Experts share the estimated useful life, recommended maintenance, and telltale signs that a repair is needed for 5 key sleep center products.

Polysomnography (PSG) amplifier system and software


shown: Sleepvirtual BWIII

Estimated useful life: 5 to 8 years; however, some equipment has been known to be used for more than 10 years

Recommended maintenance: Once a year, calibration is recommended but not necessary. Extended annual hardware warranty is strongly recommended.

An exception would be that sensors and accessories have a much shorter useful life cycle, which can vary depending on individual sensor/accessories.

Customers should be sure to track sensor replacement warranties.

Call for repair right away if: You experience any kind of signal or connection loss.

If this occurs, professional maintenance and repair are suggested.

If your PSG shows flat lines or if the device fails to deliver PSG data. Also call if there are cracked or exposed internal parts.

PAP device


shown: DeVilbiss Healthcare IntelliPAP

Estimated useful life: A PAP device should generally have a lifespan of 5 years. Like all electronic equipment, the life of the device is influenced by how it is treated.

A common issue is that patients can roll over and pull on the air hose.

Issues such as drops can greatly add or subtract from the life of the device.

Recommended maintenance: PAP devices generally require no maintenance beyond changing the filter. It is recommended to change the air filter monthly and make sure the air vent stays clear.

Wash the reusable filter and replace the fine particle filter every 30 days, but the humidifier chamber should be cleaned weekly.

Change the tubing as necessary.

Call for repair right away if: Audible alerts are heard. This typically signals that there are genuine hardware problems. A rougher fan noise could indicate the need for repair or maintenance.

Also call if the device stops running altogether.

Reusable PAP masks


shown: Hans Rudolph Full Face Mask

Estimated useful life: Reusable masks can be disinfected and reused for a year if handled properly. Masks have the CPAP machine connected for opening the patient’s airway when a split night sleep study is performed and it is then determined whether a mask is required.

While most cannot be used for the entire year, the materials used when manufacturing the masks can allow them to be steam autoclaved, hot water pasteurized, soaked in liquid chemicals, and even put in dishwashers at home.

Recommended maintenance: Disinfect between each sleep study patient’s use. Any of the many disinfection methods can be used without any degradation to the masks.

Call for repair right away if: Broken plastic pieces are found. This will alert that a replacement piece is needed.

Home sleep testing (HST) device


shown: SOMNOmedics America Inc SOMNOscreen Plus

Estimated useful life: The device can last 7 years, but to be safe, it is recommended to return the device to the manufacturer for inspection after 3 years of usage. The inspection should include the replacement of the internal battery, calibration of all of the recording channels, and visual inspection for any external damage.

Recommended maintenance: After each usage, disinfect the device and sensors for best results.

Call for repair right away if: Damages on housing of device or battery are found, or if an error message appears in the device screen.

Reusable sensors


shown: Radiometer Ear Clip Sensor

Estimated useful life: 10 to 15 years, and they should integrate with most PSGs on the market today.

Recommended maintenance: Routine maintenance should be performed monthly. Simply check sensor and cable assembly for any signs of mechanical damage. In case of any damage, replace the sensor. Do not attempt to repair.

Sometimes it is also necessary to re-membrane the sensor if cleaning the membraned sensor does not suffice. To clean, wipe the sensor head and cable gently with a soft cloth moistened with 70% alcohol.

It is also recommended to carry out a simplified function test of the sensor.

For consumables, check expiration date and replace if necessary.

Contaminated equipment and accessories must be decontaminated in accordance with the hospital decontamination and disinfection procedures appropriate to the device.

Note: Decontamination must be carried out by properly trained staff.

Be mindful of following the sensor cleaning instructions before storing the sensor in the calibration chamber. Smearing the calibration chamber with contact gel can result in incorrect calibration values, which can cause incorrect measurements.

Call for repair right away if: You are in any doubt regarding contamination or decontamination. Consult your local infection control officer.

Thank you to our expert sources:

3B Medical Inc

DeVilbiss Healthcare

Hans Rudolph Inc

Human Design Medical

MGC Diagnostics

Philips Respironics

Radiometer America

SOMNOmedics America

Stephanie Forshee is a Seattle-based journalist. This is her third article for Sleep Review. CONTACT [email protected].