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What Are the Main CPAP Side Effects?

CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. Doctors may prescribe these devices to treat sleep apnea disorders. However, some brands and models may be dangerous if defective. Possible side effects include lung cancer, sarcoidosis, recurrent pneumonitis, severe new or worsened asthma, and COPD/respiratory disease.

What Is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells that line the air passages. It is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.” (1) You may be suffering from lung cancer caused by a defective CPAP machine. Symptoms of exposure to particles from the degraded foam include “headache, irritation, inflammation, respiratory issues, and possible toxic” and cancer-causing effects. (2) 

What Is Sarcoidosis?

“Sarcoidosis is a disease characterized by the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells (granulomas) in any part of your body.” Some experts think this condition “results from the body’s immune system responding to an unknown substance.” Possible harmful substances include infectious agents and chemicals. Defective CPAP devices may release irritating particles into the airways and lungs. (3)

What Is Recurrent Pneumonitis?

Pneumonitis is a condition that resembles pneumonia, a serious infection of one or both lungs, and is often mistaken for pneumonia despite there not being any infectious agent present. One study shows the risk of recurrent pneumonia is “even higher among patients who received CPAP therapy.” (4) 

What Is Asthma?

“Asthma is a chronic (long-term) condition that affects the airways in the lungs. The airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs.” Inflamed, narrowed airways can make breathing difficult. Pollen, bacteria, and other foreign material can lead to inflammation and set off an asthma attack. Defective CPAP machines can release dangerous particles and chemicals, adding to or creating inflammation and damaging airways. (5) This can result in an initial diagnosis of asthma or worsen an existing condition.

What Is COPD/Respiratory Disease?

What is COPD? “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.” Defective CPAP machines can release foreign particles, blocking airflow and making it hard for you to breathe. (6) This can cause respiratory disease to occur.

Additional CPAP Side Effects 

In addition to being life-threatening, defective CPAP devices also can lead to other side effects. These include:

  • Pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
  • Reactive Airway Disease Syndrome (RADS).
  • Cancers of the head, neck, and respiratory tract. 
  • Certain blood cancers including Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. 

Philips Respironics Recalls CPAP Devices 

Philips Respironics has issued multiple recalls of its breathing devices due to potentially dangerous defects. The problem stems from the device’s polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam. Recalled models are: (7) (8) (9) 

  • A-Series BiPAP A30.
  • A-Series BiPAP A40 (ventilator).
  • A-Series BiPAP Hybrid A30.
  • A-Series BiPAP V30 Auto (ventilator).
  • C-Series ASV (ventilator).
  • C-Series S/T and AVAPS.
  • DreamStation.
  • DreamStation ASV.
  • DreamStation Go.
  • DreamStation ST, AVAPS.
  • Dorma 400.
  • Dorma 500.
  • E30.
  • Garbin Plus, Aeris, LifeVent (ventilator).
  • OmniLab Advanced+.
  • REMstar SE Auto.
  • SystemOne ASV4.
  • SystemOne (Q-Series).
  • Trilogy 100 (ventilator).
  • Trilogy 200 (ventilator).
  • Trilogy Evo ventilator: DS2110X11B; KR2110X15B.
  • Repair kits for Trilogy Evo muffler assembly model and lot numbers: Part number 1135257; Lot numbers between 210414 and 210524. 

FDA Classifies Recall as Class I

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified some Philips recalls as a Class I recall. A Class I recall is “the most serious type of recall. Use of these devices may cause serious injuries or death.” (10)

According to the FDA, “The polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam used in these devices to reduce sound and vibration can break down. If this occurs, black pieces of foam, or certain chemicals that are not visible, could be breathed in or swallowed by the person using the device.” (11)

Also, the foam used in recalled Philips breathing devices may release, or off gas, chemicals into your airways. Both the foam and the leached chemicals have the potential to put your life at risk. You may experience difficulty breathing, inflammation, a lack of oxygen, too much carbon dioxide, and other severe reactions. (12)

CPAP Machine Side Effects Lawsuits

Already, thousands of people have reported serious complications after using some of Philips breathing devices. Lawsuits are underway. 

When it comes to breathing complications, reactions to defective devices can be life-threatening. Deaths have been reported, in addition to serious respiratory reactions. (13)

Since July 2021, Weitz & Luxenberg has received thousands of calls from people saying they were harmed by a defective Philips breathing device. Each week that goes by brings us even more calls. This recall is turning out to be larger than anyone anticipated. 

Compensation for Your Injuries

If you suffered severe medical complications, or someone you love died, after using a recalled Philips medical device, you may be able to seek compensation. 

Compensation could cover your medical expenses, pain and suffering due to your injury, lost earnings, and any potential loss of future income. Punitive damages might also be awarded.

Possible compensation could include:

  • Reimbursement for costs of doctor visits.
  • Reimbursement for medication.
  • Nursing and related care costs.
  • Money for any days you couldn’t work due to your breathing device injury.
  • Money for income you might not make in the future if your injury prevents you from working.

How W&L Can Help

Weitz & Luxenberg is a national law firm with nearly four decades of experience helping people who were harmed by the actions of others. These others are often large, seemingly untouchable companies. Since the mid 1980s, we have committed ourselves to holding negligent corporations accountable. 

Sometimes these companies are multinational medical device manufacturers. In the case of CPAP devices, some makes and models have already been recalled due to potentially severe complications.

W&L is leading the fight in pursuing compensation on behalf of our clients who have been harmed by these devices. We are prepared to take action now.

Attorney with Medical Engineering Skill

We are fortunate to count W&L attorney Brendan McDonough among our team of experienced medical device litigators. In addition to being an attorney, he is a medical engineer. His background and knowledge give our firm an edge when it comes to handling defective medical device litigation.

The good news for our clients is that Mr. McDonough is just one of dozens of our firm’s dedicated, tenacious attorneys. Thanks to him, and others like him, W&L has a solid history of winning dating back decades. 

Winning Defective Device Cases

Over the years, we have achieved more than $19 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. Here are just a couple examples of our big wins, led by Ellen Relkin. She is a W&L partner and chair of our Drug and Medical Device litigation team:

  • $1 Billion+ – Weitz & Luxenberg played a critical role in helping secure this settlement on behalf of thousands of patients who were harmed by Stryker Corporation’s defective Rejuvenate and ABGII modular hip implants. 
  • $2.5 Billion – Weitz & Luxenberg helped achieve this settlement on behalf of thousands of patients injured by DePuy’s defective ASR hip replacement implants.