If You Have Sleep Apnea and a Medical Device Implant, Check Your CPAP Mask

Some sleep therapy masks made by Philips Respironics present a potential risk of serious injury for people with pacemakers or other metallic implants.

Jessica Rendall Wellness Writer
Jessica is a writer on the Wellness team with a focus on health news. Before CNET, she worked in local journalism covering public health issues, business and music.
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A sleep therapy mask
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CPAP or Bi-Level PAP therapy masks with magnetic headgear clips or straps present a potential risk of serious injury for some people, according to a safety alert posted this week by Philips Respironics and by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The magnetic pieces included on some sleep therapy mask models are a safety hazard for those who have a pacemaker, aneurysm clips, magnetic denture attachments or any other medical device or implant that could be affected by magnets, according to the alert. For a more complete list of devices that could put you at risk, check the posted safety alert.

Importantly, people who don't have a metallic implant in their body, and don't live with anyone who does, can safely continue to use the affected sleep therapy masks, according to the alert, so long as the masks are used "according to the updated instructions and labeling."

If you do have a metal implant, you should stop using Philips' sleep therapy masks with magnets and talk to your doctor about finding a replacement. More than 17 million masks with the magnetic clips have been distributed. Philips Respironics has received 14 reports from patients saying the mask magnets might have interfered with pacemakers and shunts, caused seizures and changes to heartbeats, or raised other concerns. 

A photo of the recalled sleep masks

Photos of the impacted sleep therapy masks

Philips, US Food and Drug Administration

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or similar masks are commonly used to treat sleep apnea, a disorder that causes people to momentarily stop breathing as they sleep.

Patients with questions can contact Philips at 1-800-345-6443. In an FAQ, the company said it "intends to provide a replacement mask without magnetic clips" for affected people. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.