A portable oxygen concentrator continuous flow, also known as a POC, functions unlike any standard or liquid oxygen tanks you may currently be using.
Instead of scheduling regular refills or replacements for tanks, a portable oxygen concentrator takes in ambient air and sends it through a filtration process to produce medical-grade quality oxygen.
This innovative process is powered by a rechargeable internal/external battery or both, depending on the oxygen concentrator you choose. They may also be plugged into an AC or DC outlet to power and even charge the unit during treatments.
- 1 Continuous flow oxygen concentrator
- 2 Oxygen concentrator vs oxygen tank
- 3 Smallest portable oxygen concentrator
- 4 Portable oxygen concentrator FAA approved
- 5 Portable oxygen concentrators with continuous flow
- 6 How does an oxygen concentrator work?
- 7 What does an oxygen concentrator do?
- 8 Battery pack for portable oxygen concentrator
- 9 Continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator
- 10 Continuous Flow Portable Oxygen Concentrator
- 11 Is there a portable continuous flow oxygen concentrator?
- 12 Continuous Flow Portable Oxygen Concentrator manufacturers
Continuous flow oxygen concentrator
How does a continuous-flow oxygen concentrator work?
Easily put, an oxygen concentrator pulls in ambient air from its surroundings. The air is then compressed and nitrogen is removed by the air filter and sieve beds to deliver purified medical grade oxygen via a nasal cannula. The level of oxygen delivered is regulated by the flow rate set on your machine.
Whether you are a caregiver or an oxygen patient, you’re here because you want to improve your’s or your loved one’s personal freedom and quality of life.
In this guide to portable oxygen concentrators we will cover everything from their history, why they vary in size, differences in continuous and pulse flow, reasons why you need a POC, traveling tips, purchasing a concentrator, and much more.
Oxygen concentrator vs oxygen tank
To help you make the most informed purchasing decision so you end up with an oxygen concentrator that meets your oxygen and lifestyle needs fully.
Oxygen therapy isn’t something that was newly introduced in the past century, in fact, the molecule of oxygen was discovered all the way back in 1772.
Shortly after oxygen was discovered, the medical implications were quickly realized, specifically for patients suffering from respiratory illnesses.
The use of hyperbaric oxygen chambers to treat COPD or other respiratory illnesses is still widely debated. Typically doctors will not use a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to treat COPD as the increased pressure could cause your lungs to leak into the chest cavity and eventually collapse.
Smallest portable oxygen concentrator
The term “portable oxygen” implies that the medical device is lightweight, durable, easy to use, and most importantly small.
Hubs can be judged by how easily they can be carried on the shoulder. The smaller the hub, the easier it is to carry it under your shoulder without interrupting your walk.
Another important benefit of small portable oxygen concentrators is that they are much easier to store.
If you ever need to store your hub, you can be sure that you will find a place for it.
Plus, since you don’t have to carry small portable oxygen concentrators on the floor, you won’t have to worry about not being able to place it on a table where it can spread germs. The most common sizes are:
- 5-liter continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator
- 6-liter continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator
Portable oxygen concentrator FAA approved
After patients began to see the incredible benefits that home oxygen concentrators provide, younger and more active patients wanted a method to supplement their active lifestyle on the go.
Cumbersome metal-oxygen or liquid oxygen tanks were the only answer for patients that wanted their oxygen therapy while away from home, however, they severely restricted patients from doing things they enjoyed most, especially traveling.
To help enhance the lives of patients with COPD and other respiratory diseases, manufacturers went to the drawing board to design a portable version of the effective home oxygen concentrator that would be approved by the FAA.
After the development of the Inogen One and the AirSep LifeStyle portable oxygen concentrators, the FAA approved these portable concentrators for in-flight use in 2005.
Paving the way for the portable oxygen concentrators of today and solidifying a new standard for oxygen therapy.
Portable oxygen concentrators with continuous flow
After years of testing and research, manufacturers were able to make incredible strides in the functionality of portable oxygen concentrators.
Today, the battery life of portable oxygen concentrators has been greatly increased and many can be enhanced with the use of an external battery. Many portable concentrators are able to be charged and powered in your car, truck, R.V., or boat through the cigarette lighter outlet.
While many portable concentrators also contain sleep mode technology, which will allow you to use your POC 24/7 such as with a home oxygen concentrator.
- Portable oxygen machines also feature numerous audible alarms that help keep you safe and let you know when an error has occurred.
- So you can rest assured knowing that your oxygen concentrator is functioning properly at all times of use.
- Any concentrator without an alarm system is not FDA or FAA approved.
- To make operating a portable oxygen concentrator as user-friendly as possible, the entire functionality of the concentrator is controlled by an easy to operate control panel.
- As technology advances select POC’s are even beginning to feature a touch screen control panel.
How does an oxygen concentrator work?
The functionality of an oxygen concentrator may seem like magic at first but in reality, it’s easily explainable. An oxygen concentrator functions by taking ambient air from the surrounding environment. The air is then sent through an internal sieve bed that removes nitrogen and delivers medical grade oxygen to you via a nasal cannula.
A concentrator is operated electrically by its rechargeable internal/external battery, the AC power supply through a standard wall outlet, or in your car, boat, or RV with the DC power supply.
Learn the step by step process of how oxygen concentrators make their own air below.
What does an oxygen concentrator do?
How Oxygen Concentrators Make Their Own Oxygen:
- Step 1: The concentrator pulls air from its surrounding area
- Step 2: Air is then compressed and the cooling mechanism protects the unit from overheating
- Step 3: The Sieve beds and filter remove nitrogen from the air
- Step 4: Medical grade oxygen is then delivered via a nasal cannula according to your preset flow setting
Battery pack for portable oxygen concentrator
Charging a Portable Oxygen Concentrator
Depending on the portable oxygen concentrator you choose, you may have some or all 3 of the charging methods that will be discussed.
All concentrators can be charged while stationary using an AC power supply through any conventional US or Canadian power outlet. Giving you access to every flow setting while the concentrator is charging.
For charging on the go, the majority of concentrators can at the very minimum be powered through your car battery with a DC power supply, while others will be powered and charged on every flow setting.
When you have more than one battery it can become cumbersome to charge each one individually with the AC power supply. To help, certain oxygen concentrator manufacturers rolled out an external battery charger option. Which operates with its own AC power supply and will charge a battery externally from the concentrator.
How Charging Works:
- The AC power supply unit cord plugs into the concentrator while the 3 pronged power cord plugs into a wall outlet.
- The electrical current from the wall outlet will travel through the power supply and begin charging/powering the concentrator’s battery.
- The oxygen concentrator will begin to charge automatically whether the machine is On or Off.
- The length of the charging cycle depends on a couple of things:
- the remaining charge left in the battery,
- whether or not you are using the POC while charging,
- the flow rate you use while charging
Continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator
Oxygen Delivery: Pulse Flow vs. Continuous Flow
Pulse flow portable oxygen concentrator
A pulse flow delivery oxygen concentrator is the on-demand delivery method. Rather than providing a continuous stream of oxygen, pulse flow delivery reads and reacts to your breathing rate. At the onset of inhalation, the portable concentrator will recognize your breath and deliver a bolus dose of oxygen.
Since a pulse flow POC only delivers oxygen on-demand, less oxygen is wasted and you get better battery life. With each breath, you will hear the machine makes a faint pulsing sound.
Continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator
As its name implies, a continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator will deliver a constant and continuous flow of oxygen per minute, whether you are inhaling or exhaling.
These POC’s, are for patients that require 0.5 to 3 liters per minute of oxygen. Certain patients can use pulse flow during the day but need a continuous flow at night while sleeping to be used with CPAP/BiPAP or because they breathe too shallowly to trigger the pulse.
A continuous flow is also used by patients who breathe through their mouth rather than their nose. A great way to visualize how continuous flow works is to imagine it as a sink faucet. Once you turn it on to fill your cup a “continuous” stream of water will flow no matter how filled the cup is.
An oxygen concentrator receives air, purifies it, and then distributes the newly formed air. Before it goes into the concentrator, the air is made up of 80 percent nitrogen and 20 percent oxygen.
Oxygen concentrators are considered sufficiently foolproof to be supplied to individual patients as a prescription item for use in their homes. Typically they are used as an adjunct to CPAP treatment of severe sleep apnea.
A portable oxygen concentrator refers to a device that is widely used to provide oxygen therapy to patients who require a higher level of oxygen concentration than ambient air.
Yes, if there are many models and brands of portable continuous flow oxygen concentrators, the best known are Inogen, Phillips (Respironics), Invacare, AirSep.
Do you know what is the world demand for oxygen concentrators, what are the brands and models of oxygen tanks?