There is little more terrifying than the fear for not getting enough air. Fear of suffocation is one of the two components of Claustrophobia the other being fear of restriction. If you require medical oxygen both of these fears could be affecting you. However with all of the breakthroughs in oxygen delivery systems in recent years, those fears may be unfounded. At Vitality Medical we have helped literally thousands of people find their oxygen therapy solution.
An Oxygen Concentrator is a medical device that concentrates regular air to an oxygen concentration level of greater than 87%. According to MiStupid.com, the air we breathe generally contains 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen; all other components are about 1%.
Concentrators remove most of the nitrogen, leaving the remaining air 87-95% oxygen. Then the oxygen concentrators deliver the oxygen to the patient by means of tubes or masks. Oxygen concentrator output is measured in liters per minute (lpm.)
There are two basic types of oxygen concentrators used in Home Oxygen Therapy. These include Portable Oxygen Concentrators and Non-Portable Oxygen Concentrators. The main differences between these two types of Concentrators are capacity and weight.
A simple rule of thumb is the more it weighs, the more liters per minute (LPM) of oxygen output it will produce. Often times an Oxygen Therapy Patient has several of the decisions made for them. Their Health Care Provider will write a prescription that will list a requirement for LPM. All Oxygen Concentrators can adjust down from their maximum output but obviously, they cannot exceed it.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators usually operate using Pulse Delivery. Puffs of Oxygen deliver the Oxygen to the Patient. Typically using the Pulse Delivery method approximately 1 lpm is the Maximum Oxygen flow. Pulse Delivery relies on the patient’s ability to sync their breathing to the rhythm of the machine. A doctor can tell you if this Pulse Dosing will give the patient the right supply of Oxygen.
Portable Oxygen concentrators are light enough to carry and are also relatively quiet. One of the complaints about Oxygen concentrators from the old days was the amount of noise that they made. Particularly an older home unit, which can sound like raving pack of SCUBA enthusiasts.
Home Units or Non-Portable Oxygen Concentrators operate using Continuous Flow Delivery. A steady stream of Oxygen flows to the Patient. People with serious and advanced pulmonary disease may need this kind of machine to breathe. These machines are designed to run 24-hours a day delivering a set level of lpm to the patient. Currently the home units are topping out at about 10 LPM.
The 5 Oxygen Concentrators Tips
A well-informed decision is usually the difference between breathing easy with your decision or choking down your buyer’s remorse. Whether you purchase your machine from Vitality Medical or another vendor, here are 5 things to remember when deciding on an Oxygen Concentrator.
- Don’t let price be your only guide. Sometime the most expensive unit isn’t the right fit for you. Maybe it’s the most expensive because it includes more accessories or has a more recognizable brand name.
- Ask Questions. When doing your research don’t hesitate to ask questions. At Vitality Medical our staff has the answer or we call the manufacturer and get it. But even if you see someone on the bus using portable oxygen, ask them about their experience. They went through the same paces when they picked their unit.
- Buy a little more than you need. Oxygen Concentrators can be dialed down to meet your needs. Say you spend between $650 and $5000 on an oxygen concentrator and you should come to need more lpm within the year, buying a concentrator with more capacity means buying just one.
- DON’T RENT—BUY! Employing full disclosure, at this time Vitality Medical does not rent machines. If you have a monthly Oxygen Therapy bill just add up a years worth of receipts and balance them against the cost of a Concentrator. The math speaks for itself.
- Talk to your Health Care Professional. Each case is different. Only you, your family and your doctor can come to the correct Oxygen solution.
For 10 years, at Vitality Medical we have delivered on our promise to sell top quality medical supplies at some of the best prices on the Web.