Choosing the Correct setting for your Portable Oxygen Concentrator – Part 2

In: How to use a Portable Oxygen Concentrator|Portable Oxygen Concentrator FAQs

7 Feb 2012

If you have just finished reading Part 1 of Choosing the Correct setting for your Portable Oxygen Concentrator, you are now familiar with some basic truths about portable oxygen concentrators.  The first and most important truth regarding portable oxygen concentrators is 2 does not equal 2!! Continuous Flow Oxygen does not equal pulse dose oxygen.

All Portable Oxygen Concentrators ARE NOT CREATED EQUALLY!!!!

When a physician writes a prescription for:

Portable Oxygen Concentrator

2 LPM via nasal cannula


…and the patient wants to get that prescription filled  with an Inova Labs LifeChoice Portable Oxygen Concentrator, an Invacare XPO2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator, a Respironics Evergo Portable Oxygen Concentrator, an AirSep FreeStyle Portable Oxygen Concentrator, an Inogen Portable Oxygen Concentrator, or ANY OTHER Portable Oxygen Concentrator that is ONLY capable of pulse dose oxygen delivery,the Prescription cannot be filled correctly.

The great majority of physicians do not know that most Portable Oxygen Concentrators on the market use pulse dose oxygen delivery only. So when it comes to choosing the correct setting for your Portable Oxygen Concentrator, the patient needs to be enabled to make informed decisions.  ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CLINICIAN BEFORE CHANGING YOUR PORTABLE OXYGEN CONCENTRATOR SETTINGS. 

How does the patient or the patients family or the doctor help the patient in Choosing the Correct setting for your Portable Oxygen Concentrator?  One simple way to help choose the correct setting for a Portable Oxygen Concentrator is to purchase and use a portable finger pulse oximeter.

When you are Choosing the Correct setting for your Portable Oxygen Concentrator, use your portable finger pulse oximeter. Make sure you pick a decent unit, there are many cheap finger pulse oximeter mass produced in China now, and the quality and accuracy of many of the units, and I have seen a large variety, by and large stink.  Please check out the blog post on picking a good finger pulse oximeter.

First, get yourself into a comfortable seated position.  You need to address the Portable Oxygen Concentrator setting while you are at rest. With your portable oxygen concentrator on and a nasal cannula in your nose, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth (like you are trying to blow bubbles).  You will want to start with the setting that was recommended by your physician.  Inform your Physician ahead of time that you intend to identify the best portable oxygen concentrator setting, and by what method. 

As you are breathing on your Portable Oxygen Concentrator, watch your heart rate and oxygen saturation on your finger pulse oximeter.  What is the range your physcian directed you to keep your oxygen saturation at? Some doctors will specify a range, they will tell you to keep your oxygen saturation above 93%, some doctors want your saturation above 95%, and yet others will say simply over 90%.

Find out the oxygen saturation recommendation your doctor has specifically for you, and compare that number with the saturation you are receiving from your Portable Oxygen Concentrator. Remember, first do this test while you are at rest on your current pulse dose setting.  If the saturation is too low, you need to adjust your Portable Oxygen Concentrator setting to increase the saturation.

If you machine can accommodate continuous flow oxygen, like the Invacare SolO2, the Devilbiss iGo, or the SeQual Eclipse 3, you can match your stationary concentrator’s prescribed flow exactly, however, when on battery, the machine will not last nearly as long.

Once you have found the pulse dose oxygen setting that provides the correct oxygen saturation for you while at rest, you need to consider a different setting for exercising or walking around.  Ask your physician or clinician what recommendations he has for your prescribed oxygen while exercising.

If you were to walk with your portable oxygen concentrator on the setting you have titrated your self for while resting, what happens to your oxygen saturation?  How long does it take you to recover from your exercise on your portable oxygen therapy?

Using your finger pulse oximeter while you are walking can help you understand the correct setting for your Portable Oxygen Concentrator while exercising.

Some other things consider while choosing the correct settings for your portable oxygen concentrator

  1. Does your portable oxygen concentrator have enough extra oxygen to keep your oxygen saturation at recommended levels ?
  2. Does your portable finger pulse oximeter give accurate enough readings ?
  3. Where you able to actually decrease the dose of oxygen in pulse mode below the continuous oxygen setting of your continuous oxygen concentrator?

Now that you have chosen the correct setting for your portable oxygen concentrator you can really begin to enjoy all the benefits!!

2 Responses to Choosing the Correct setting for your Portable Oxygen Concentrator – Part 2


Carolyn Rightmyer

December 16th, 2012 at 6:49 pm

I was happy to find this site which explains how to find the correct settings, and use the pulsoximeter in ways to achieve knowledge of what my pulse and oxygen are doing at rest and during walking.
My husband and I want to go to Germany in 2013, probably in May, or June, and my question is, will I be able to use this portable oxygen concentrator in Germany. Will I be able to recharge the batteries while there? This is very important to us to know, as we are going to visit our son and his family, and I do not want to spend it in the hospital because of my oxygen condenser not having capabilities of doing the job I need it to in both Europe and North America!


Portable Oxygen Expert

February 15th, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Every POC I have seen has the ability to switch from US 110 to EU 220 volts. The thing that you will need is the adapter for the wall sockets. You will of course bring your car’s DC charger when you are traveling, so you can charge that way too.
Here is a link to the universal adapter SeQual makes,
you could find something at a local electronics store too.

When you travel to Europe you’ll need 1.5 times the flight time in battery life if you use your concentrator while flying. If you are bringing a lot of batteries, bring a desktop charger if your POC has one. It just makes life easier when charging multiple batteries.

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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!!