The advent of portable oxygen concentrators have made the lives of respiratory patients easier, more comfortable, and more independent. Having COPD, IPF or other serious lung conditions used to mean that a patient was hampered by a heavy and cumbersome metal tank. Now, however, patients can get a concentrator that weighs as little as 4 pounds and can provide several hours of oxygen on just one battery charge.
If your Oxygen Levels are too Low
Oxygen levels that are chronically low can be very dangerous. Every cell and organ in your body requires oxygen to function properly. When you blood oxygen levels dip below the acceptable range you are likely to experience
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of Breath
- Rapid Heartbeat
Chronic low oxygen levels are likely to cause symptoms of cyanosis. This condition gets its name from the bluish coloring that presents in your nail beds and skin. If your lips, fingers, or toes look blue or purple, seek immediate medical attention.
Monitoring Oxygen Levels
Oxygen levels, or oxygen saturation is the amount of oxygen that saturates the hemoglobin in your blood cells that is carried throughout your body to all cells so that they can perform their intended functions.
Oxygen saturation is generally measured with a device known as a pulse oximeter. It’s a non-invasive device that clips to your finger and uses light absorption to read the amount of oxygen that is in your blood. Your doctor will let you know what your target pulse ox reading should be and instruct you how to monitor your levels. Those with normal function usually have saturation levels in the upper 90’s. Below 95 is considered low and if your levels are consistently below 88, your doctor will likely prescribe supplemental oxygen.
Veins draw blood to your heart while arteries carry the blood that is pumped from your heart. Therefore blood in the arteries is oxygenated whereas blood in your veins is not. Your doctor may want to get a more accurate measurement by doing an arterial blood gas test, or ABG. This in office procedure involves drawing blood from an artery. Generally the blood is drawn from an artery in your wrist.
Generally speaking a normal ABG is between the range of 80 and 100 millimeters of mercury.
The Latest in Supplemental Oxygen
Oxygen concentrators are getting more advanced everyday. A respiratory patient can use the same concentrator for day or night use and are free to trade, even internationally.
The newest portable oxygen concentrator on the market is from Caire, one of the most trusted names in the business. Their latest model is the Caire FreeStyle Comfort. It offers some of the best battery life available.
It is also medically robust, offering pulse settings from 1 -5 which should accommodate a large percentage of oxygen patients who have a pulse flow prescription.
The Freestyle comes equipped with two different power supplies.
- The A/C power supply both charges the battery and runs the concentrator. It can be plugged into any wall outlet.
- The D/C power supply plugs into the cigarette lighter of any car, truck, RV, or even boat. You can literally drive coast to coast without risking running low on oxygen.
There are two battery options for the Freestyle.
- The 8 cell battery can power the concentrator for up to 4 hours on a setting of 2.
- The 16 cell battery doubles that time to 8 hours of battery life.
The larger battery only adds about a pound to the weight as well bringing the concentrator from 5 to 6 pounds, still making it one of the lightest concentrators on the market.
With this kind of lengthy battery life you'll never have to worry about running out of oxygen again whether you're out running errands, enjoying dinner and a movie, or even traveling internationally. Most airlines require you to have 150% of battery life to flight time. For instance, if the flight time is 4 hours, you will need 6 hours of battery life. So if you're planning a flight, plan accordingly.
Caire crafted this concentrator with the active oxygen user in mind. It is contoured to mirror body shape for more comfortable carrying and reduces swinging.
The neoprene case protects the machine from damage and provides access to all the controls and charging ports. You can also change the battery by simply unzipping the bottom of the case.
The comfortable shoulder strap can be attached to either the case or directly to the concentrator itself.
Ease of Use
The Caire Freestyle Comfort offers simple, straightforward operation. The indicator screen lets the user know what oxygen setting they are on as well as how much battery life is left. It will also alarm if oxygen flow is interrupted or if there is another maintenance issue.
To change settings, simply used the plus and minus arrow buttons.
The cannula attaches at the top, just below the control panel. It faces to the side to prevent bending or damage in case the concentrator is dropped.
Nighttime Oxygen Use
This portable oxygen concentrator is perfect for those who are required to use oxygen 24/7.
If you wake in the morning with any of the following symptoms it may indicate that your oxygen levels are dipping during the night to dangerous levels:
Speak to your doctor if you experience these symptoms or if your spouse has reported loud, consistent snoring.
In extreme cases you may be placed on a CPAP or BiPAP machine. Be aware that the you will require a continuous flow machine. However, if you are required to be on supplemental oxygen throughout the night, this concentrator is ideal.
The concentrator is equipped with UltraSense Technology. As you drift off to sleep during the night your breathing naturally slows and becomes shallower. This technology senses this and will adjust accordingly. It works in concert with the AutoDose feature which automatically adjust bolus dose and frequency to keep you properly titrated throughout the night.
Feature Video Demonstration of the Caire FreeStyle Comfort
There are several options available but the deluxe package comes with everything that you need both for everyday use travel. The full package comes with:
If you have any questions you can speak to one of our respiratory specialists at 1-800-520-5726.