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Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) use is now available to all EMT-Basic and EMT-Intermediate Technician providers in Wisconsin. This makes CPAP an optional skill in Wisconsin at all EMT levels.

The use of CPAP by Wisconsin EMTs for the treatment of respiratory distress resulting from congestive heart failure (CHF), pulmonary edema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and pneumonia has been shown to be both as safe and effective.  CPAP has been shown to rapidly improve vital signs, gas exchange, reduce the work of breathing, decrease the sense of dyspnea, and decrease the need for endotracheal intubations in patients who suffer from shortness of breath from asthma, COPD, pulmonary edema, CHF and pneumonia. 

An operational plan amendment, course outline, PowerPoint instructional presentation, and sample protocol have been developed for use in developing your services’ CPAP program.  Written approval of an amended operational plan is required prior to implementation of your CPAP program.  

Wisconsin Pre-hospital CPAP Use/Approval Requirements

  1. The ambulance service provider must determine which CPAP device to purchase and use. (PDF, 27 KB)

  2. The ambulance service provider and services’ medical director must identify those qualified individuals who will teach the curriculum and test the students on CPAP. 

  3. The ambulance service provider must submit an amendment to their service’s operational plan (Word, 81 KB) to use CPAP to the Division of Public Health, Bureau of Bureau of Communicable Disease and Emergency Response. Written approval of the amendment is required.

  4. The ambulance service provider must agree to provide the approved educational component. (PDF, 144 KB) (The service will maintain all training records.) This educational component will consist of:

  1. Didactic Session

  2. Skill competency check-off signed by the medical director

  3. Passing grade on the supplied multiple choice test

  1. CPAP use should be included in the service’s CQI program. Use of the CPAP Data Form (PDF, 43 KB) and completion of the outcome information for every CPAP patient (by the service Medical Director) will be a great tool. 

CPAP Program Links

Instructional Materials Links

Contact your appropriate program coordinator at the Wisconsin EMS Unit for further information.







Last Revised: February 21, 2014