The machines are worn at night and help people with sleep apnea and other serious breathing problems. The Philips company has recalled a number of popular devices, mainly in the DreamStation product line. The company said there was a slight chance that patients would inhale foam particles that degraded over time.
“Philips has not received any reports of patient impact or serious harm as a result of this issue,” the company said in its recall notice. “We cannot stress enough that Philips is taking this matter as seriously as possible. “
While Philips is working on a fix, recall notices have been sent.
Dr Alex Nelson, a pulmonologist with a subspecialty in sleep medicine at QEII Health Center in Halifax, estimates that he has prescribed Philips devices to 70 percent of his patients in the past five years.
“It has definitely been a big headache for us to get in touch with everyone and try to come up with a plan,” he said Thursday.
He said he had never heard of a patient developing symptoms after using the device, but he did not know the long-term effect if he inhaled foam particles. “The actual events reported are very, very small,” he said. “What effect could this have over five to ten years? We do not know. “
For now, he said the benefits outweigh the risks. He tells all patients except those with mild symptoms of sleep apnea to continue using the devices.
Sleep apnea can lead to impairment and make people sleepy during the day.
“They are really at risk for adverse events, whether it’s traffic accidents or related to their oxygen drop in their sleep as an added effect, to a risk of heart attack and heart attack. stroke. “
BiPAP machines, Nelson said, are vital. These patients could be at risk of respiratory failure if they stop using them.
Shortage in stores
The recall prompted machines from other brands. Several sleep stores in Nova Scotia told CBC News they had been inundated with calls.
Nelson said they were struggling to find machines for newly diagnosed patients.
The Nova Scotia Lung Association has also received numerous inquiries. He runs a refurbishment program, passing on donated machines to those who cannot afford them.
“We’ve certainly had a lot of requests from people looking for replacement machines,” said Michelle Donaldson, the association’s communications and special projects manager.
“Our inventory was also affected by the recall. So we can’t just replace people’s machines. “
Donaldson and Nelson want everyone involved to make sure to register their machine on the Philips website as soon as possible to ensure they are on the replacement list.
“Our hope is that Philips will move quickly with a solution to this problem,” said Donaldson.
Philips does not provide a timeline on its website for this solution. Nelson said the business was likely hampered by the pandemic and demand for parts to make ventilators.