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Thursday
Jun022011

A Patient's Review of the ResMed Mirage FX

Blog article re-published with permission from http://ifigrowup.livejournal.com/3513.html.  Lewis Pollak, customer extraordinaire of TheCPAPPeople.com, wrote this fantastic review on his blog. This is his experience...

ResMed describes their new Mirage FX as a “…transformation in nasal mask comfort.” Today, I take a detailed look and see whether that’s a bunch of hyperbole. The number of components that make up the Mirage FX is noteworthy, as there are only four: headgear, frame, mask, and hose joint. Each of these has thoughtful features that I’ll discuss in turn, then examine the mask as a whole and how it performs.


Headgear is just headgear, right? What could be special about that? Well, aside from the basic features you’d expect in a high quality headgear, like wide, soft straps, and Velcro tabs, there’s something really cool here. As you can see in the photo, the headgear doesn’t lie flat. No, the headgear actually curves to more closely approximate the shape of your head. Because the headgear conforms to you, it is easier to tell when you have it positioned just right. Moreover, I think the shape helps to hold the mask in place without excessive tightening. One minor point is that it felt like the headgear did stretch a bit, so a bit of adjustment to the fit was required after a couple of days. (ResMed Mirage FX Headgear)

When you look at the frame for the Mirage FX, it’s hard to believe that’s all there is. Honestly, it is so thin it looks a bit flimsy. Actually, it’s rather strong, with the added benefit of being lightweight. The frame has two features of special note. The first is that all four of the hooks on the frame are open, meaning that all four headgear attachments can be removed from the frame for cleaning without opening the Velcro loops and changing the fit of the headgear. Every mask on the market should have this feature; who hasn’t struggled to get their headgear just right after a cleaning at some point? Go ahead and clean that frame as often as you like, then slip the straps right back in.

The other feature of note is the flexible wing support at the top of the mask. This flexibility helps to customize the fit of the mask and gently provide stability, improving seal quality. Between this and the headgear design, I don’t find the mask moving around at night. Note that no part of the frame touches your face at any point, only the headgear and the mask itself.

Let’s talk about that mask. I was really surprised when I first studied the mask because it is so small and the entire thing is made of flexible silicone--there is no hard plastic at all like I am used to seeing. The first time I held it up to my nose, I laughed because it seemed so tiny. The mask pops in and out of the frame easily, held in place by 5 silicone tabs that rest against the frame. It isn’t hard to tell when it is seated properly. (ResMed Mirage FX Cushion)

According to ResMed, this mask fits 90% of people. There is a wider size available, and while there is no official suggestion as to who would benefit from the wider version the folks over at TheCPAPPeople.com suggest that if the width of your nose is greater than 2.25 inches, you might prefer that model. Note that while there is also a Mirage FX model made for women, the mask is the same, the difference there is that the headgear is smaller, and more pink.

So, can this tiny little mask really fit 90% of people? Well, I don’t actually know, but I can tell you it fits me splendidly. The best part is that the cushion does an amazing job of dispersing the contact pressure from your face. There simply are no prominent pressure points. When holding it up to your nose, the mask is so light and soft it feels like resting your face in a cloud.

I do have a significant quibble with the mask design, that being the manner in which air is diffused. There are sets of four holes that completely encircle the front of the mask, where the hose joint attaches. While these do serve to quietly diffuse the air in general, the fact that air is dispersed in 360 degrees makes it difficult to not have that air blowing on something, such as a pillow, or perhaps an arm.

The hose joint is a cool idea. Twin buttons on the sides allow you to pop it right out of the mask, which is great if you want to get up from bed without removing your headgear for any reason. There is full range of motion where it meets the mask as well as at the hose joint, as expected. A couple of minor issues with this piece, if the joint isn’t completely inserted into the mask, then the mask can produce excessive noise when exhaling. Also, I have found that water gets trapped in the hose end when washing the joint. (ResMed Mirage FX Elbow)

Putting all the pieces together, the Mirage FX is remarkably small. That’s difficult to appreciate in pictures, so I’ve got side-by-side comparisons with a Respironics ComfortGel Blue, including me doing my best Phantom of the CPAP Opera impression. Thanks to the various features we’ve discussed, it’s easy to establish a preliminary fit. Once you do get the mask adjusted, it feels so light and comfortable on your face you can almost forget it is there. The wing support in the frame and the design of the mask work together to maintain a seal without over tightening while the headgear helps hold the mask in place.



Respironics ComfortGel Blue (left) compared to ResMed Mirage FX (right)

I’d like to specifically mention that the Mirage FX works great for side sleepers because it is so compact. It is easy to position yourself so that the mask isn’t touching the pillow. I occasionally have a small leak when changing position, particularly onto my back, but I have the straps setup for sleeping on my side and try to keep them as loose as I can, so that is not surprising. I had the mask attached a bit more firmly when I first got it, and was unable to get it to leak despite repeatedly changing positions. The mask remains comfortable all night long and doesn’t leave significant marks on my face.

I’ve touched on disassembly and cleaning already, but the small number of components make the Mirage FX easy to take apart and clean. If you use the kitchen sink for washing your mask, take care not to let the hose joint slip down the drain. Reassembly is a snap thanks to the hook design on the frame.

I’ve been using the Mirage FX for about two weeks and am very pleased with it. While I’ve always managed to do ok with nasal masks even though I’m a side sleeper, this one is especially well suited to it. This is not an inexpensive mask, but I think with the collection of features and thoughtful design the cost is justified.

Summary: The Mirage FX is a wonder, with its tiny profile and four simple parts. Packed with thoughtful features that make it comfortable and easy to use, the Mirage FX deserves strong consideration if you’re in the market for a new device.


Thank you Lewis.  This review will go a long way to helping other CPAP patients understand this mask.



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