Supplemental oxygen can be prescribed for a variety of conditions: patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or those with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, as well as individuals experiencing breathlessness resulting from cardiac or respiratory failure.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC) have become more readily available in recent years, offering a compact, lightweight solution for home oxygen therapy, but it’s important to remember that not all POC products are created equally.
As with any medical device delivering life-preserving therapy, patients should carefully assess their daily oxygen needs and accurately determine which model will serve those needs best. And, in this scenario, size is a consideration: smaller, lighter POCs will generally meet fewer patients’ oxygen requirements than a larger, more robust POC would.
When choosing a POC, there are a number of questions a user must consider. The American Lung Association offers these tips on choosing a POC:
- Can the POC meet most, if not all of my daily oxygen needs?
In an ideal situation, your POC of choice would be able to provide sufficient oxygen quantities while you are at rest, active, sleeping, and/or at higher altitudes. The two types of POCs available—pulse-only POCs and continuous flow-capable POCs—necessitate knowing the device’s maximum output, and whether or not that output is enough oxygen for you to maintain saturation in even the most strenuous daily activities.
- Is the POC truly portable?
When choosing a unit, pay close attention to what the weight and size specifications include, as most manufacturers’ published specifications describe only the weight of the base unit and battery. Once accessories—like power supplies, shoulder straps, additional batteries, wheeled carts—are added, the weight may be considerably more. The ALA also suggests considering battery operation time when looking at portability, which is dependent on like dose setting and breath rate.
- Is the POC reliable? What if it stops working?
If you’re looking at buying a POC, you’ll want to check the company’s track record, and read any reviews available about the unit, ultimately choosing an option that will operate consistently and flawlessly. Manufacturers will typically offer a warranty for the unit as well as the battery, but you must also consider how to get by if the unit needs to be repaired. To deal with this possibility, it’s advised to keep an additional oxygen delivery system on hand.
Symbius Medical provides a wide variety of respiratory products and services to our customers, including oxygen concentrators throughout Arizona, California and Utah. We offer a variety of home oxygen therapies to fit your medical needs and lifestyle. We have portable and standard concentrators, portable E systems, and oxygen-conserving devices. To learn more about our services or to place home medical supply orders, contact us by phone at (800) 948-1868, or online at www.symbiusmedical.com.