Posted by: Jan | July 21, 2010

The Swift FX

I finally scored a Swift FX mask.  It sure wasn’t easy.

As much as I liked the Swift LT for Her, there were still problems.  I was still having eye leaks that were driving me nuts.  No matter what I did, the bed pillow had a tendency to dislodge the right nasal pillow just enough to cause a teeny, tiny leak.  That leak traveled up the side of my nose and right into my eye.  So in the morning, I’d often wake with a swollen right eye that was blurry and leaky for a while.

I’ve already posted about the nasal pillow quality.  As the pillows deteriorated, the leaking would become worse.  The Swift LT was not a bad mask at all, but the problems were becoming annoying.

Many people raved about the Swift FX.  I asked the sleep lab at Kaiser if I could try one, but they claim “it’s not on their formulary”.  I’m not sure I believe them–they probably pay the crappy DME a set amount no matter what mask, but the crappy DME may give Kaiser a really good rate on only a limited number of masks.  In fact, I’m sure that’s probably it, because I just got a new FX on my 3 month replacement schedule and I only paid $21 for my 20% share.  That means that the crappy DME is getting a total of just over $100 for the mask, which costs between $121 and $130 online.  The crappy DME probably sells them for $170 or more if you are unfortunate enough to be paying out of pocket.

The Swift FX’s retail for around $127 online, a price I just could not afford.  So I started checking out cpapauction.com.  I watched for a while and brand new lab sample FX’s were selling between $40 and about $100.  I decided that the most I could pay was $45 plus shipping.  But it wasn’t easy to find one that met my criteria–LOTS of people are looking for FX’s online.  There were some periods where there were no FX’s at all, and other periods where the bidding was fierce. 

There’s an online company that sells on cpapauction.com and their starting bid is equal to the full price on their website.  One Bozo actually bid that much, skewing the average price for Swift FX’s on that site for a while.  Grrrrrr!  Another seller had a secret reserve that was so high that nobody was “winning” his mask, so he listed it over and over again.  It took a lot of waiting and watching until I found one at a price I could afford and not too much competition for it.  I think I ended up paying $46.50 plus $8 for shipping.  Yahoo!  I could live with being $1.50 over budget. 

The seller was wonderful and the mask arrived quickly and I was so excited to finally get my hands on one.  It was a lab sample, so it was missing the fancy bag (no big deal) but it had all four sizes of nasal pillows.  The small fit perfectly, a little better than the Swift LT for Her pillows fit me actually–NO leaks!  I think part of the reason is that the pillows wrap around your nose a little better, which also keeps the eye leaks away.

I was amazed that the headgear was soft.  I expected the silicone headband and face straps to be a little stiffer, but they are soft and mold to the contours of your face.  The headgear is very comfortable and there are wraps so that the silicone straps don’t leave permanent divets on your face.  It’s a good thing my head isn’t a little bit smaller, becuase I have the headgear on almost the last notch.  The nasal pillows are also surprisingly soft, too. 

This mask is a study in simplicity, with very few parts that don’t take up a lot of real estate in your face.  It’s very easy to remove the nasal pillow for cleaning, and no minute adjustments that can get out of whack. 

Everyone raves about the soft, flexible, short hose that connects the nasal pillows to the main hose.  It IS very flexible, but it’s actually the one flaw to the mask for me because it is HEAVY.  The pillows and the headgear are so soft, that the weight of this flexible hose tends to pull the nasal pillows away from my nose–I find that kind of annoying.  Tightening the headgear helps, and because everything else is so soft and light, the tighter headgear doesn’t bother me too much.  I also sewed velcro hook tape inside the back strap of this mask to keep it from slippling, just like my LT fix (thanks to UFO13 for that great idea!)

The other problem is that I havent’ found a good way to secure the flexible hose to the headgear, so the hose can hang across my chest and I DO NOT LIKE THAT.  It takes being a little more awake and conscious that I was with the Swift LT simply to turn over, since I have to manage the hose.  The best way to turn on my back or side without the hose snaking across my chest is to tuck it under my right arm.  That hose turns out to be my one major criticism of the mask–if only they had made it lighter!

So I’ve been wearing the FX for about a month now, and it suffers the same nasal pillow quality problem as the LT.  Within a month, the pillows start to soften up and leak more.  I looked on the package, and these pillows were made in China.  There are some reports that pillows made in Australia hold up better, but I’m not sure how I’ll ever get them.

Pillow replacement is a challenge.  I’ve taken advantage of the Great Pillow Exchange on cpaptalk.com to trade out the pillows that don’t fit me.  That gives me 3 extra pillows.  In addition, I posted offering to trade  a homemade hose huggy for small size FX pillows.  I didn’t get any takers on that, but one person offered to send me 2 small pillows for $15, postage included.  I jumped at that as they cost $22 each on cpap.com.  (If you’re reading this and have small size FX pillows to trade or sell, please pm me at knitwitatsonicdotnet (be sure to replace the at and dot)).  So that gives me 5 replacement pillows, and then we’ll see if the headgear is holding up or if it’s time to start trolling the auction site for a new one. 

To sum up, using the FX is the next best thing to sleeping naked if you are an xPAP user.  It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good.  I sleep SO comfortably with this, and my AHI’s are awesome.  I had 0.0 AHI on the night of July 4th.  Whoo Hoo!!!

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Responses

  1. Good going, janknitz! I’m pleased for you. Perseverance wins again!
    I recently got an FX too, but it didn’t work out the same way for me. I love the mask for its softness and flexibility. My hose is tied to the bedpost and I raised the tie a couple of inches to accommodate the new hose. Easy. Leak rate was low, varying between .5 and 1.5. But there was this other problem – aerophagia. It went away (mostly) when I stopped using the FX, a trade I am more than willing to accept.

  2. I did notice a little more aerophagia with the FX, but I just blame the flatulence on the dog ;o)

  3. I wondered if it happened to anybody else. Thanks.

    It could have been the fish oil and the vitamin D, so I stopped taking them, but the gastro-intestinal distress continued.

    Now I can resume the supplements and check whether another size pillow would work better. My DME gave me several pillows, but only the size I expected to use. (Now I see it really was a mistake for my first FX.)
    First I will try to get my husband to get his own FX with all the sizes of pillow, and we can try them all to see what works best. He tried mine but woke up gasping for air. He still slept better than with the old mask, so we think a medium size pillow will work for him.

  4. The aerophagia is definitely from the FX. I used the FX the last two nights and the “dog” is not having as much flatulence ;o)

  5. Maybe I should reconsider getting a dog.

  6. It’s totally worth having a dog just for that! LOL!!!!!


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