Home Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen therapy is usually delivered as a gas via an oxygen source such as an oxygen concentrator, cylinder, liquid reservoir or portable oxygen concentrator (POC). The oxygen is usually breathed through a nasal cannula. A nasal cannula is a two-pronged device inserted in the nostrils and is connected to the oxygen source.
Once your physician has determined that you should receive oxygen therapy, you will be tested to find the right amount of oxygen for your needs. Oxygen therapy is usually prescribed in Liters Per Minute (LPM) and helps to increase the level of oxygen in the blood.
Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC)
Oxygen patients have long desired a compact, lightweight solution for home oxygen therapy that gives them everything they need in an all-in-one, easily portable system. Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs) are becoming more popular as options for patients needing oxygen therapy.
Not every oxygen patient can use a POC, but the devices create more independence for many folks. These portable concentrators typically plug into an electrical outlet like the larger, heavier stationary oxygen concentrators. Only a few portable oxygen concentrators that produce up to three liters per minute of oxygen continuously are currently available. Also, they can provide pulses of oxygen either to provide higher intermittent flows or to reduce the power consumption.
Portable oxygen concentrators usually can also be plugged into the accessory outlet of a vehicle, and most all of these devices have the ability to run from battery power. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States has approved the use of portable oxygen concentrators on commercial airlines.
Usually, “demand” or pulse-flow oxygen concentrators are not used by patients while they sleep. There have been problems with the oxygen concentrators not being able to detect when the sleeping patient is inhaling. Some larger portable oxygen concentrators are designed to operate in continuous-flow mode in addition to pulse-flow mode. Continuous-flow mode is considered safe for night use when coupled with a CPAP machine.