Portable Oxygen Concentrator Glossary

Have ever wondered what certain words or phrases mean when you're shopping for portable oxygen concentrators? You don't have to be left in the dark. Here are a list of words associated with portable oxygen concentrators, and their definitions.

POC: This is an acronym that stands for Portable Oxygen Concentrator. These oxygen concentrators can be used for travel and used batteries. They can be plugged into AC power, as well as DC and run and charge. They can run and charge at the same time on DC power, depending on the model.

Pulse Mode: Portable oxygen concentrators offer pulse dose or pulse mode oxygen. When oxygen is released in a puff, instead of a continuous stream. These can be measured by the dosage settings. All POC have a pulse dose mode.

Continuous Flow Mode: Oxygen is released in a stream at a constant rate and a consistent measurment. The amount you receive depends on the dosage setting you need, as prescribed by your doctor. Some POC have continuous flow settings. Usually the larger POC feature continuous mode.

FAA Approved: FAA stands for Federal Aviation Administration. When a POC has an “FAA Approved” sticker, it means it is pre-approved to be used on any commercial flight to or from the United States. This doesn't necessarily mean the POC model is approved by the airline. Check with your airline when you book your flight.

Pulse Oximetry: The way of measuring someone's blood oxygen saturation. This is done with a small device called a pulse oximeter. It is measured in a percentage. A healthy person's percentage would be 100%.

mL/min: Stands for milliliters per minute. This is the measurement used for pulse dose oxygen settings. The dosage settings are measured in increments of 12 per setting. For example, the pulse dose setting of 1 is 12 ml/min.

Bolus: Name for the “puff” of air in pulse dose oxygen. Many doctors or descriptions of POC will refer to the pulse as a bolus. It's a medical term referring to as a single dose of medicine delivered all at once. Instead of a pill in this case, it's medical oxygen.

LPM: Liters Per Minute. This is used to measure the continuous flow oxygen settings in POC that feature it. The amount of air released is a liter, and it's also measured by how long it's released, which is 1 minute. Example: The continuous flow setting of 3 is 3 LPM.

Sensi-Pulse: The patented Invacare XPO2 & SOLO2 concentrator feature. AKA Invacare® Sensi-Pulse™ Technology. This feature changes the size of each bolus of pulse dose oxygen to meet patient demand. It adapts to breathing patterns that change when the patient is asleep or exercising.

Sleep Mode: Featured on the Respironics SimplyGo POC. It detects when the patient begins to take a breath and then delivers a pulsed volume of oxygen determined by the dosage setting. The bolus is soft to accommodate for sleep. This feature is not on all POC.

Pulse Wave: Different from pulse mode. It includes a sensitive detection built into certain POC. This is a patented feature PULSE-WAVE™. Oxygen is delivered continuously during the first 30% of inhalation to make sure the patient gets all of it. Designed to minimize sinus irritation.

Portable Oxygen Systems: Refers to all portable methods for receiving oxygen therapy. Includes electronic (portable oxygen concentrators), liquid and gas tanks. Cylinders with stationary home refill stations are included. All types are carried in a carry bag or case.

Oxygen Concentration: The purity of the oxygen being delivered. This is measured with a percentage. Most medical grade portable oxygen concentrators have an average of 87 to 96% purity on all settings. This average range percentage can be influenced by different factors, such as elevation.

Cell Battery: An external battery size. The cell refers to a number for how many volts the battery can hold. You might have a battery size option for a certain model. Example: You can choose the 12 cell battery or the 24 cell battery for the Inogen One G2.

Intake filter: The filter that removes air particles from the ambient air as it flows through the intake vent. This filter might be removable by the patient to clean or replace. Intake filter should be replaced every 6 months. Not all POC have a removable intake filter.