Understanding Portable Oxygen Concentrators and How They Work

  • 9 min reading time

Portable oxygen concentrators are battery-operated, medical-grade devices that deliver supplemental oxygen to individuals with certain medical conditions. They offer a convenient way for patients to receive extra oxygen while they’re away from home or travelling. Whether you are a patient in need of oxygen therapy or a caregiver looking for information, this blog will help you understand the basics of portable oxygen concentrators and their role in managing respiratory conditions.

man carrying portable oxygen concentrator while travelling for airport

What is a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?

A portable oxygen concentrator (POC) is a medical device that is designed to deliver supplemental oxygen to individuals with respiratory conditions. Unlike traditional oxygen therapy devices, such as oxygen tanks or concentrators, a POC is small, lightweight, and portable, allowing individuals to be mobile while receiving oxygen therapy.

POCs work by extracting oxygen from the air and filtering out other gases such as nitrogen. They use a battery-powered compressor and a series of filters to concentrate oxygen from ambient air and deliver it directly to the user through a nasal cannula or oxygen mask.

POCs are typically small enough to carry in a backpack or shoulder bag, making them ideal for use at home, work, or on the go. They are designed to be easy to operate, with simple controls and an intuitive interface.

POCs come in different sizes and configurations, with different flow rates and battery life. Some POCs are FAA approved for air travel, allowing individuals to continue to receive oxygen therapy while traveling.

It is important to note that a POC should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and after a thorough evaluation of the individual's condition. A healthcare professional can help determine the appropriate flow rate and settings for the POC based on the individual's needs.

How does a Portable Oxygen Concentrator Work?

Portable oxygen concentrators work by removing nitrogen from ambient air and supplying the purest form of oxygen to the user. During inhalation, the POC draws in air from the surrounding environment and passes it through a chamber filled with zeolite beads. These beads draw in nitrogen, releasing clean breaths of oxygen only. This cycles until enough oxygen has been delivered to meet the users breathing demand. The POC then shuts off automatically, allowing a few moments for exhalation, before repeating the cycle all over again.

health official explaining function of portable oxygen concentrator

What are the Benefits of Using a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?

Here are some of the benefits of using a portable oxygen concentrator:

  1. Improved mobility: POCs are small and lightweight, which means that they are easy to carry around, whether you are traveling or just going about your daily routine. This improves mobility and allows individuals to continue their daily activities without being tied down to bulky oxygen tanks.

  2. Better quality of life: With a POC, individuals with respiratory conditions can continue to do the things they love, such as travel, exercise, and spend time with friends and family. This can lead to an improved quality of life, as they are not limited by their condition.

  3. Convenience: POCs are convenient to use and require minimal maintenance. They are designed to be easy to operate, with simple controls and an intuitive interface. This makes them ideal for individuals who may have limited mobility or dexterity.

  4. Cost-effective: POCs can be more cost-effective than traditional oxygen therapy devices, as they do not require refilling or replacing oxygen tanks. Instead, they use ambient air and filter out nitrogen to deliver concentrated oxygen to the user.

  5. Improved safety: Unlike traditional oxygen therapy devices, POCs do not rely on pressurized oxygen tanks, which can be dangerous if mishandled. Instead, POCs use a concentrator to extract oxygen from the air, which is safer and more reliable.

Overall, using a portable oxygen concentrator can improve mobility, quality of life, convenience, and safety for individuals with respiratory conditions who require oxygen therapy.

What Conditions Can a Portable Oxygen Concentrator Be Used For?

A portable oxygen concentrator (POC) can be used to treat a variety of respiratory conditions that cause low blood oxygen levels. Some of the most common conditions that can be treated with a POC include:

  1. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. A POC can provide supplemental oxygen to help alleviate symptoms and improve breathing.

  2. Asthma: Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes inflammation in the airways, leading to breathing difficulties. A POC can provide supplemental oxygen to help manage asthma symptoms.

  3. Pulmonary fibrosis: Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive lung disease that causes scarring in the lungs, leading to breathing difficulties. A POC can provide supplemental oxygen to help alleviate symptoms and improve breathing.

  4. Cystic fibrosis: Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and other organs. A POC can provide supplemental oxygen to help manage symptoms and improve breathing.

  5. Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes breathing interruptions during sleep. A POC can provide supplemental oxygen to help alleviate symptoms and improve breathing during sleep.

  6. Heart failure: Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood effectively. A POC can provide supplemental oxygen to help improve oxygen levels and alleviate symptoms such as shortness of breath.

  7. High altitude sickness: High altitude sickness can occur when traveling to high elevations, such as mountains. A POC can provide supplemental oxygen to help alleviate symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and headache.

Portable Oxygen Concentrator at home

Are There Any Safety Considerations to be Aware Of When Using a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?

Yes, there are a few important safety considerations to be aware of when using a portable oxygen concentrator. For example, it’s important to ensure that the device is properly secured and stable. In addition, caution should always be taken if the unit is used in an environment with combustible materials as it can create a fire hazard. Furthermore, always remember to store and use the device in accordance with manufacturer guidelines.

It is important to note that a POC should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and after a thorough evaluation of the individual's condition.

Most Popular Portable Oxygen Concentrators

There are several popular portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) available on the market today. Some of the most popular POCs include:

  1. Inogen One G5: The Inogen One G5 is a lightweight and compact POC that delivers up to 1,260 ml/min of oxygen. It features a long-lasting battery, easy-to-use controls, and is FAA approved for air travel.

  2. Respironics SimplyGo Mini: The Respironics SimplyGo Mini is a compact and lightweight POC that delivers up to 1,000 ml/min of oxygen. It features a long-lasting battery, easy-to-use controls, and is FAA approved for air travel.

  3. Invacare Platinum Mobile: The Invacare Platinum Mobile is a small and lightweight POC that delivers up to 1,000 ml/min of oxygen. It features a long-lasting battery, easy-to-use controls, and is FAA approved for air travel.

  4. Devilbiss iGo2: The iGo2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator is a lightweight and compact design, easy-to-use interface, rechargeable battery, and ability to provide both continuous and pulse flow oxygen.

It is important to note that the appropriate POC for an individual will depend on their specific needs and medical condition. A healthcare professional can help determine which POC is best for the individual.

Conclusion: Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) are a game-changer for individuals with respiratory conditions. These small, lightweight devices provide individuals with the oxygen therapy they need to maintain their mobility and independence. POCs are designed to extract oxygen from the air and deliver it directly to the user, making them an effective treatment option for a variety of respiratory conditions. If you or a loved one is in need of oxygen therapy, speak with a healthcare professional to determine if a POC is the right treatment option for you.

Shop Portable Oxygen concentrators and its accessories from Tricare Medical Supplies. We offers competitive pricing and excellent customer service to ensure a positive buying experience with Free shipping.

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