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Home Oxygen Therapy

There are a great many options today for the oxygen-user. There are standard in-home concentrators that work off your electrical current. These are most generally accompanied by compressed, portable oxygen systems for back up during power failures and for going out and leaving home. 

Compressed portable systems are becoming smaller and lighter to carry then they once were and the time one canister can be used is prolonged with the use of an oxygen-conserving device, like a pulse-dose regulator.

One advantage of the concentrator and compressed portables is that you can take it with you on short trips and have extra spare portable units with you. Newer concentrators are on the market are made for traveling. Use of an inverter in your vehicle will allow its use off of your car batteries DC current as well. It is suggested that you have a reputable car repair center install one adequate for your units needs.

Another option for oxygen-users is liquid oxygen. The portable units are very small and lightweight and do last much longer than the compressed system. They require a large liquid reservoir maintained in your home, which must be refilled on a routine basis by your supplier. You fill your own portable from the standing reservoir. The drawbacks to these units are occasional portable freeze-ups and many suppliers only provide you with one portable tank.

It is suggested that if you use liquid o2 you have some portable compressed units for emergencies. There are many different liquid systems on the market today and research is the key to determining which system may work best for you. Some liquid o2 systems only work on a demand or pulse-dose system and have liter limitations that may not work for some people. Others simply love their systems and highly recommend them.

Other factors contribute to your decisions on supplemental oxygen systems. Your general overall needs, the liters of oxygen you require, whether you are a chronic mouth-breather or can easily breathe through your nose. Other contributing factors are what services are available by your DME (durable medical equipment) supplier, along with contracting providers allowed by your insurance companies.

Many major national suppliers have sites on the Web that you can search. Some fantastic sites we have found with some great information written by others COPDers are:

Pete Wilson, a fellow COPD patient, has an excellent site called “Portable Oxygen: A User’s Prospective” outlining many aspects of oxygen-use and various systems.  Included is information on providers, a general overview, compressed, liquid, traveling, flying, conserving devices, just to list a few of the items discussed on his site. To view his site, please go to the following link:

Ron O’Kane, another fellow COPD patient, has an excellent site called “Living with COPD” that deals exclusively with his experience with liquid oxygen and the portable Helios system. To view his page, please use the following link: 

Regardless of what system you choose to use or which your physician or o2 supplier recommends, remember, as with all aspects of COPD, the need for oxygen is NOT the end of the world. It too is a medication of sorts. You can still go out, shop, travel, do most of the things you used to do. You may feel uncomfortable at first, but in actuality very few people “stare." If anything, they are happy to see you still leading a full and productive life. Before long, it will not seem too much different from wearing your glasses or a pair of earrings.

If you are having trouble adjusting to your new oxygen requirements, please join us in our main Chat Room. Many of us have struggled through the same fears, lack of understanding and confusion that you may be facing now. The support is here at, please feel free to take advantage of it.   

Source: Compiled by COPD-International Community Members

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Last modified: June 17, 2002