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Oxygen Delivery Devices

Types of Oxygen Delivery Device

Cylinders

These contain oxygen under pressure. The oxygen is delivered through nasal cannulae (short plastic tubes that fit into each nostril) or a mask. Cylinders are delivered to your home and have to be replaced by the oxygen supplier when empty. The duration of the cylinder will depend on your prescription but your healthcare professional or oxygen supplier will be able to guide you.

Oxygen Concentrators

You will be advised to use an oxygen concentrator if you need to use oxygen at home for at least 15 hours a day. This treatment is known as Long Term Oxygen Therapy (LTOT). You will usually be advised to use your oxygen overnight, and for several hours during the day.

An oxygen concentrator is a machine about the size of a bedside table. It plugs into your ordinary household electricity supply. It works by simply taking oxygen from the air and increasing it’s concentration before delivering it to you through plastic tubing (nasal cannulae) or a face mask. The length of the tubing can be varied and if necessary can be fixed around the floor or skirting board, with outlets upstairs and downstairs so that you can use your oxygen anywhere around the house or even in the garden.

If you are prescribed an oxygen concentrator the oxygen supplier for your area will contact you by telephone to arrange the best time for the engineer to visit and install the concentrator. They will discuss with you the best place to put the machine and the tubing and explain how to use the concentrator. They can also answer any questions you may have. The machine is very quiet and compact and runs off your normal electricity supply. The extra electricity costs for the concentrator will be reimbursed by your energy supplier, the engineer will provide you with an information pack to guide you through this. A ‘back-up’ cylinder of oxygen will also be provided in case of breakdown and an engineer will visit regularly to service the machine.

Liquid Oxygen

For patients who are very active this is often more convenient and easier than having cylinders delivered on a regular basis. It is not suitable for everyone so your healthcare professional will assess your suitability.

Liquid oxygen takes up less space than when it is in gas form and it is therefore an ideal way of storing oxygen. When oxygen is cooled to very low temperatures it turns into a liquid and when the liquid oxygen is warmed it will turn back into gas form ready to be used.

A liquid oxygen system consists of a compact base unit that stays in the home filled with liquid oxygen stored at very low temperatures. To use the oxygen a small amount is transferred into a portable canister that can be taken with you outside the home. These canisters can weigh between 5 to 13 lbs depending upon the size.

The disadvantage of liquid oxygen is that it cannot be kept for long as it will evaporate; therefore the base unit must be filled regularly to be certain of a continuous supply.

If you have any more questions about home oxygen therapy the following website may be useful: www.homeoxygen.nhs.uk

 

 

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