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Over the past several years, there have been some tremendous breakthroughs in the area of long-term oxygen therapy support. One of the most notable is that of the oxygen concentrator. Unlike gaseous or liquid oxygen that are produced through manufacturing companies, oxygen concentrators actually “make” their own oxygen by removing nitrogen from atmospheric air. Atmospheric air is composed of approximately 79% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, and oxygen concentrators 'concentrate' the O2 from by filtering out the nitrogen from the oxygen in the air.
In the past, there were only stationary oxygen concentrators available to patient. They were relatively large and quite heavy, sometimes upwards of 50 lbs! But in most instances, these stationary units were capable of producing continuous flows of oxygen up to 5 liters per minute. As their title suggests, they were designed to plug into the wall and remain stationary in one location.
Recently, we have witnessed the evolution of the portable oxygen concentrator. Portable concentrators are lighter in weight (some weighing under 5 lbs!) and, as you guessed, are meant to be portable. In addition to standard household AC current, portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) can also be powered from the DC (vehicle) outlet and from rechargeable batteries. Portable concentrators have opened entirely new vistas by making it possible for oxygen patients to take their oxygen with them whenever, wherever, and however they decide to do so.
POCs can be classified as able to deliver continuous flow (CF) or intermittent flow (IF). So a choice has emerged for oxygen users: Should I select a continuous flow or intermittent flow device? Some POCs are capable of delivering both continuous and intermittent flows while others are capable of intermittent flow only. Please note that intermittent flow devices, unlike machines with continuous flow capabilities, only deliver oxygen during inhalation — oxygen is NOT delivered during exhalation. By and large, this oxygen delivery method can meet the supplemental oxygen needs of most patients.
How do you know what’s best for you? The best way to learn the answer is to use a particular POC model and then use an accurate pulse oximeter to continuously record the percentage of oxygen saturation in your blood during normal activities. Supplemental oxygen should be prescribed with the goal of maintaining an oxygen saturation range identified by your physician as the maximum and minimum range for you, both at rest and
during activities. POCs can be extraordinarily liberating for many, but only if the POC selected first meets your physiologic needs. In other words, no matter what device is chosen, it must first and foremost achieve goal No. 1 for you and that is to relieve your hypoxia while you carry out normal activities of daily living during the entire time it is being used.
The respiratory specialists at the Active Lifestyle Store are highly trained and experienced in helping patients select the best POC to meet their clinical and lifestyle needs. Call us today 1-877-879-9050 and get liberated with a portable oxygen concentrator from the Active Lifestyle Store.