August 20, 2018

Over the last 25 years, we have realized that there are some commonly used terms with Oxygen Concentrators and CPAP machines that may be a little confusing, making the decision process difficult. We have streamlined many of these terms throughout our website to help eliminate the confusion and ease the purchase process. Here are some definitions.

Oxygen Concentrator:  An oxygen concentrator (also sometimes called “oxygen generator”) is a medical device used to deliver oxygen to those who require it. It brings in ambient air from the room it is placed, compresses the oxygen in a filter called a Sieve Bed. The Sieve Bed essentially holds on to the Nitrogen in the air, and passes the Oxygen to the patient. The Nitrogen will be released back into the room. The air supply will never run out as long as the machine has a reliable power source.

 Home Oxygen Concentrator: This describes an oxygen concentrator that is designed to be stationary, or left in one area. They are a large and more robust machine designed to last many years. They typically are on large caster wheels and feature easy to use handles so you can roll the machine into another room if needed. They require electrical power from your Home power Outlets.

Stationary Oxygen Concentrator: Just like a Home oxygen concentrator, this describes an oxygen concentrator that is designed to be stationary, or left in one area. They are a large and more robust machine designed to last many years. They typically are on large caster wheels and feature easy to use handles so you can roll the machine into another room if needed. They require electrical power from your Home power Outlets.

Portable Oxygen Concentrator/POC: A portable oxygen concentrator is an oxygen concentrator. It is much smaller, and designed to be carried around or wheeled behind you on a travel cart. They have multiple power options such as Wall Outlet power, Cigarette Lighter power in your car, or Lithium Ion batteries that are included with each portable oxygen concentrator when it is sold.

DME: DME stands for durable medical equipment. Hospital Beds, CPAP machines, Oxygen Concentrators, Wheels Chairs etc. are common types of DME equipment.

Provider / DME Company: A provider is a Medicare-approved provider of durable medical equipment. Also can be referred to as “a DME.”

Short-Term Rental: A short-term rental refers to a rental of a home or portable oxygen concentrator for a short duration – typically two weeks or less.

Monthly Rental/Long-Term Rental: A monthly rental/long-term rental is a term used by providers. Providers will rent their oxygen equipment to the user on a long-term, monthly rental contract that usually lasts years.

Continuous Flow: Continuous flow delivers oxygen continuously at a steady, specified rate. It is easiest to understand when you liken it to a water fountain. When you turn on a water fountain, water streams out at a somewhat steady pace. The fountain will continue to deliver water to you at this pace regardless of how much water you consume.

Pulse Dose: Pulse dose delivers oxygen in pulses or puffs of air with each breath. POC's that are Pulse Dose are smaller and lighter machines and help you consume what you take in. They are more efficient and have dramatically more battery time. This is also referred to as a “bolus dose.”

Intermittent: Another term for Pulse Dose.

On-Demand: Another term for Pulse Dose Intermitten.

Conserver: A conserver is a device that is attached to oxygen tanks. This will turn the tank into a pulse dose or intermittent oxygen cylinder, allowing for the tank to last much longer. 

Regulator: A regulator is much like a conserver. It attaches to an oxygen cylinder, and regulates the volume of oxygen coming out of the tank. This is a constant flow device, so oxygen will be exiting the oxygen cylinder whether you are breathing it or not.

LPM: Liters per Minute. This is the measurement used to determine the amount of oxygen delivered. All continuous flow oxygen concentrators are measured in Liters per Minute (LPM). Most oxygen concentrators have a meter that is adjustable from .5 - 5LPM. Some units can be special ordered with a Pediatric flow meter for very low flows for infants. Typically adjustable from 1/8LPM to 2LPM. Lastly, some oxygen concentrators are High Flow models and are adjustable from 2LPM up to 10LPM!

PSI: Pounds per Square Inch. This is the power that the oxygen exits the oxygen concentrator. Most oxygen concentrators are between 5 and 9 psi which is adequate for pushing the oxygen through for instance a humidifier bottle, and 57 feet of tubing into a cannula. Some machines ie: Airsep Intensity 8LPM or 10LPM are rated at 22PSI and are perfect for individuals with a long Ranch style home or have the need to use several hundred feet of oxygen tubing.

LPM Settings: Pulse dose delivery methods use numerical settings. The settings ROUGHLY correlate to liters per minute but do vary by machine. While a continuous flow oxygen concentrator will deliver 2 LPM, regardless of the user’s breathing, pulse dose is measured in mL of O2. The translation is fairly close. A setting of 

  • 1LPM pulse = 11mL O2
  • 2LPM pulse - 22mL O2
  • etc...

Maximum Oxygen Output:  Most oxygen concentrators have a meter that is adjustable from .5 - 5LPM. Some units can be special ordered with a Pediatric flow meter for very low flows for infants. Typically adjustable from 1/8LPM to 2LPM. Lastly, some oxygen concentrators are High Flow models and are adjustable from 2LPM up to 10LPM! The maximum output would simply be the highest number on the flow meter.

OCI, OPI, OSD, SenseO2: These are all forms of Low Purity sensor. Typically it is built into the circuit board of the Oxygen Machine, and contains an ultrasonic sensor. After the Oxygen Concentrator is turned on, it will run for about 15 minutes before the Low Purity Sensor is turned on. This gives the Oxygen Concentrator ample time to build up maximum purity, so the sensor will give you an accurate reading once it is functioning. Any adjustments done to the Flow Meter of the oxygen concentrator will effect the output purity. Please allow an additional 15 to 20 minutes of run time for the oxygen concentrator to accurately monitor the purity at its new flow setting.

If you still have some questions, or have some other terms that you did not see in this list, but would like an explanation, please feel free to email us at OxygenPlusMedical@gmail.com or call our office at 1-540-297-3257


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