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Philips Recalls Faulty Sleep Apnea Treatment Devices for Cancer Concerns

Woman in bed wearing CPAP machine for sleep apnea

CPAP Machines, BiPAP machines, and ventilators may cause patients to inhale dangerous chemicals

Earlier this year, medical device manufacturer Philips Healthcare recalled many of its ventilators and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines used by people struggling with sleep apnea and emphysema out of concerns that a design flaw in the devices may expose patients to dangerous chemicals.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. It causes loud snoring, fatigue even after a night's sleep, headaches, and other symptoms. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to potentially deadly complications like heart disease, liver problems, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, as well as causing dangerous complications with medical procedures such as surgery.

CPAP machines treat sleep apnea by delivering a constant stream of pressurized, purified air into the nose and mouth during sleep. This keeps the airways open and helps the patient breathe normally.

What's the safety risk with the CPAP and BiPAP machines?

To reduce the sound and vibrations of the machine while in operation, the Philips machines use polyester-based polyurethane foam (PE-PUR). Unfortunately, the foam can break down and enter the air pathway of the machine, which means it could be inhaled or swallowed by the user, or release chemicals into the airway, which again can lead to inhalation.

These chemicals can cause serious complications, including cancer of the lungs, kidneys, colon, or liver. Some other symptoms that can result from exposure include:

  • Asthma
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Eye irritation
  • Headaches
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Inflammatory response
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory irritation
  • Sinus infection
  • Skin irritation
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Vomiting

While there have thus far been no reports of death due to these issues, complications from this medical device have the potential to change patients' lives permanently.

Which devices have been recalled?

All the recalled products thus far are CPAP machines, BiPAP machines, and ventilators. The model names and numbers of the recalled products as of this writing are:

Continuous Ventilator, Non-life Supporting

  • DreamStation ASV
  • DreamStation ST, AVAPS
  • SystemOne ASV4
  • C Series ASV, S/T, AVAPS
  • OmniLab Advanced Plus In-Lab Titration Device

Non-continuous Ventilator

  • SystemOne Q series
  • DreamStation CPAP, Auto CPAP, BiPAP
  • DreamStation Go CPAP, APAP
  • Dorma 400, 500 CPAP
  • REMStar SE Auto CPAP

If you have a recalled product, you may have received a recall letter. You can also check the current recall list on the Philips website.

What to do if you've used a recalled device

If you are currently using one of these medical devices, you need to talk to your doctor right away about your next steps. Discontinuing the use of a sleep apnea treatment device without medical advice may not be safe, so the best course of action is to make a plan with a medical professional who knows your medical history.

You also need to talk to an attorney about your legal rights and options. Dean Waite & Associates is currently reviewing cases for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who have used a recalled machine for at least six months and developed one or more of the following complications:

  • Lung, liver, kidney, or colon cancer.
  • Heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.
  • Lung injuries such as pneumonia, respiratory failure, or frequent respiratory infections with treatment.
  • Severe liver or kidney diseases.
  • Any other serious symptoms requiring medical treatment.

You have legal rights, and manufacturers of dangerous medical devices need to be held accountable. If you or someone you know was harmed by a defective Philips CPAP machine, BiPAP machine, or ventilator, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

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