How Does a Portable Oxygen Concentrator Work?

What Is It?

Portable Oxygen Concentrators are small, lightweight machines that delivers purified oxygen to the user. As the name suggests, it is a mobile device that can be easier taken with you as you go about. A portable oxygen concentrator or POC is a battery-powered medical device that receives air, purifies it, and then delivers it to a recipient.

A Break Down of How It Works

A POC receives air through a motor, then it compresses that air and sends it to the two sieve beds and filters. This is where the pressure drops, and the nitrogen is released. The air comes in at about 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen and comes out closer to 90-95% oxygen. The nitrogen is separated to deliver a higher dosage of oxygen. The oxygen is then moved to the production tank where is becoming available to deliver purified oxygen to the user through the nasal canal. There is also a cooling system embedded that keeps the air from overheating.  

Pulse Dose vs. Continuous Flow

There are two settings for oxygen flow options on a POC—pulse dose and continuous flow. A pulse dose is usually for daytime use. This option will deliver oxygen only when you inhale on a sort of pulse. Whereas the continuous flow option does not work on a pulse but delivers a constant supply of air flow to the user. This is usually a better option for oxygen therapy while you sleep. Whether you require a pulse does or continuous flow option should be discussed with your doctor. Your oxygen needs may vary as to switch setting you benefit from most and when.

Things to Consider

Each POC machine is different and should be researched before purchasing. There are a few questions you should ask yourself when you’re in the market for an oxygen concentrator. First off, you should know your oxygen needs. You should know how much oxygen you’ll need and how much the concentrator you are considering delivers. This amount should be subscribed by a doctor and is usually in liters per minute. Other things to consider include:

  • Will you be traveling with your POC?
  • Is your machine a good weight and size for you to carry around comfortably?
  • How many hours a day do you need to use your POC? What is its battery life like? Do you need to invest in addition batteries?
  • Do you need to use your COP during the night?
  • Do you plan on exercising with your machine?

All of these questions and any other you may have should be discussed with a medical professional before purchasing your POC. The right oxygen machine can make your life much easier. Needing oxygen does not need to slow your down. With a portable device you can breath easy as you continue to live your life, exercise, travel, and do everyday activities while also receiving the oxygen you require.