What is an oxygen concentrator?
An oxygen concentrator is a medical device used for supplemental oxygen delivery to a patient. In general, an oxygen concentrator device works by modifying the surrounding air to deliver more concentrated oxygen. This oxygen output is typically measured in liters per minute (l/min or LPM) for continuous oxygen flow and in milliliters (mL) for each bolus in pulse-mode oxygen delivery. As a result, an oxygen concentrator does not require to be refilled like an oxygen cylinder or tank, as it can produce its own oxygen.
The oxygen is delivered to the patient through a nasal cannula or an oxygen mask. There are different types of oxygen concentrators available with different features and specifications to conveniently suit the various demands and lifestyles of different patients, such as device weight, device size and flow rate capacities.
Types of oxygen concentrators
The main types of oxygen concentrators available are:-
- Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC), such as Philips Respironics SimplyGo and Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini
- Stationary oxygen concentrators, such as Philips Respironics Everflo, Drive DeVilbiss Compact 525 and Drive DeVilbiss Compact 1025
Oxygen Concentrator Types Comparison (Portable vs Stationary)
Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC):
- Smaller in size and compact in design compared to stationary oxygen concentrators
- Portable in nature
- Lightweight compared to stationary oxygen concentrators
- Work by rechargeable battery
- Deliver pulse dose oxygen
(Note: Some POCs can also additionally run on continuous oxygen flow, such as the Philips Respironics SimplyGo which provides continuous oxygen flow up to 2L/min)
The below is a helpful video by the American Lung Association explaining how to get started with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC):
Stationary oxygen concentrators:
- Have a higher oxygen output compared to portable oxygen concentrators
- Typically deliver continuous oxygen flow
- Greater lifespan compared to portable oxygen concentrators
- Require a power source to operate
- Most models come with wheels for ease of transfer
The below is a helpful video by the American Lung Association explaining how to get started with a home oxygen concentrator:
How do I know which type of oxygen concentrator will be most suitable for me?
We advise you to consult with your doctor to evaluate your condition. If an oxygen concentrator is prescribed for you to use, discuss with your doctor details such as the oxygen concentrator type (Stationary or POC), oxygen flow rate setting and duration of use etc. that would be most suitable for you as it varies based on factors like your medical needs and lifestyle choices.
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