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Faulty CPAP machines were a nightmare for people with sleep apnea. Now they're coming off the market

CPAP machines promised the chance to “rediscover dreams,” but instead had users breathing black particles linked to cancer, respiratory diseases and hundreds of deaths. (Getty Images)
CPAP machines promised the chance to “rediscover dreams,” but instead had users breathing black particles linked to cancer, respiratory diseases and hundreds of deaths. (Getty Images)

A widely used medical device that promised sufferers of sleep apnea the chance to “rediscover dreams” instead had them breathing black particles linked to cancer, respiratory diseases and hundreds of deaths. Now the company that makes the machines, Philips Respironics, has agreed to take them off the market.

Millions of Americans use continuous positive airway pressure devices, or CPAP machines. For years, Philips was one of the industry leaders. But in 2021, the company recalled more than 15 million devices after it was revealed that internal foam components were breaking down and making their way into people’s lungs. The latest development offers some hope for patients but also raises questions about the government’s oversight of medical devices.

Here & Now‘s Deepa Fernandes speaks with ProPublica’s Debbie Cenziper, who is part of a years-long and ongoing investigation into this issue by ProPublica and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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