Frequently Asked Questions on Oxygen Concentrators

What is an oxygen concentrator? How does it work?

An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that delivers pure oxygen into the body of a patient by means of a nasal cannula or mask. It takes in air from the surroundings, compresses it, removes the nitrogen from it via a filter and sieve beds leaving 87-95% of oxygen in the air. This oxygen is then delivered to the patient.

What is a portable oxygen concentrator?

Portable oxygen concentrator is an oxygen therapy device that can easily be carried around. It offers therapy to those who are on the go and need more oxygen concentration than the ambient air level. It is small in size and lightweight. Portable oxygen concentrators can even be carried on-flight by air travelers. An FAA ruling allows FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrators to be carried on US airlines.

What is the difference between portable and stationary oxygen concentrator?

Stationary oxygen concentrators are larger and heavier compared to portable oxygen concentrators. They also provide high flow rate and are recommended for patients who require substantial oxygen supply. Stationary oxygen concentrators deliver 3 to 10 liters of oxygen per minute while portable models supply 1 to 5 liters per minute.

How do portable oxygen concentrators work?

There are two types of portable oxygen concentrators - pulse dose and continuous flow. Pulse dose oxygen concentrator is ideal for use in the day time and delivers air through a nasal cannula only when the user inhales. This type is compact and has a greater battery life. On the other hand, a continuous flow oxygen concentrator delivers constant air flow and is ideal for night-time use.

What is the advantage of an oxygen concentrator?

A home oxygen concentrator is safer and more cost-effective when compared to a traditional oxygen cylinder. Now there is no need to carry around heavy and unwieldy oxygen cylinders. Plus, oxygen is readily available with a concentrator and, unlike an oxygen tank, an oxygen concentrator allows unlimited supply of oxygen and the patient can never run out of oxygen. Also, there is no risk of leakage. Another major benefit is the ease with which one can carry it around, even when flying.