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How to choose the right portable oxygen concentrator

Time:2021-06-16 16:49

portable oxygen concentrator
A Guide to Choosing a Portable Oxygen Concentrator
Portable oxygen generators or POCs are becoming more efficient, compact, portable and affordable all the time. Oxygen systems that once provided you with enough battery life and oxygen for a quick run to the grocery store are becoming a more viable solution for all types of oxygen dependent patients. With the latest advances in technology and battery life, some portable concentrators are now able to help some patients spend more time with family and friends, enjoy longer outings around town, and even travel across the country. Depending on your oxygen needs, a portable system may not be the single supplemental oxygen solution, but as technology continues to improve, these compact oxygen systems are becoming more and more popular among oxygen-dependent patients.
 
With all the options available, we are often asked how to choose the right portable oxygen concentrator. This depends largely on your oxygen needs, but it is important to understand the different types of portable units available and the amount of oxygen output you can expect from the machine you choose.
 
There are two types of portable oxygen generators on the market today: continuous flow oxygen generators and pulse dose oxygen generators, or intermittent flow oxygen generators. These two types of oxygen systems have very different benefits and limitations, and each is best suited for a specific type of patient. Understanding the features of each machine will help you determine which type of portable concentrator is best for you.
How Portable Oxygen Concentrators Work
An oxygen concentrator, whether portable or stationary, draws air from the room around you and converts it into a concentrated source of oxygen. The air we breathe consists primarily of nitrogen and is only about 21% oxygen. Oxygen generators draw air from a room and convert it into oxygen that is up to 95% pure. The percentage of oxygen added through the supplemental oxygen system increases the oxygen saturation level in the blood.
 
A few years ago, the most common type of oxygen concentrator was the stationary oxygen concentrator. These large machines took up a lot of space in a room and limited your movement around the home. However, stationary oxygen concentrators typically deliver 1 to 6 liters of oxygen per minute continuously, which makes them an ideal solution for oxygen-dependent patients who don't want to worry about replenishing their oxygen cylinders.
 
Portable oxygen concentrators work on the same principle as stationary oxygen concentrators, but because they are much smaller than stationary oxygen concentrators, they have limited oxygen delivery capacity. Most available portable concentrators are pulse dose oxygen concentrators only, but there are continuous flow oxygen concentrators on the market that can deliver up to 3 liters per minute of concentrated oxygen under continuous flow.
Continuous Flow Portable Oxygen Concentrators
The most comparable portable oxygen concentrator to the fixed oxygen concentrator is the continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator. There are only four types of continuous flow units on the market today. These portable units are capable of producing up to 3 liters per minute of continuous delivery oxygen.
 
'What Portable Oxygen Concentrator is Right for You
 
Continuous flow units are a more appropriate choice for most oxygen dependent patients than the pulse dose or intermittent flow portable oxygen machines we will discuss below. Because they are capable of delivering the equivalent of 3,000 mL of oxygen per minute, this type of unit can handle a wider range of oxygen needs than the pulse dose model. As a general rule of thumb, if you need 2 to 5 liters of oxygen per minute, a continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator may be your best choice.
 
In order for continuous flow concentrators to meet a broader range of oxygen needs, these machines are typically larger than other units on the market. A typical weight for a continuous flow unit is up to 18 pounds, not including additional accessories. These are usually heavy enough to require the use of a hand truck to transport your oxygen supply. While it is true that continuous flow machines are portable, they are not as portable as many of the pulse dose varieties available on the market today.