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Understand Pulmonary Tests

Oxygen Therapy

When breathing becomes more difficult, your doctor may discuss the possibility of prescribing oxygen therapy. Treatment with oxygen therapy gives you extra oxygen when your lungs can’t absorb enough oxygen from the air.

Oxygen can be delivered to your lungs in three ways:

  1. Compressed oxygen: Oxygen gas is compressed and stored in cylinders that can be transported in a bag that you can attach to your belt or carry, or pulled on a cart.
  2. Concentrated oxygen: This type of system gives you a constant oxygen supply so you don’t have to purchase refills regularly:
  3. Liquid oxygen: This is oxygen that has been chilled to about -273 degrees, which turns the gas into a liquid that can be stored in large tanks. Liquid oxygen is less common now due to the inconvenience for refilling.

If your doctor has prescribed oxygen therapy, know that there are many benefits you can receive such as improvements in overall health, better sleep, the ability to enjoy more activities and improved mental function.

Types of Oxygen Therapy Equipment

There are several different types of oxygen therapy that your doctor may prescribe:

Oxygen concentrator: This is a machine that concentrates oxygen from room air to give you more oxygen and help you breathe. Backup oxygen, like portable oxygen tanks, needs to be kept on hand in case of a power outage. When you leave your house, you’ll use portable oxygen canisters.

Transfilling system: If you’re very active or you don’t want to rely on cylinder or tank deliveries, a transfilling system may be the option for you. The unit sits directly on top of your oxygen concentrator and allows you to easily fill and refill the portable oxygen tanks you can take with you when you go out.

Portable oxygen concentrator: With a portable oxygen concentrator you are free to be independent and mobile. Weighing only six pounds, a portable oxygen concentrator can be plugged in to normal wall electricity, run on internal batteries or plug into a car lighter for use  on-the-go. These come in continuous flow or pulse dose models to meet your needs.

Compressed oxygen cylinders: Your supplier delivers oxygen cylinders to your home on a schedule. Be sure to prepare in advance to be home to accept the deliveries, and to store the large, heavy tanks.

Oxygen conservation devices: These attach to cylinders to supply measured doses of oxygen only when they are needed. This helps make your supply last longer.

Want to know more about oxygen therapy? Download the free guide, Oxygen Therapy 101 to find out details on:

  • Diseases that typically require oxygen therapy
  • Benefits of using oxygen therapy
  • Safety precautions you should take when using oxygen
  • Considerations when choosing equipment