Traveling by car on oxygen therapy – Part 2

In: Oxygen Traveling by RV / Automobile|Traveling with Oxygen

25 May 2010

Part 2 – Driving with oxygen  in your car – compressed gas versus liquid oxygen

Our first post on traveling by automobile while on oxygen therapy (see here) looked at the extended traveling a motor home affords you and the choices you have when selecting your oxygen delivery system.

Camping with 02In this post we’ll take a look at an extended day trip, or a two day or multiple day trip, and oxygen delivery systems that work well in that scenario.  We’ll look at liquid oxygen systems versus compressed gas and portable oxygen concentrators.  As in the first post, so much of the method of delivery is a personal choice.  That is why it makes so much sense to call a portable oxygen concentrator a personal oxygen concentrator, because much of what determines the best delivery system for you is personal; What is your prescription ? 24 hours per day, PRN ? nocturnal only? exercise only? Not to mention physical capabilities, budget, even the size of your car!

Oxygen saturation is the real key here.  If your oxygen use is only under exertion, or as needed (PRN), a compressed cylinder would be a great way to go, but how would that stack up against using your LOX system.  The benefits of using a compressed cylinder from a Homefill or Ultrafill versus say a liquid oxygen system like Helios for example is in the storage.  Anyone who has ever used a liquid oxygen system knows they must be stored upright.  A liquid system stored on its side will leak faster than the system will leak naturally.  The moment a portable liquid oxygen vessel is filled it begins to leak.  You would not be able to fill six portable LOX units as you leave on a month long trip and expect the tanks to be full when you go to use them. Before POC’s and home oxygen filling systems  liquid oxygen (LOX) was the ticket to oxygen portability and patient independence,…to a point and with exceptions. With all the new technology available, LOX just cannot overcome the shortcomings inherent in the LOX system. Shortcomings that necessitate maintaining a cumbersome and continuous filling schedule, a large stationary filling station, and often a separate stationary oxygen concentrator for nocturnal oxygen.  With a liquid oxygen system you are essentially tethered to your provider,  which limits your ability both to travel and to refill your portable LOX units.  Even if your provider has multiple locations you have to arrange your travel plans to incorporate meeting at your providers’ other locations during their business hours and waiting for them to top you of so you can get back on the road…to the providers next location.  Hmm, does not sound very independent to me.

Sequal 02 in CarHaving the same as needed prescription, or even a continuous oxygen requirement, a patient could plan to take a number of compressed gas cylinders from either their Invacare Homefill or their Respironics UltraFill.  At 3000 PSI the UltraFill oxygen cylinders last 40% longer than a comparable 2000 PSI cylinder using the Chad Therapeutic Bonsai conserving device.  A single 3000 PSI M6  cylinder will last 8.7 hours at 2 LPM with 20 BPM.  That is pretty impressive and much better than any LOX cylinder can accomplish especially when you consider if you filled both cylinders on the same day and went to use them 45 days later, you may not have any oxygen left in the liquid vessel, but the compressed gas cylinder would be full.  Many providers will rent additional cylinders to patients when they are traveling, so when you are traveling it would be worth asking your provider.

Respironics Ultrafil 02I know some of you are saying,  “what about when I sleep, I need need continuous oxygen therapy for proper oxygen saturation ?”  Well, actually, if you were using a UltraFill 3000 PSI cylinder in an E size, the tank without a conserving device will last 8.25 hours at 2 LPM continuous.  You could in essence fill three 3000 PSI e tanks and two 3000 PSI M6 tanks and using an E cylinder each night for sleep, an E cylinder on a conserving device while in the car (over 40 hours of oxygen), you would have two light weight M6 cylinders and over 17 hours of portable oxygen.  Without even taking an oxygen concentrator, just your own home oxygen filling systems five tanks weighing in total about 33 lbs with over 70 hours of oxygen.

So how about that – a weekend trip, including nocturnal use oxygen therapy all without bringing a concentrator of any kind.  While it may not work for everyone, it is another solution to the problem.

In Part 3, we’ll look at traveling on oxygen therapy in your car while using portable oxygen concentrators just like in the picture above.

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If you have any questions about oxygen concentrators, liquid oxygen, portable oxygen, you have come to the right place. Whether you are lookiing to buy a POC, rent a POC for a trip, or understand how what that alarm means, you have come to the right place. Since 1992 we have immerseed in all things Oxygen Therapy, here you will find not only a users perspective, you will find the technicians perspective! Welcome!!