Pulse dose and continuous flow oxygen concentrators
both deliver medical grade oxygen, but the way they deliver oxygen is different to meet the needs of different patients.
Pulse dose concentrators
provide oxygen in short bursts that are synchronized with each breath, so the machine cycles through “flow” and “no flow” based on your breathing pattern. With pulse dose concentrators, oxygen output is set by a manufacturer setting (generally between 1 and 6), which corresponds to a particular flow output. For example, with the Respironics SimplyGo
, a setting of “2” corresponds to 24 ml of oxygen per synchronized breath, while a setting of “3” corresponds to 36 ml of oxygen per synchronized breath.
Alternatively, continuous flow oxygen concentrators deliver oxygen in a steady, unbroken flow. With continuous flow oxygen concentrators, oxygen output is set by choosing the liter flow your doctor has prescribed. For example, with the Respironics SimplyGo (in its continuous flow setting) you could set the device to 2 liters per minute and be certain you’ll receive 2 liters of continuous oxygen flow at the tip of the oxygen tubing.
Choosing between a pulse dose and a continuous flow oxygen concentrator is a decision that you and your doctor must make together. In some cases, the pulse dose option is not enough to meet the needs of the patient, so the continuous flow option is the better choice. But if your doctor determines that your oxygen needs are minimal, pulse dose concentrators are often the better choice because they’re smaller and have longer battery lives.