oxygen concentrator

An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that is prescribed to raise the oxygen saturation in the blood during a health condition that causes your oxygen level to drop too low.

Breathing conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Lung cancer
  • COPD
  • The flu
  • COVID-19

How Does It Work?

A concentrator is an oxygen machine that pulls in the air from around and filters out the nitrogen. A thin tube runs from the device to your face, giving you purified oxygen through two open prongs below your nostrils or a facemask.

There are two types of concentrators: a bigger model you can use at home, and a lighter, portable model you can use on the go.

Home Oxygen Concentrator

The doctor usually prescribes this if constant oxygen is required in your house or sleeping. It runs on electricity, so it only works while plugged in and getting ac supply.

The doctor also tells the oxygen level to be set on the device to control the oxygen flow rate. Some adjustments could be made to the concentrator to make it better.

  • Add a humidifier: a humidifier bottle filled with distilled water, can make the oxygen you breathe moister.
  • Lengthen the tubing: the tube that runs from the machine to your nose can be extended by up to 50 feet with a hose attachment.

Portable Oxygen Concentrator

A portable oxygen concentrator is a medical device that helps deliver oxygen therapy to people who have low levels of oxygen in their blood. These individuals require higher oxygen concentrations than those available in ambient air. This smaller concentrator works similarly to the at-home version, only you can use it outside and in your car. It runs on a rechargeable battery. The device fits in a pack that you carry with a handle or with a sling that goes over your shoulder, among other options.

Portable concentrators give you oxygen by “pulse dose,” meaning the oxygen comes out in small bursts each time you inhale. Some models can also give you oxygen at a steady flow rate. Talk to your doctor to make sure that you’re getting the right amount of oxygen from either setting.

Follow all of your doctor’s directions and the instructions that came with your device. You’ll also want to:

  • Carry an extra battery. Even though your device’s display panel should tell you how much battery life is left, bring a spare with you in case you won’t be back home for a while.
  • Clean your gear regularly. Wash the tubing or facemask once a week with warm water and mild dish soap. Clean them more often if you get sick. Let them air dry, and don’t let water get in the tube. If the tubing looks damaged, get a replacement from your oxygen supplier. Follow the maker’s instructions on how to clean the filter.

What is the Use of a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?

Typically, oxygen concentrators are used by individuals who have trouble breathing or suffer from breathing disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is an umbrella condition including bronchitis and emphysema. An oxygen concentrator provides a concentrated flow of oxygen so a person can breathe.

There are two types of oxygen delivery for portable oxygen concentrators.

  1. Continuous Flow does exactly as it sounds and provides a constant flow of oxygen to the user, regardless of inhalation or exhalation. A portable continuous flow oxygen concentrator requires larger parts, so these devices tend to be over 10 lbs. Not all portable oxygen concentrators have a continuous mode.
  2. Pulse Dose Mode delivers oxygen only when the patient inhales. There is less effort on the machine since it stops during exhalation, which in turn reduces battery use. These portable oxygen concentrators are smaller in size and typically weigh around 6 lbs. Note: Your prescription would need to indicate your pulse dose settings.

Advantages of Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Portable oxygen concentrators are far less dangerous than traditional oxygen concentrators, which can rupture. The main benefit of a portable oxygen concentrator is that it makes its own air, so you do not have to worry about replacing an oxygen tank. This increased mobility means that just because you need oxygen, you are not forced to cart around an oxygen tank. As they continue to become smaller and smaller, they gain in popularity.

Here are some exclusive benefits of using an oxygen portable unit:

Easy To Use
Almost all oxygen concentrators can be confusing during setup. However, most portable oxygen concentrator settings are extremely user-friendly with digital displays and alerts. As an example, if your POC is not functioning properly, the machine will alert you of the issue with a beeping sound.

Better Sleep
A POC allows you to carry your oxygen supply with you everywhere. If you are a COPD patient, you might suffer from transient nocturnal oxygen desaturation which can interrupt your good night’s sleep. A POC allows you a steady flow of oxygen ensuring a steady blood oxygen level.

Mobility and Independence
While home oxygen concentrators can supply you with a steady flow of oxygen, a portable oxygen concentrator, as the name suggests, allows you to move around freely. You can easily carry a POC anywhere and participate in all events or activities.

Moreover, once you start using a portable oxygen concentrator, you will no longer be dependent on your family members or friends. You can participate in all your normal activities and receive constant oxygen therapy from the POC.

Increases your Stamina
A lack of oxygen results in a lack of energy. A portable oxygen concentrator allows you to continue your oxygen therapy during the day while you perform all your normal activities including cooking, cleaning, taking a walk in the park, etc.

Customizing Options
Depending on the illness, each patient has a different requirement of oxygen. A portable oxygen concentrator is a one-size-fits-all type of device that has extensive settings allowing both pulse-flow and continuous flow delivery for the patients.


Your oxygen supply company will give you instructions for cleaning your equipment. Some basics are listed below:

  • The nasal cannula should be changed every week.
  • The long tubing attached to your stationary equipment should be changed monthly. Neither the nasal cannula nor the long tubing from your stationary equipment should be washed.
  • If an oxygen face mask is used, it should be cleaned twice weekly with warm soapy water.
  • Oxygen concentrators usually require a weekly filter cleaning with warm soapy water.
  • If you are using a humidifier, empty it at least once a day, wash the bottle with soap and warm water, make sure all the soap is rinsed out, and then refill the bottle with distilled water. Do not use tap water, as the minerals in it can damage your equipment.




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