Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) are a smaller version of the home oxygen concentrator, they will be run from a power supply or internal batteries. POCs have improved the oxygen industry and now provide patients with a lot more freedom and mobility. They aren’t limited to the amount of oxygen they can supply either, this makes POCs great, especially when it comes to long-haul journeys.
Who needs an oxygen concentrator?
There are so many reasons why a person may need an oxygen concentrator, the rule tends to cover that if you have low levels of oxygen in your blood, then your doctor may advise oxygen therapy, should it be long term or short term. Some examples of this include various acute conditions, such as asthma, pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or those who may require oxygen after surgery. There are other chronic conditions that may need the use of an oxygen concentrator, this includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis or sleep apnea.
How do portable oxygen concentrators work?
All oxygen concentrators are different, especially when it comes to design, how it works and the technology behind it will usually be the same. They will work the same way that domestic oxygen therapy does, oxygen concentrators take in the air, they will purify and distribute the air to the user. The air that the concentrator takes in will include nitrogen, once it’s been purified, the air has been turned into oxygen and will include a small amount of nitrogen, the system will then extract the nitrogen and make sure that the user is getting as much oxygen as possible. 5 and 10 litre oxygen concentrators will utilise a continuous air supply, this will adjust to suit the user, the minimum amount is 2 litres per minute and will provide around 5 to 10 litres per minute.
Oxygen concentrators today use smart technology and will monitor your breathing, as you breathe out, the technology will measure your oxygen level and deliver the correct dosage as a pulse as you breathe in and out. Should you be sitting down and be inactive, the pulse level will be much less if you’re being active and walking around.
Pulse Flow vs Continuous Flow
An important area to consider is doing you need a pulse flow or continuous flow unit, here we take a look at the difference between pulse flow and continuous flow units. Pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators will deliver oxygen in puffs of air, these are called boluses. A bolus of oxygen will only be given when the patient is inhaling, continuous flow units will provide a constant stream of oxygen irrespective of the patient’s breathing rate.
These methods of oxygen delivery are very different, they are difficult when you compare them to pulse flow concentrators and continuous flow concentrators without putting them into separate categories. Pulse flow units will be much lighter and mean that you can carry them on your shoulder or in a bag, this will be while the continuous flow units are heavier but will provide more options and provide more oxygen.
What to consider when buying a new portable oxygen concentrator?
There are so many benefits of portable oxygen concentrators, it’s a medical device that will help you to enjoy and live your life to the fullest. A portable oxygen concentrator will help you stay active and social, stationary oxygen concentrators still come with advantages but they are probably more useful to use during rest, sleep or when you are at home.
When it comes to purchasing a new portable oxygen concentrator one of the main things to consider is litres per minute. Your medical professionals will be able to provide you with the right figure, they will also have all the necessary advice and knowledge that you may need, so you are able to check that the oxygen concentrator you require will provide you with the right amount of oxygen that you need.
Your medical expert will also explain to you whether you will need a pulse or continuous flow unit, pulse units work through inhalation and continuous flow systems will provide a steady stream of oxygen. As a result of this, continuous flow units will be much bigger and require more power. If you use a CPAP machine then, you will need continuous flow, pulse flow units aren’t compatible with CPAPs, depending on your specific requirements, you may require a portable oxygen concentrator that does both.
It’s also essential that you consider the size and weight of the unit, especially if you’re going travelling or going out and about. The battery life will also be important, especially when it comes to road trips and flights.