Side Effects of Using Defective CPAP Machines

Categories: CPAP Lawsuit

CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machines are designed to help people with sleep apnea, not hurt them. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what has happened to people throughout the United States. They turn to these devices to help them – and others nearby – get restful sleep. Unfortunately, defective CPAP machines have been linked to severe side effects that, in some instances, can be deadly.

The attorneys with McEwen Law Firm have an extensive amount of experience helping people who have been harmed after using CPAP machines. If you fall into this category, we can help you take legal action that could result in you receiving a significant amount of compensation. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, you can contact us online or call (800) 732-3070.

Defective CPAP Machines

Millions of CPAP devices have been recalled due to users suffering adverse reactions, as well as a potential link between the use of the machines and possibly life-threatening health conditions.

The biggest issue with the devices involves a type of foam known as PE-PUR (polyester-based polyurethane). When PE-PUR degrades over time, it can get into the airways of a CPAP machine. When this happens, of course, users breathe in tiny particles of foam, which contain chemicals that can cause severe problems.

Even though most of the side effects are mild, the chemicals CPAP users inhale can be extremely dangerous. These include toluene diisocyanate, which can be very toxic even when someone is exposed for only a short period of time. Another chemical found in some CPAP devices is ethylene glycol, a chemical that has been linked to severe kidney damage. Toluene diamine, yet another chemical present in many CPAP devices, has been linked to cancer.

Common Symptoms

The side effects associated with CPAP machines range from those that cause little more than an annoyance to others that could put a user’s life at risk. Here are just a few.


Some CPAP users report feeling dizzy, and no one has been able to identify why this occurs.


Headaches are a very common side effect among people who have just started using a CPAP machine. In some instances, you can solve this problem by adjusting the pressure level of the device.

Sinus Congestion

Another common issue is a stuffy nose. This can lead to users not wearing their CPAP device as often, which can have a substantial impact on the effectiveness of their therapy.


Defective CPAP use can also cause asthma, as well as other severe respiratory issues such as emphysema, pneumonia, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder). Compounds in the PE-PUR foam are likely to blame.

Chest Pressure

Some CPAP users report pressure in the chest, which can make them believe they’re suffering a heart attack.

Respiratory Infections

In addition to the respiratory problems mentioned above, defective CPAP use may also cause potentially severe infections. Symptoms of severe infections include coughing, wheezing, and airway inflammation.

Kidney Damage

Even though we need more research, evidence suggests a link between CPAP use and an increased risk for the development of kidney cancer. PE-PUR foam can, in some instances, degrade to the point where they create VOCs (volatile organic compounds), including ethylene glycol, which was mentioned previously. These VOCs could have carcinogenic effects.

Liver Damage

CPAP machines that emit VOCs have also been associated with the development of liver cancer. Symptoms include a sudden loss of appetite, pain in the upper portion of the abdomen, severe weakness, fatigue, vomiting, nausea, and others.

And More

These just scratch the surface of the nearly endless list of adverse health effects that can result from the use of defective CPAP machines. Others range in severity from relatively minor (coughing, skin, and eye irritation) to possibly deadly (heart damage).

Who is Liable for My Symptoms and Why?

Any company that manufactures defective CPAP machines could be liable for any harm their machines cause. Some manufacturers, including Philips Respironics, have recalled their devices – a potential admission that they failed their duty to produce devices that are safe for use.

You may be eligible to file a lawsuit to recover any damages or financial losses you’ve incurred due to the harm you’ve suffered. These include medical expenses, lost future earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, and many others.

In order to have the best chance of obtaining compensation, however, you’re going to need the help of an experienced product liability attorney. The sooner you call an attorney, the sooner they can get to work investigating your case and gathering the proof you’ll need.

Steps to Take if You Believe Your CPAP Machine is Defective

Your first priority should be to contact your doctor. They can perform a thorough examination to find out exactly what health effects you’ve experienced. Once that’s done, your doctor will put together the best possible treatment plan to address the issues.

The next step will be to contact an experienced attorney to discuss whether or not it will be in your best interests to pursue legal action. Depending on the state in which you live, you may have to act very quickly. Some states have a statute of limitations of only one year. Others give victims as long as six years to file a lawsuit.

There can also be differences among states regarding “when the clock starts,” so to speak. Some states start theirs from the minute you bought your CPAP device. In others, the clock doesn’t start until a diagnosis or the public acknowledgment of the device’s defects.

A McEwen Law Firm attorney can tell you what the statute of limitations is in your state. They’ll also let you know how long you have to act. It’s important you know that if yours expires, you will no longer have any legal recourse.

Contact McEwen Law Firm Today to Speak to an Experienced Defective Medical Device Attorney

At McEwen Law Firm, we have a long line of satisfied clients who obtained maximum compensation after we represented them. Learn more about what we may be able to do for you by contacting us online or calling (800) 732-3070.