Following reports that COVID-19 has led to severe shortages of respiratory ventilators globally, the demand for positive airway pressure devices is rising sharply. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, the global positive airway pressure devices market was valued at $1.8 billion, at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5%. Now, the market is set to reach $2.2 billion in 2020, data and analytics company GlobalData says.

Tina Deng, MSc, senior medical devices analyst at GlobalData, comments: “During the ventilator shortage crisis, alternative devices capable of delivering breaths or pressure support have been considered to satisfy medically necessary treatment. In the U.S., the FDA has issued emergency use authorizations for ventilators, allowing use of alternative products such as positive-pressure breathing devices during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are used to treat patients with sleep apnea who require short-term mechanical assistance. With increasing demand and a supply shortage of ventilators, many hospitals use CPAP machines as alternatives for ventilators. In fact, manufacturers ResMed and Philips both reported strong first-quarter results in the sector. Philips’ sleep and respiratory care sales grew in the double digits, while revenue from ResMed grew by 12% in the U.S. and by 27% in the European Union and Asia-Pacific.

Deng concludes: “The positive airway pressure devices market is set to grow robustly, regardless of the major upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, positive airway pressure is an aerosol-generating procedure and requires expanded personal protection equipment precautions. These devices can help patients with breathing problems that have not progressed to the critical stage. Additionally, they could be used to wean some improving patients from the invasive ventilators, enabling their usage for incoming patients.”