Oxygen therapy is an essential treatment option for patients suffering from a number of respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Scientists have thought up different ways of solving this problem and have finally come up with two technical solutions for long-term oxygen treatment: portable oxygen concentrators (POC), and liquid oxygen tanks. Long-term oxygen treatment is said to be an oxygen therapy that lasts for more than 15 hours a day.
POCs are machines that provide supplemental oxygen to a patient, by compressing atmospheric air to almost 4 atmospheres of pressure and discarding nitrogen out of this compressed air. This increases the concentration of oxygen in the compressed air. The older versions of these concentrators were bulky and unreliable.
However, today's innovative concentrators are smaller in size, more reliable, i.e., they produce between 1 - 6 liters per minute (LPM) of Oxygen, and offer a high level of convenience and mobility. Liquid oxygen and compressed oxygen systems require large cylinders that have to be refilled and stored, or handled with care. However, a POC can be simply plugged into any electrical outlet, including a vehicle DC adapter. They also have rechargeable batteries that may be used when away from a power outlet.
Benefits of POC
Those suffering from a number of health problems might require supplemental oxygen as a part of their treatment protocol. There are essentially three basic methods to receive oxygen, namely through liquid oxygen tanks, compressed oxygen cylinders, and concentrators. The concentrators have a number of uses and benefits, when it comes to issues like the storage, travel, and safety.
Here are some of the uses of POC:
- Uses: The biggest advantage of a portable oxygen concentrator is its ease of use feature. User-friendly and easy to use, these systems are simply plugged into a basic electrical outlet. Most other systems like liquid oxygen tanks require large tanks, which are very heavy and are not designed to be portable.
- Storage Purposes: Unlike compressed and liquid oxygen systems that require large cylinders to be stored in, they are easy to store.
- Travel: Some portable concentrators can be plugged into the car's accessory outlet and come with special features like rechargeable batteries. Compressed tanks are not permitted in flights as they are classified as hazardous to life, whereas some concentrators have been approved by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).
- Delivery: Compressed and liquid oxygen systems tanks need to be refilled from an equipment store. This can be highly inconvenient, as there is a set schedule involved. A concentrator on the other hand, does not require these tanks so there is no need to wait for delivery.
- Safety: The pressure that compressed oxygen tanks are under is very high. So, they have to be handled with extreme care all the time. A concentrator does not have any of these safety hazards.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.