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Oxygen, Activity and Your Health
I strongly encourage all oxygen users to be as active as possible. Activity is incredibly important in maintaining your health. Survival rates are shown to be much greater in oxygen users who get regular exercise from walking and other activities. The challenge that so many face today is having the right equipment to provide adequate supplemental oxygen to remain active and conditioned.
Home Oxygen Concentrators
The home oxygen concentrator was developed in the 1970s. The first portable oxygen concentrator (POC), the AirSep LifeStyle, came along 30 years later. It had a battery life of about 45 minutes and can still be found for sale on the internet today.
Concentrators draw in room air which is then forced through a sieve bed composed of silicate granules. These granules absorb and release the nitrogen of the room air and concentrate the oxygen. Oxygen accumulates until the desired purity is reached and it is delivered. Room air contains about 21 percent oxygen, the POC will deliver air that should be at least 90 percent oxygen.
The bigger the sieve beds are, the more oxygen can be delivered. The most important consideration for a POC is its ability to supply adequate supplementary oxygen to meet your needs. Unfortunately, this is not always the POC that is the smallest size.
Product Development and Oxygen Delivery
I most certainly have thought about product development. The biggest drawback, as far as technology goes, is utilizing oxygen separation technology. That technology just isn’t as efficient as we’d like it to be, which is why many of the POCs that can deliver continuous flow are over 10 pounds. Until there are significant advancements in that area, as well as less power consumption and more battery life, I don’t think we’ll see truly lightweight POCs that can meet the needs of most oxygen users.
It is hard enough to understand the differences of the portable oxygen concentrators on the market today but it is very confusing when the same product is sold by different manufacturers under different names. The bottom line, it is the same product, only the name and/or manufacturer labels are different. For example, the OxyGo POC (https://oxygo.life/?oxygo-products=oxygo) is simply a rebranded Inogen One G3 POC (https:// www.inogen.com/products/g3-systems/).
Liquid oxygen is currently the lightest, most efficient oxygen delivery system, but because of Medicare rules and other issues related to the costs of providing liquid oxy- gen, it has largely been phased out as an option for most oxygen users. We have gone backwards in the last ten years, and I really hope we can reverse course and start getting liquid systems back in use and available. They are the best options for those with higher flow needs.
The next significant advancement in oxygen delivery will be the implementation of oximetry that is fed directly into the oxygen delivery system, either wired or wirelessly. It will track your oxygenation status and increase or decrease oxygen delivery based on the current readings. For example, if someone is at rest and showing an oxygen saturation of 92 percent or above, the system will not deliver any oxygen at all. If the system sees a sudden decrease to 85 percent, it will rapidly increase delivery to try and overcome the desaturation. This will be an incredible advantage; but even this, if released now, would still be limited by the oxygen delivery systems we currently have.
Oxygen Conserving Devices
I had several readers ask about oxygen conserving devices (OCDs) that are used on tanks of oxygen to conserve flow. They work in much the same way as a pulse dose POC works – delivering the oxygen only on inspiration.
Back in 2007, my company, Valley Inspired Products, published an oxygen conserving device comparison. (You can download it at http://www.inspiredrc.com/images/documents/OCD2007.pdf ).
POCs have rendered most OCDs obsolete.
The Smart Dose by DeVilbiss, Drive/CHAD Bonsai and Precision Easy Pulse are the primary devices in use by many durable medical equipment companies that supply your oxygen.
There is no one right product for all applications of oxygen therapy. The person’s needs are the driving factor that should be considered and every person’s needs will be very different. Understanding the capabilities of each oxygen device on the market will give users, clinicians, marketers and manufacturers knowledge that can be used to ask the right questions, evaluate the user’s needs, and make an informed decision when buying and using oxygen equipment.