F&P Pilairo Q Nasal Pillow Mask In-Depth Review

August 23, 2016 | By Peter Stanza | Filed in: CPAP Mask Reviews.

[SIPC_Content]The F&P Pilairo mask was unique when it was first introduced. It was touted as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ design, which turned out to be ‘one-size-fits-many’. Admittedly I am suspicious of anything that is one-size-fits-all: my experience with one-size-fits-all caps has not been positive (I have a big head). The Fisher and Paykel reps came a-knocking advertising how revolutionary the mask was, and how we technicians would never have to fit a mask for anyone again. They would tell us ‘It’s amazing how loose you can wear the mask as the unique cushion will keep it in place’.

They (the reps) were wrong.

Maybe in the hands of an experienced CPAP the mask could work well. However in the real world, it was not so successful.

Mind you, not all is lost; it has it’s use; and some people definitely prefer it over the other nasal pillow masks. It’s just not the game changer the hype so promised.

Honestly, the vast majority would be better off trying one of the other nasal pillow masks first.

The Pilairo Q was released as an updated Pilairo nasal pillow mask, that addressed some of the weaknesses of the original design. Two main things changed:

    – the Pilairo Q comes with a choice of two headgear – the original (not so good) design, or a more traditional, two strap design
    – an expiration air diffuser was added to the elbow of the Pilairo – hence the ‘Q’ which stands for quiet

Fitting the mask

Fitting the mask isn’t that difficult.

Spread the AirPillow wings, and position the cone shaped nasal pillows on/in the nares of your nose.

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Whilst holding the front of the mask with one hand, pull the back strap of the mask headgear to the back of your head with the other hand. The top strap will follow and basically fall into position atop the head.

Adjusting Pilairo Nasal Pillow Mask

Adjusting the F&P Pilairo Nasal Pillow Mask

You want to adjust the mask so it is comfortably loose.

I adjusted the top adjustment fist. I just gripped either side, and pulled them towards my ears until the rear strap of the headgear was sitting just on my inion (that bump at the back of my head).

Then I adjusted the side straps so the mask sat comfortably loose on my nose.

Turning the machine on, the AirPillow as promised blew up like a balloon. It sealed with my nose pretty well, and i actually didn’t need to adjust it anymore.

Laying down and moving from side to side, the mask kept its seal. Overall, I was pretty happy with how it felt on. It was comfortable, and despite not feeling particularly stable, maintained it’s seal.

Using it overnight I had a few instances where the mask lost it’s seal and started leaking air. I also found that the AirPillow cushion all too easily comes off the mask frame, and can be fiddly to put back on in the middle of the night in a half-asleep state.

How quiet is it?

It’s Quiet, too quiet.

Ok, I’m kidding. It can’t really be too quiet. We would all prefer if our CPAP masks were completely silent.

However, with the addition of the air diffuser, the mask is very quiet. In fact, probably the quietest nasal pillow mask on the market. Where other manufacturers have been playing with laminar flow (Swift FX) and integrated meshing (AirFit P10) to make their masks quiet; Fisher and Paykels rather crude and simple solution of using a replaceable diffuser just works. Sure you need to replace them regularly; but it makes for a very very quiet mask. The vent location is contained within the elbow joint, and can be pointed up down all around. However, with the added diffuser, you can barely feel the airflow anyway.

Comfort

The Pilairo Q, admittedly, is pretty comfortable to wear. Even when compared to other Nasal Pillow Masks. The reason it is so comfortable, is that it disperses the pressure of the mask over a larger surface area. Where other nasal pillow masks only really touch the nose, and seal with the nose on the inner surface of the nares; the Pilairo hugs the bottom of the nose much more gently. It spreads the pressure much more evenly, preventing pressure points and sore spots that are often experienced using nasal pillow masks.

The unique cushion, by design, is free to shift laterally across the face without adding pushing and pulling and nose here and there.

If it fits properly, it can be a comfortable mask to use.

IF!

For many, the mask seal isn’t great, and you need to have the right size nose for it to fit in the fist place. This mask will not suit you if you have a very small opening to you nose (nares); or a very large nares. Too small, and the nasal pillow cones simply will not fit in. On the other hand: too big a nairs; expect escaping air. This is why I have an issue with the one-size-fits all tag; as it simply is not true.

But let’s assume you have an average sized nose. Sure, it could work then; just like all of the other nasal pillow masks available that have a Medium nasal pillow available (HINT: this is all of them

However, if it works for you, the Pilairo’s AirPillow can provide a comfortable sealing mask. The AirPillow effectively fills with air, and the cushion effectively hugs the nose. The AirPillow cushion is super-plush and soft compared to other nasal pillow masks. I don’t mind wearing it. Although it feels a bit more restrictive than other nasal pillow masks (namely the Swift FX, and AirFit P10), it doesn’t give me the chafing on the inside of the nose that these masks do.

What about the headgear

The headgear is a big improvement on it’s predecessor (F&P Pilairo). This single strap simply didn’t work. It seems that Fisher and Paykel actually admitted their mistake here (partially) and redesigned the headgear to be more stable. It holds it in place, is easily adjusted, and avoids substantial ‘back-strap’ slippage. Good job F&P! However, I still have issues with the way Fisher and Paykel incorporates the velcro into their masks. They tend to lose their ‘grip’ earlier than the ResMed headgear, as the fabric tends to curl over, and reduce the effectiveness of the velcro. This can be improved Fisher and Paykel.

The mask is otherwise relatively comfortable. Compared to other manufacturers Nasal Pillow headgear, it does have a deeper profile, and is a little more prone to leaving marks on the face if you sleep on your side. However, the headgear is soft, and well cushioned and isn’t uncomfortable. Otherwise, a major improvement over the original Pilairo; but with some way to go.

Is it easy to use?

I would have to say no, in comparison to the other nasal pillow masks, it isn’t.

That’s not to say that it is particularly difficult, it’s just a little bit more finicky than other nasal pillow masks. But, once you get used to it’s nuance’s, it’s a great mask. Once the mask is properly adjusted, just simply spread the ‘wings’ and place the cushion in the nose, pull the headgear over, and away you go.

There is also few more parts with this nasal pillow mask compared to others. The mask has 10 parts in total. This includes:

    – mask frame and hose
    – AirPillow nasal pillow cushion
    – mask headgear
    – hose connection
    – nasal pillow cushion
    – 2 headgear clips
    – headgear loop
    – diffuser and diffuser cover

Pilairo Q parts

Will it last?

The Pilairo Q is pretty durable overall. Overall the mask appears to be pretty durable. The cushion is made of a high-quality silicone that will last quite a while. As it stretches, however, it does tend to come off the mask frame and it needs to be replaced. However, I’m not entirely sold on F&P’s headgear velcro design, which does tend to lose it’s stickiness over time. Additionally, the ‘short hose’ is prone to developing holes and easily becomes discoloured with extensive use. It should last reasonably well, but you may need to replace the headgear sooner than you would with the Swift FX for example.

Conluding remarks

The Fisher and Paykel Pilairo Q nasal pillow mask is the sort of mask that can be brilliant if it fits you well and you are comfortable with it; but an absolute shocker for many others. In the clinical setting, I found that most people would choose one of the other nasal pillow options (ResMed P10, Swift FX, or Nuance Pro) when given the option.

It has not (and will not be) my go to nasal pillow mask. That role is reserved for the excellent performing Swift FX and P10 nasal pillow masks from ResMed. I still, however, keep the Pilairo Q in my arsenal for ‘qualified patients’ (medium-ish sized nares) who:

    – themselves or partners are particularly sensitive to mask vent noise, but still want a nasal pillow mask
    – have sensitive nares, but still wants to try a nasal pillow mask
    – are side sleepers and have tried the other options

Remember, this is but my humble opinion. And it may well be the mask for you. Be sure to do your homework, and remember that many suppliers offer a mask trial period where you can try the mask and return it if it’s not for you.
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Fisher and Paykel Pilairo Q Nasal Pillow Mask

Fisher and Paykel Pilairo Q Nasal Pillow Mask
6.7

Comfort

8.0 /10

Mask Seal

5.0 /10

Stability

6.0 /10

Vent location and noise

8.0 /10

Headgear

6.5 /10

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Comfortable
  • Improved headgear

Cons

  • Feels Unstable
  • Headgear velcro
  • Number of parts
  • Bulky, in comparison

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