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A prescription for home oxygen is usually written as a specific liter flow delivered through a specific device.  It is important that you get the proper device to match the prescription.  There are several different types of oxygen delivery systems that are used in the home.  Here are a few of the most commonly used devices:

  • A stationary concentrator is usually kept in the home.  It is intended for continuous and long term use but it is not easily moved outside of the home.  Stationary concentrators are usually either rated for a maximum of 5 liters per minute continuous flow or they are rated for a maximum of 10 liters per minute continuous flow.  The 10 liter concentrators are larger, heavier and more expensive.  Unless the patient requires high levels of oxygen, the 5 liter concentrators are the best choice.  An example of a 5 liter concentrator is the Respironics EverFlo.












  • A portable concentrator is typically the best choice when oxygen is needed while traveling outside of the home.  A portable concentrator is smaller and lighter than a stationary concentrator.  Portable concentrators are also designed to operate with a rechargeable battery.  However, portable concentrators are not designed for continuous, long term use.  Portable concentrators are usually designed as a “pulse dose” device instead of a continuous flow device.  A “pulse dose” device only delivers oxygen during patient inspiration in order to conserve the available oxygen.  Examples of portable concentrators include the Respironics SimplyGo and the InogenOne G3.














  • Compressed gas cylinders are the best choice for providing a backup or emergency supply of oxygen.  Compressed gas cylinders can range in size from very small to very large.  The most common size tank used in the home is called an “E cylinder”.  The “E cylinder” usually provides a few hours of oxygen and it is small enough to be portable.  The downside to using an oxygen cylinder is that they need to be refilled by a professional when they are empty.


Pulse Oximetry is a non-invasive measurement of blood oxygen levels.  When oxygen is prescribed, it may be important to measure blood oxygen levels with a Pulse Oximeter on a routine basis.  Your physician will help you understand if and when you need to measure your oxygen level. 


When taking a measurement, it is important to remember a few things in order to be sure you are getting an accurate reading.

  • It is best to place the sensor on the tip of a finger so that the red light shines through the finger and the fingernail

  • Remove nail polish before taking a measurement, this is particularly important if the nail polish is red in color

  • Measure your pulse rate and compare it to the pulse rate on the oximeter.  Your pulse rate should be close (within 5-10 beats per minute) on both measurements to insure a good blood oxygen reading.

  • Make sure you are getting good blood flow to the hand and finger that you are using for the measurement.  Poor circulation may lead to an inaccurate blood oxygen reading.

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