It’s taken a while coming, but with its first foray into gel masks ResMed has hit on a winner with patients. In our recent patient trial we pitted the new, ResMed Mirage SoftGel against the market leader
the Respironics ComfortGel. The results were outstanding; 100% of trial participants preferring the SoftGel over their current ComfortGel mask. This comment, by one participant, probably best summarises why the SoftGel achieved this remarkable result: “By far this is the most comfortable CPAP mask I have ever used. It provides a very tight seal with minimum pressure on my face.”
We invited current users of gel masks to test the new SoftGel and mailed them the mask and instructions for using it. Our 33 trial participants were asked to wear the SoftGel for a minimum of 7 days and a maximum of 14 nights. On average, trial participants had been on PAP therapy for 5 years and had been using their current mask for just under 2 years.
Participants used the SoftGel for 2 weeks before completing a comprehensive questionnaire evaluating mask performance including: cushion softness, quietness, comfort, seal, fit, stability and its ability to function effectively in different sleeping positions.
Cushion Softness, Quietness and Comfort were the most highly valued attributes of the SoftGel, all scoring 4.5 or better on a 5 point scale. Most participants also found the SoftGel’s clip-on straps and rotating forehead adjustor easy to use and helpful in creating the snug fit necessary to prevent leaking. According to one participant: “the strap system with much less contact with the face is so much more comfortable than the ComfortGel.”
Participants said they could sleep on their side or back without airflow leaks. “I roll side to side at night and it’s been the most stable and forgiving mask I’ve used” and similar comments were quoted by trial participants as one of the reasons why they prefer the SoftGel to the ComfortGel. Additionally, the SoftGel seems to be a hit with partners; a number of trial participants commenting their partner found the mask was noticeably quieter than other models used.
How did they do it? ResMed informed us that through innovation and research they devised a softer silicone gel compound and DoubleGel cushion that serves the dual purposes of eliminating odor and increasing comfort. The clear colored first layer provides softness and conformance to the face, while the blue colored second layer of gel provides stability.
In the ResMed SoftGel, we learned that the silicone gel is encapsulated in a securely sealed silicone bladder, rather than exposed as in the ComfortGel. Encapsulation means no smell. Importantly, silicone gel unlike the polyurethane based gel used in other masks doesn’t discolor or degrade over time.
Taking into consideration the technology and engineering that ResMed has invested in creating the Mirage SoftGel, we’d expect this to be reflected in the price. There too we found another pleasing feature of this innovative, new mask – it’s very competitively priced and delivers real value for money.