The principle is pretty simple: oxygen therapy at much higher concentrations than that of normal air. The portable oxygen concentrator is quite similar to the home version except that it is easier to carry and is smaller. The purpose of the portable version is to make it possible for oxygen patients to travel and get out of their homes. Approved by the FAA for airplane oxygen, they are designed to fit into a car or other vehicle.
These are not new in the medical world, but they have become more streamlined and are now permitted on airplanes. They typically produce between one and five liters of oxygen per minute. Some have the added capability of being able to modify the flow from pulse to continuous. They can be recharged in a home electrical outlet; however, most also have an adapter that makes it possible to recharge them on an automobile DC adapter. They can also operate on battery power, which makes it possible for the patient to walk around with the portable oxygen concentrator, use it without plugging it into a power source, or take it along on an airplane.
Although a ruling by the FAA in 2005 required that commercial airlines permit certain portable oxygen concentrators on their aircraft, a ruling put into effect on May 13th of 2009 requires that all US air carriers permit the use of portable oxygen concentrators on all their flights, whether domestic or foreign. Also, all foreign air carriers must permit them on flights that begin in the US or end here.
However, it’s not quite that simple. Many domestic airlines require notification at least 48 hours before flight time, so oxygen therapy patients need to contact the reservations department of the airline they are planning to use for their trip early so they can be prepared. Also, some airlines will only accept certain travel oxygen concentrators. So be warned that if you require a portable oxygen concentrator, plan ahead. Call your reservation agent and get the specifics for your particular flight.
A patient only inhales oxygen when they breathe in. Modern oxygen concentrators accommodate this principle by supplying oxygen only when it is needed—when the patient is inhaling. When the patient breathes in, the machine sends a pulse of oxygen. The amount in the pulse is determined ahead of time according to the patient’s needs. Nowadays, there are some oxygen concentrators on the market that provide bursts of oxygen on demand. For example, when a patient is sleeping and his breathing rate is slower, the machine adjusts.
Cell metabolism requires oxygen; tissue oxygenation is vital for everything the body does. Air is made up of only 21% oxygen. By increasing the amount of oxygen breathed in (what the oxygenator does), the levels of oxygen in the blood are increased. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the conditions that require an increase in the amount of oxygen needed—an oxygen generator, in other words. COPD is usually caused by long-term smoking. In some cases, these patients are on an oxygenator 24 hours a day—both sleeping and waking.
This is only one example of a disease or condition where oxygen is required to keep a patient alive. In the past, these patients have been confined to their homes or hospital rooms. However, with the improvements in portability, they are now able to expand their lives to participate in more activities outside their homes, making their lives much better and happier.
Vitality Medical supplies both home oxygen concentrators and portable oxygen concentrators. Noteworthy portable oxygen includes the SOLO2 which supplies pulse and continuous flow oxygen. The Respironics EverGo and the Invacare XPO2 are small and light weight, both under 9 pounds. Another notable portable concentrator is the Inogen One, known for its low noise operation at only 35 decibels. These medical oxygen concentrators require a prescription from a physician. Vitality Medical provides each of these leading brands at discount pricing. Call toll free 800-397-5899 and order your new portable oxygen concentrator today!