News - What Is a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?

A portable oxygen concentrator (POC) is a compact, portable version of a regular-sized oxygen concentrator. These devices provide oxygen therapy to people with health conditions that cause low oxygen levels in the blood.

Oxygen concentrators contain compressors, filters, and tubing. A nasal cannula or oxygen mask connects to the device and delivers oxygen to the person who needs it. They’re tankless, so there’s no risk of running out of oxygen. However, as with any piece of technology, these machines can potentially malfunction.

Portable units typically have a rechargeable battery, which allows for use on the go, such as while traveling. Most can be charged via an AC or DC outlet and can operate on direct power while charging the battery to eliminate any potential downtime.

To deliver oxygen to you, the devices draw air from the room you’re in and pass it through filters to purify the air. The compressor absorbs nitrogen, leaving behind concentrated oxygen. The nitrogen is then released back into the environment, and the person receives oxygen through a pulse (also called intermittent) flow or continuous flow mechanism via a face mask or nasal cannula.

A pulse device delivers oxygen in bursts, or boluses, when you inhale. Pulse flow oxygen delivery requires a smaller motor, less battery power, and a smaller internal reservoir, allowing pulse flow devices to be incredibly small and efficient.

Most portable units offer only pulse flow delivery, but some are also capable of continuous flow oxygen delivery. Continuous flow devices churn out oxygen at a steady rate regardless of the user’s breathing pattern.

Individual oxygen needs, including continuous flow versus pulse flow delivery, will be determined by your physician. Your oxygen prescription, combined with personal preferences and lifestyle, will help you narrow down which devices are appropriate for you.

Keep in mind that supplemental oxygen isn’t a cure for conditions that cause low oxygen levels. However, a portable oxygen concentrator may help you:

Breathe more easily. Oxygen therapy can help decrease shortness of breath and improve your ability to perform daily activities.
Have more energy. A portable oxygen concentrator can also reduce fatigue and make it easier to complete daily tasks by increasing your oxygen levels.
Maintain your usual lifestyle and activities. Many people with supplemental oxygen needs are capable of maintaining a high level of reasonable activity, and portable oxygen concentrators offer the opportunity and freedom to do so.
“Portable oxygen concentrators are most suitable for conditions that result in low blood oxygen levels. They work by supplementing naturally inhaled air to provide enough gaseous nutrition to vital cells and organs,” said Nancy Mitchell, a registered geriatric nurse and contributing writer for “This can be beneficial for older adults who suffer from ailments like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). However, with the rising incidence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and cardiovascular diseases like heart failure among older adults, POCs can be invaluable for individuals within this age group. The elderly body has a generally weaker, slower-responding immune system. Oxygen from a POC can help support some senior patients’ recovery from severe injuries and invasive operations.”

Post time: Aug-03-2022