitive world of CPAP masks, but AM Airway Management managed to do just that a few months ago at Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas.The Texas-based company won the Provider’s Choice Award for its TapPap Nasal Pillows CPAP mask, and the momentum has continued into Summer.

“The TAP PAP Nasal Pillow Mask is one of the most innovative interfaces to be released in many years,” says Alastair McAuley, president, Airway Management, Carrollton, Tex. “The new approach to interface design solves many of the common problems associated with masks and delivers a product that is exceptionally stable, doesn’t leak, and can be used without straps or headgear that often cause marks and discomfort on the face.”


Company officials say the ThermAcryl mouthpiece is a key new technology that enables HMEs and patients to access the stability and comfort of a pillow mask that is secured by the upper teeth. The design is due to the work of W. Keith Thornton, DDS, a Dallas-based dentist who has been treating sleep apnea for two decades.

After seeing multiple cases of mask movement, mask leak, and pressure on the face caused by the mask being too tight, Thornton ultimately started making his own masks. They were a success, but the custom nature of the devices also meant they were quite expensive and couldn’t be accessed through normal HME/insurance channels.

The TAP PAP Nasal Pillow mask essentially recreates Thornton’s design, providing patients with all the benefi ts at the same price as other CPAP masks used by HME’s, making the technology more accessible. “By attaching a mask to the upper teeth,
it stabilizes the mask,” explains McAuley. “It prevents mask movement, which prevents the mask from leaking. It also means that because it doesn’t move, you don’t have to tighten it very much so it feels comfortable throughout the entire night.”

Patients often must tighten their masks, and it often ends up being too tight against their face. That feels fi ne for 5 or 10 minutes, but 4 hours is a different story. Airway Management offi cials say that attaching to the teeth via the ThermAcryl tray can actually form and mold to the upper teeth.

“When it’s molded, it feels like a very little tray in the mouth, but once it sits, it’s actually very fi rm,” adds McAuley. “This has more of the properties of a custom built device. Once it sits, it is hard and durable with good retention. And that’s what is required to provide a stable platform for the mask. It is also extremely quiet—one of the quietest pillow masks on the market at 25.7 decibels.

Company engineers claim that the mask’s design results in a pressure drop that is almost half that of other pillow masks. “The pressure drop through the mask leads to pressure  uctuations when you inhale and exhale,” says McAuley. “By reducing the pressure drop, you reduce the  uctuations, making it easier to breathe. The mask also comes with three sizes of seal
all in the bag.”



“I have used a progression of CPAP, BiPAP and VPAP machines, coupled with just about every mask marketed over the last 14 years, with mixed (at best) results. Currently I do best with a variable pressure machine delivering between 15 and 25 cm O2. No matter what design of mask I have tried, there is a lot of annoying blow-by. I had doubts that any design utilizing nasal pillows would work at the high pressures I need. I had tried nasal pillows in the past and they literally blew off my face. But this mask  at works. I can’t believe how secure it  ts, how quiet it is, and how well it seals around my nares, without any headstraps and with just light pressure against my nose. It does not stimulate my gag re ex at all. It is about the most effective and nonirritating solution I could imagine.”
-Pat Beug-



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