More and more people are using oxygen therapy outside the hospital, permitting them to lead active, productive lives. People with asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, occupational lung disease, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, or congestive heart failure may use oxygen therapy at home.
A physician must write a prescription for oxygen therapy. The prescription will spell out the flow rate, how much oxygen you need per minute -- referred to as liters per minute (LPM or L/M) -- and when you need to use oxygen. Some people use oxygen therapy only while exercising, others only while sleeping, and still others need oxygen continuously. Your physician will order an arterial blood test or an oxygen saturation test that will indicate what your oxygen level is and help determine what your needs are.
Oxygen Delivery Devices
There are several common means of oxygen delivery. A nasal cannula is a two-pronged device inserted in the nostrils that is connected to tubing carrying the oxygen. The tubing can rest on the ears or be attached to the frame of eyeglasses. People who need a high flow oxygen generally use a mask. Some people who use a nasal cannula during the day prefer a mask at night or when their noses are irritated or clogged by a cold.
There are three common ways of providing oxygen therapy. Oxygen can be delivered to your home in the form of a gas in various-sized cylinders/tanks or as a liquid in a vessel. We do not carry liquid oxygen. The third way to provide oxygen therapy is by using an oxygen concentrator. Each method is examined in more detail below.
||Compressed Gas – Oxygen is stored under pressure in a cylinder (oxygen tank) equipped with a regulator that controls the flow rate. Standard regulators provide continuous oxygen. Because the flow of oxygen out of the cylinder is constant, an oxygen-conserving device may be attached to the system to avoid waste. This device releases the gas only when you inhale and cuts it off when you exhale. Oxygen also can be provided in a small tank that can be carried with you, but the large tanks are heavy and best for stationary use. Click here for more information.
||Oxygen Concentrator – This is an electrically powered device that separates the oxygen out of the air, concentrates it, and stores it. This system has a number of advantages because it doesn't have to be re-supplied and it is not as costly as liquid oxygen. Extra tubing permits the user to move around with minimal difficulty. Small, portable systems have been developed that afford even greater mobility. You must have a cylinder of oxygen as a backup in the event of a power failure. You should advise your electric power company in order to get priority service when there is a power failure. Click here for more information.
Liquid Oxygen – We do not carry liquid oxygen.