A Patient's Perspective of the Invacare Solo

by Roxlyn G. Cole

Last fall I was loaned Invacare's New Solo 2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator by American Medical Sales and Repair. This concentrator has continuous flow oxygen 1- 3 LPM + pulse dose oxygen # 1-5. Last fall I was loaned this POC by American Medical Sales and Repair.

I love the Solo 2 manual because it explains everything; it points out notes one MUST observe. It is a long 51 pages covering everything you could want to know. I wish it was a bit smaller for carrying along while out and about, there are so many alarms/sounds to remember. First impression: it is big! BUT, the larger the size the better options to oxygenate the patient, so it is beautiful! The frosted window screen was difficult for me to read, but maybe that was because of my cataracts.

While testing the Solo 2, I used 3 different Oxygen delivery systems: My TTO- Transtracheal delivery system, Oxyview glasses, and a regular Salter cannula. I used 3 oximeters to check my oxygen saturation; two Nonin’s and, and the lowest price Oxyview model. All consistently read out within 3% of each other; having several readings allows me to arrive at an average ‘Sats’ number, which may or may not be similar to any other patient.

Invacare Solo 2 Review


If a patient has a similar diffusion to mine, (53% DLCO) and a good Fev 1 in the 70’s… maybe we could use the same machine. We are all so different. Keep in mind this testing was done at & above 5500 ft altitude. That’s right, over a mile high. Thus almost simulating how it might be if in an airplane. I require oxygen 24/7 2- 4 L for slow and easy moving.

At first it didn’t charge up properly, I learned to give a hard push, until the cable ka-chunked into place, but then it was difficult for me to remove, and I don’t have arthritis… but it was charged. Turning it on to 2L while charging, the cart handle rattled adding to the high pitched whine sound. I had to turn up the TV, or put the unit in another room. My husband has high frequency hearing loss- he could not hear it at all, I tend to be sensitive to noise at higher pitch and the rattling cart handle drove me nuts. I fixed that with a handle wrap (needed anyway for comfort) to hold it steady. While sitting using a 50 ft tube (they recommend only 25’) they’d be happy to know, it worked well. On #2 continuous, my oxygen saturation was excellent 98 %.

Some items that may get refined on future models: the pressure sensitivity on control & adjustment buttons is a royal pain, maybe I would develop a better touch over time. It also gets confusing as to how LONG to hold the pressure on, 1 second for this or 3 seconds for that. The alarms in my opinion are too soft. They do have a good display of the battery gauge, There is an extensive trouble shoot guide, and give cautions to follow care instructions as specified or it ‘may’ violate the warranty. It DOES charge while in the car, but slowly and not on all settings. At least it will recharge, even slowly is better than none

On #1 Pulse flow - With my TTO= O2 sats were at 97% , the Oxyview glasses = 96%, & with a Salter cannula = 95%. It really takes in the O2 flow and delivers it where needed for the best oxygenation, which in some portables, it thus allows for a lower number setting, making different portable oxygen units of all kinds, last longer.

On #2 pulse all systems were fine, TTO at 97% + Oxyview glasses = 96 % & with Salter cannula =94% …thus no need for me to test at higher pulse levels for 5500 ft elevation. I speculate I’d need #3 for an airplane pressured to 8500 ft elevation.

Walking on the treadmill challenged the machine much more, as I expected. When I move, my sats really drop. All three systems 1% different – cannula good, Oxyview glasses better, and the TTO always had the highest saturation level.

#1 pulse walking 1 mph I was adequately oxygenated with sats between 93-95 %.
#2 Pulse walking 1 mph was somewhat better - ranging between 94 & 95%.
#3 pulse walking 1 mph was great = 95-96%. Skipped testing at #’s 4 & 5, they would be even better walking that slowly.

But, I like to walk a little faster, at least 2 mph. Walking 2 mph on #1 pulse, all delivery systems were 88% or lower, not good on #2 pulse, so next increase O2 level to #3.

On #3 pulse walking at 2 MPH yea! 93-95%. This is what I like, oxygen saturations at or above 95% that allows me to increase my walking speed and endurance and I also recover more quickly. Lower sat levels leave me tired and aching longer.

I speculate I could walk close to 3 mph on # 5 setting.

Remember, pulse setting- numbers are not liters: SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE SOLO 2 include- Pulse dose settings # 1-5. Average pulse volumes per minute (20 breaths per minute) # 1=18 ml, #2=36 ml, #3=54 ml, #4=72 ml, #5=90 ml.

Continuous flow 1-3 L: It is FAA Approved. No separate battery recharger; charge battery with either the AC or DC adapter. Dimensions: 11 in. (27.9 cm) x 8 in. (20.3 cm) x 16.5 in. (41.9 cm). Easy to read control panel; no lights or code to interpret, Sensi-Pulse Technology> While on Pulse delivery, the same amount of O2 per minute is delivered, regardless of breath rate, as breath rate decreases the bolus size increases. Weight 17 lbs. (7.71 kg), 20 lbs. (9.07 kg) with battery.

I was impressed with this POC’s performance, even when it included the super challenge for any POC – a trip up to 10,000+ ft above Echo Lake on Mt Evans, Colorado,

You can read the full article at Roxlyn's Pulmonary Rehab and After Blog

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

One thought on “A Patient's Perspective of the Invacare Solo”

  • C Brown

    I think the invacaresolo2 is useless. My mother needs 2 lpm cont. we were sold this piece of junk because it had a DC car adapter. What tHey don't tell you is that it works in some cars but not others. They claim 80%. Not mentioned in the manual and a gross exaggeration. When I called tech support to ask what we could do, we needed to use it in the car, he basically said. Too bad. Not our fault. The unit cost $3500 new. Lasted one year before battery crapped out. It cost 1000 bucks to replace and lasts only about 45 min on 2 cont. It talked 4 hours to recharge. The unit is HEAVY. Not really portable. It is not reliable. Will NEVER buy another invacare product.


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