Portable oxygen concentrator (or POC) is a portable device used to provide oxygen therapy to patients at substantially higher oxygen concentrations than the levels of ambient air. It is very similar to a home oxygen concentrator, but is smaller in size and more mobile. The portable oxygen concentrator makes it easy for patients to travel freely; they are small enough to fit in a car and many concentrators are now FAA-approved.
History of Development
Portable oxygen concentrators have been around for decades, but the older versions were bulky, unreliable, and were not permitted on airplanes. Since 2000, manufacturers have improved their reliability and they now produce anywhere between one and six liters per minute (LPM) of oxygen. The portable concentrators plug directly into a regular house outlet for charging at home or hotel, but they came with a power adapter that can usually be plugged into a vehicle DC adapter. They have the ability to operate from the battery power as well for either ambulatory use, or away from a power source, or on an airplane.
How Does It Work?
Portable oxygen concentrators operate on the same principle as a home domestic concentrator, operating through a series of cycles. Air at barometric pressure contains 21% oxygen combined with nitrogen and a mixture of other gases. A miniaturized air compressor inside the machine will pressurize this air through a system of chemical filters known as a molecular sieve. This filter is made up of silicate granules called Zeolite which sieves the nitrogen out of the air, concentrating the oxygen. Part of the oxygen produced is delivered to the patient; part is fed back into the sieves to clear them of the accumulated nitrogen, preparing them for the next cycle. Through this process, the system is capable of producing medical grade oxygen of up to 90% consistently. The latest models can be powered from mains electricity supply, 12v DC (car/boat etc.), and battery packs making the patient free from relying on using cylinders & other current solutions that put a restriction on time, weight, and size.
Most of the current portable oxygen concentrator systems provide oxygen on a pulse (on-demand) delivery in order to maximize the purity of the oxygen. The system supplies a high concentration of oxygen and is used with a nasal cannula to channel oxygen from the concentrator to the patient.
What Are The Benefits?
Portable oxygen therapy allows oxygen therapy patients to maintain their mobility and independence throughout their day-to-day activities. Here are some benefits of using portable oxygen concentrators:
- Allows patients to utilize oxygen therapy 24/7, which helps increase survival.
- Portable oxygen concentrators help improve exercise tolerance, as supplemental oxygen during exercise helps you exercise longer.
- Helps increase stamina throughout day-to-day activities.
- Freedom to travel lightly and easily. No need to carry around heavy oxygen tanks which are difficult, heavy, and dangerous (explosive properties).
If you ever have any questions, please call our Respiratory Department at (402) 342-5886 or (866) 249-7367. Or fill out this simple contact form.