November 10, 2020 at 5:45 pm #26089PeteParticipant
Does anyone have info on Portable Oxygen Concentrators? I am looking for which kind work best and their cost. Do you have to buy them or can you rent them? Does Medicare cover these machines? Are they continuous flow or pulse?
Thanks for any info.
November 10, 2020 at 7:52 pm #26096
Thanks for writing and good topic of conversation to bring to the forums! I can only share my experiences, and please double check with your physician that your 02 needs can be met by a POC as their flows don’t go too high so sometimes if patients need a lot of oxygen, POCs aren’t necessarily best for them. I have the Respironics SimplyGo machine and my only complaint is the weight of it – 10lbs. I pull it around on a little trolley, so that helps and it comes with both a home and car charger, which helps with portability when I can charge it in the car. It works pretty well for me, and I did have to pay for it unfortunately as Canadian healthcare pays for tanks, meds, etc. but I bought this one and it is also FAA approved to go on flights, as it was really important for me to travel with it. I’ve taken it everywhere – Australia, Hawaii, various other states, etc. Not sure if this helps?
November 10, 2020 at 8:17 pm #26101PeteParticipant
Thank You for your input. There is a lot of info in that one paragraph I did not know or even thought of. I did not know POC’s flow rates only go so high, ten pounds is a lot of extra weight to carry around, nice to be able to charge battery in you car, and being able to fly with one is great. I have tanks so I currently cannot fly any where if I wanted or had to.
Thanks again, very helpful
November 11, 2020 at 5:17 am #26102Tony BuxtonParticipant
google “Aliexpress” then search oxygen concentrators. you can get a pretty good one for about $300 including cost of shipping. get at least 02 flow of up to 6 lt minute
November 12, 2020 at 10:45 am #26105Karen StennesParticipant
I bought an Inogen one, G5. It has pulse delivery up to 6. It weighs only 5 lbs but can get a neat little cart for it. I don’t know whether it would be covered by Cdn. Health care or not. So far has been excellent for me.
November 12, 2020 at 2:42 pm #26106Jonathan PolandParticipant
I assume you are in the United States because you mentioned Medicare. In the US, you need a doctor’s prescription to purchase or rent any oxygen system, including a portable concentrator. Your doctor won’t specify a particular brand or model, just how much O2 she wants you to have and when. The doctor’s office probably has a preferred local supplier that they will pass the prescription directly to. Ask your doctor for a paper script if you plan on buying or temporarily renting a unit.
Medicare does cover a portable concentrator if that’s what the doctor prescribes. You can read a lot about the rules by searching Google so I will just give highlights: your supplier will be required to provide you service for 5 years, you will pay a (reasonable) monthly rental fee, they will choose the brand/model you get, they will probably provide you with a backup tank of O2 to help you past a power failure. As far as I’m aware, Medicare will NOT assist in the purchase of your own device.
If you choose to purchase your own please consider these 2 things: 1) You get what you pay for and 2) you really need to get a FDA approved model. If you plan to travel by air, it also MUST be FAA approved. (As with everything you can find FAA approved lists on the Internet.)
I would NEVER, EVER, EVER, buy a Chinese O2 concentrator! They are NOT FDA approved (even if they say they are). You welfare and (perhaps) your life depends on them producing what they promised for a long time. How will you get service if there is a problem? Also, they are NOT FAA approved so you can’t take them on an airplane, even as luggage.
There are plenty of US based sellers whose websites will help you decide which model is best for you. Try searching for “best portable oxygen concentrators for 2020”.
Charlene’s model is the only portable I know that can produce continuous flow which is important if you sleep with it. All others are strictly pulsed and are not recommended for sleeping. I have an Inogen G3 that I sometimes sleep with. It beeps loudly if my breathing gets too shallow. Usually I wake up. It is also noisy. Between the noise and the pulse of O2 shooting into my nose, I have a hard time going to sleep, or back to sleep.
Things to consider:
- Will it produce the amount of O2 that the doctor wants you to have?
- How heavy is it? Even 5 lbs can become a burden to carry after a long time.
- How noisy is it?
- How long will the batteries last at the doctor prescribed setting? How hard is it to change batteries if you need to?
- Can it run off of your car power? Can it charge off of you car?
- How will you get it serviced if something goes wrong? (And something will go wrong eventually: it is a mechanical device, after all.)
I hope this helps with your decision,
- This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Charlene Marshall.
December 1, 2020 at 4:57 pm #26312
December 6, 2020 at 6:22 pm #26387
If someone else has said this please forgive me. If you are on Medicare, your supplier will loan you a portable for travel within the 50. This is in addition to tanks, if that is what you use at home. They will also loan you extra batteries if they are need by law. Again the FAA rule is battery capacity of 150% of the one-way flight. Nobody has ever checked me for this but I would never take a chance. Apart from your health, how would you like to be stuck in the Falklands because they checked you for battery capacity and you didn’t have enough to get on the flight home.
Airplanes (passenger) normally fly at the equivalent of 8000 feet by adjusting their air pressure. This definitely affects your respiratory system if it is already compromised. To sleep safely I need continuous flow on an aircraft. There are several portables (About 4or 5, I believe)that will produce up to 3 liters/min continuous flow but they are all heavy. Often in sales brochures the quoted weight is without batteries and they usually have 2 batteries at a time. So add about 6 lb to the weight – and you have to carry spares. The Oxlife Independence is a good example, with 2 batteries and it’s cart it weighs in at about 18 lb. If you find a lighter one it often has only 1 battery but you still have to carry enough batteries for the trip.
A company that can answer most travel question in the US is Oxygen to Go, https://oxygentogo.com/ but Caveat Emptor they are in business to make a profit. Keep that in mind when dealing with anyone in medical supply.
December 6, 2020 at 8:22 pm #26392
This is very helpful information about flying with a POC. It’s taken a lot for me to learn how to do this ‘well’ but I am always open to learning more, thank you for sharing your experience. I have no doubt it will help many others as well!
December 8, 2020 at 4:25 pm #26410EdParticipant
My wife has a POC through Medicare from Lincare. They will not supply extra batteries for flights or travel. We had to purchase one ourselves for $400.00
December 9, 2020 at 2:38 pm #26434
Sorry about your bad experience with Lincare. My suppliers have been taken over and nearly everybody fired but my experience starting about 4 years ago was good. They had a travel manager and I just had to call her, tell her what flights I was on (I think to make sure I wasn’t flying international) and they loaned me a POC plus batteries. They also loaned me one for a car trip. I had no problem.
Did you call Medicare? Believe it or not they are quite helpful. Obviously things could have changed but my suppliers told me, that by law, they had to supply patients with a POC for travel.
November 12, 2020 at 3:19 pm #26108eileen d kosterParticipant
If you live in the U.S. or Canada
Call Robert Scott at Inogen One. If you have Medicare you can get a concentrator
thru your Pulmonologist and medicare. Either way you will need a precription for
a concentrator as O2 is considered a medicine. I don’t have his ph number but you
can Google InogenOne.
November 12, 2020 at 3:22 pm #26109
I have used the Respironics mini for the last 4 years. I get mine through Medicare by Johns Hopkins pharaquip. It seems to bread once a year and I immediately get a new one. When I was over seas and quit, I had a hard time.
I am on 3 when I sit or am on my scooter, but have moved from a 5 to 7 when walking to the restroom from my chair or my bed. I have been using the 7 all the time inside and a 5 pulse when on my scooter or in the car.
Since my concentrator rides on my scooter, I have no problem with its weight.
When I fly, I have to take 1 1/2 times the amount of battery life I would normally need. I travel with 7 batteries, 1/2 double sized, a car charger and my indoor charger plug. I keep an additional regular size 110 plug in for my room and sleeping. I have a suitcase I carry it in.
I think I’ll be OK sleeping with my sleeping and in the bedroom/bath traveling with only 5. I wont be taking too many steps, so I can sit and rest and not dwindle away missing the 7 when standing. There are no portable 7 concentrators and you are not allowed to take a big tank on the airplane.
Needless to say, I saw my doctor and got put up to 7 and am off to the cardiologist to find out how bad my lungs have caused my heart to be.
November 12, 2020 at 3:35 pm #26110
Does anyone know if POC marketers permit a prospective customer to “try out” a POC? I wonder if I could comfortably tolerate pulse flow and the weight of a POC. Due to Covid travel and other restrictions I’m not actively considering a POC at the moment, but I might well be interested in the future.
November 12, 2020 at 3:45 pm #26111
I know of no one who will try out a condenser. You can get a refurbished on for about 1/2 price. Again, if you have medicare, there’s no problem with trying it out.
You can put a 5 pound bag of sugar in a strap over your shoulder and wear it around at home.
If you use a walker, then the walker seat can carry the condenser for you. I do this when going from my house to my car.
November 12, 2020 at 3:55 pm #26112RandyParticipant
Good afternoon to everyone. As soon as I saw today’s article is about portable oxygen , I had to get involved. After getting out of the hospital in June, My wife and I wondered how we would around with a tank that is hard to navigate with a walker and /or wheelchair. I had to use a wheel chair for awhile till I got my sea legs back under me. We had seen ads for the Inogen 5 that said it would go to 6. When I am just setting, 5 is okay, but moving I need at least 6. The home unit only goes to 5, so had to get a second one so it could go higher if needed. My doctor sent a prescription for a machine that would go to 10. 4 months and still don’t have one. Anyhow, I got the Inogen, it is heavy with the battery but don’t have to mess with a cylinder that only goes to 4. My complaint with the Inogen is it is a pulse machine. Only gives you air when you breath. The house one is continuous. The Inogen can leave you wanting oxygen on a long walk. I took the Inogen to my lung doctor, he looked at it and told me it doesn’t put out what it says it does. He said it is about half. I was wondering why I was out of breath when I use it and am trying to do something. We where going to send it back, but got to thinking about the inconvenience of trying to haul bottles around which only last 2 hours. So, I just use it in the car and when taking a short walk around home.
Hope this gives people food for thought. This has been my experience with the portable. And yes, you need a doctors prescription. I think medicare will pay for one if under a flow rate of 4.
November 12, 2020 at 4:50 pm #26113Bob RawlinsParticipant
I hope I can help you here.
I have both a small portable POC and a larger one that has more flow and pulse settings.
To be able to travel you need to have the right POC for a plane. They require you to have enough battery power for at least 2x the flight.
Also when I travel overnight by car I make sure it can charge in the car. But you also have to be able to sleep on it if needed.
I have to have a POC to sleep on. The smaller pulsation models are very conducive for that.
But they have been great for a quick run to a store, restaurant, visit, etc… so much mire mobility. Plus they plug into car and outlets.
You can get tanks delivered to your destination if your service allows. But it can be a pain
I have been on Oxygen for over 4 years and have traveled by air and car.
POC gives you your life back through mobility and flexibility.
I would suggest a phone call to
Caire Medical INC. They are awesome!
tell them Oxygen man sent you:)
hope this helps
November 12, 2020 at 4:55 pm #26114Bob RawlinsParticipant
pulsating models are NOT conducive to sleep on
sirry didn’t catch it before I posted
November 12, 2020 at 5:00 pm #26115
There are no portable units that are strong enough for you to use. If you want to walk, you’ll have to use the big O2 bottle and roll it around with you. Or, even use a walker or wheelchair and have the big bottle in the chair and you push it.
The portable units are pulse and 5 is supposed to be like a 2.5. I thought my 5 pulse gave me more air than my 3 regular. Now that I’m on 7, the 5 pulse is just NOTHING.
I go out in a scooter and can take pretend walks with the dog and my hubbie when we are traveling. I get to the car using my condenser from the back door—– setting the tank on 7 L. I keep one of the little tanks in my car to get to my scooter to go to the store or doctor’s.
I use the tank in my car to go back to my scooter. I get the scooter off the lift, put my portable condenser on my scooter lift and close up the car—the tank of O2 stays with the car on the lift. Then I scooter off all on my own using the portable condenser which gives me enough O2 to use while I’m sitting. When I come back to the car from shopping or the doctors, I change over to my tank of O2 which goes up to 7L to use while standing or walking; put the scooter back on it’s lift; close up the mini-van back; walk around to the drivers door using my tank of O2 7L. I switch back to my condenser of O2 plugged into the minivan—the unit I used while riding my scooter.
I know this is a lot of changing of tanks, etc, BUT IT LETS ME BE FREE!!!! I can do it myself and not have grumpy hubby fuss.
December 9, 2020 at 5:04 pm #26435
I notice no-one is talking about LOX – liquid O2. You can’t travel by air with it but otherwise it is far and away the best solution for most people who are able (and want )to stay mobile. You can get huge flows and it lasts longer than most POCs and much longer than gas.
Having a POC that goes to a setting of 10 is meaningless unless you know what it means. They can put 24 settings on it but it may only give 2L/min. Sadly, people buy POCs and find that they won’t meet their needs. Worse, sometimes they don’t realize that it isn’t meeting their needs and do damage to their bodies.
December 10, 2020 at 9:04 pm #26457
Really good point! I think one of the reasons why a lot of people don’t consider/talk about liquid 02 is due to the availability of it. It’s really hard to come by here in Canada, and I’ve heard the same throughout the US. I agree with you – its definitely the best solution for portability and 02, but hard to obtain. Do you find that where you are?
November 12, 2020 at 6:49 pm #26116Sam GilmoreParticipant
I have a portable oxygen concentrator called a OxyGo Next It’s lightweight and fits in a bag to carry around very convenient weighs 4.7 pounds. Through my insurance I pay 37.00 a month and that includes the Home concentrator also. Hope this helps.
November 12, 2020 at 7:12 pm #26117
My Respirontics portable condenser is only about 5 pounds, but you have to add the weight of the batteries. It has a handle and a strap on it’s bag. I don’t pay have a co-pay for mine.
November 12, 2020 at 8:41 pm #26118
Long story short I have been quite sick since Labor Day USA but slowly improving except my O2. So if I fly I will need a portable unit. When using your’s on flights do you store everything in the overhead and stuff the unit under the seat in front of you when using it?
November 12, 2020 at 8:44 pm #26119
I’m just curious: do you have the Respironics SimplyGo mini or the standard machine? I have the standard one and I think mine is 10lbs, or maybe I’m just way off based in my weight assumption and should really weigh it. 🙂
Oh, sorry Anne! I just saw in an earlier post you mentioned you use the mini version of the Respironics POC. I hoped my weight assumption of the 10lbs wasn’t that far off haha…
- This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Charlene Marshall.
November 12, 2020 at 8:50 pm #26107
https://www.oxygenconcentratorstore.com/ is one of the best sources of information that I know of. Of course they are trying to get you to buy as well.
Here’s some data I gathered some months ago…
Portable Oxygen Concentrator Specs
Respironics Simply Go
Respironics Simply Go Mini
Inogen One G2
Inogen One G3
Inogen One G4
Inogen One G5
SeQual Eclipse 5
SeQual eQuinox (discontinued): believed same as above
CAIRE Feestyle Comfort Port
Invacare Platinum Mobile
AirSep FreeStyle 5
November 12, 2020 at 8:53 pm #26124
Thanks for sharing Karen!
November 12, 2020 at 8:58 pm #26125
No problem, happy to help where I can. Looks like your inquiry sparked some great conversation about oxygen options and POCs! Hopefully this information is helpful as well. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to connect.
November 12, 2020 at 9:26 pm #26130
So nice to hear from you my friend, though I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been sick! Feel free to only share what you’re comfortable with, but did something trigger you to get sick, like a virus or other type of infection? I think I remember you were doing quite well, aside from the SOB and fatigue. Sad to hear you’ve been so sick, and really hope you’re improving now. Great question re: flying with my POC…
The POC I have has a fold-up trolley to carry the machine on, and it folds up to be quite compact. I put that in the overheat bin above me (I usually put it vertically if I can, as it keeps more room in the bin for others’ items) and then I place the machine under the seat in front of me. I usually put my feet on either side of it – not pressing against it though – for two reasons: 1) it holds it in place during take-off and landing and 2) I can monitor it that way in case it gets hot. I’ve never had this happen but the flight attendants always seek me out when I board the plane with a POC and tell me to let them know right away if it gets hot. Let me know if this helps 🙂 I also always ask for priority boarding, which I’m given due to needing oxygen, just so I can get in and settled before the plane boards everyone else and its a scramble.
November 13, 2020 at 1:59 am #26131
Hi Charlene – no problem sharing just didn’t want to take up space.
Well, I started feeling rough Wednesday after Labor Day Monday and got worse daily for a long time. Head Nurse sister-in-law had her hospital portable lab come by and take a bunch of tests including covid which was negative (I knew that by my symptoms but it is protocol). Tests showed electrolyte imbalance (minor) so we had azithromycin on hand just in case and I took it for 5 days and it helped a little. I knew it had potential side effects so I stopped it at 5 days. Since I was still unable to do much of anything I had my wife get some amoxicillin and took it for 9 days.
Finally started to feel better and went into the CR 12 feet away and my heart started racing and O2 dropped to the high 60’s. Eventually, I was able to stagger back to bed but unable to catch my breath for 30 minutes and that was extremely uncomfortable since my heart was racing the whole time. So I had to go to the CR again and the same thing happened. I wanted to jump up and run because I wanted my breath back (on the verge of panic) but talked to myself to stay still best I could. My wife was in tears – she has seen me in extreme pain before but nothing like this stress. And I was coughing so much I strained my stomach muscles and slightly tore rib cartilage on my left side and my back muscles kept trying to knot up. That just added to the fun. Honestly, I almost died because we had no oxygen and my heart would not go below 105BPM. So my wife and son went on the hunt for O2 in this poor nation and finally found a 400L tank. That didn’t last long as I needed it set on 5L most of the time just to get close to breathing normally without moving around.
It ran out so they tried to get more but the place was closed however a kind security guard told them of another place. That was good news but the bottles were 4900L so quite heavy – I went through a couple of those fast and needed almost 2 a day – a major strain on our tiny budget. I am upstairs so it took 3 guys to move the bottles.
Finally, we got a concentrator after much looking and it works pretty well. However, my lungs filled with mucus and I have been fighting that the past 4 weeks. It still has me stuck in the bedroom but at least now I can do most things in here now on my own and only use 2L in bed but 24/7. Yes, I should have been in the hospital but we were both afraid of the potential problems here as the medical protocol is lacking a lot of times. I am glad we got the concentrator because the O2 bottles were not very good quality and make me cough after an hour or so but I need a big one as we have brownouts.
Total downtime so far is 8.5 weeks…
Status: recovering and as mentally tenacious as ever + a little brain fog… Hahaha.
Stay well friend and thanks for asking…
PS So I picked up AFib and watch it constantly…
November 13, 2020 at 2:09 am #26132
November 13, 2020 at 8:32 am #26135
When flying and using a concentrator, you cant be in the first row, nor in the isle seat. You can be in the 2nd row and have to be in the window seat. The concentrator stays under the seat in front of me or in the middle seat (if available). I keep an extra battery down with me and other batteries in the upper compartment of the plane. If flying for a long period, I take 7 batteries, 15 hours of time usage.
I’m so sorry to hear your not back to feeling your best.
November 13, 2020 at 11:15 am #26136Bert MaidmentParticipant
Steve – Regarding flying with a POC. I have flown a few times with my POC. 1. you need FAA approved system 2. you will need to show the ticket agent at the airport that you have sufficient battery life for 1 1/2 times of the estimated flight time 3. you will be seated in the 2nd or 3rd row window seat. 4. POC unit should be stowed under the seat in front of you for take off and landing. During flight, move the POC unit from under the seat to the space between your legs because the unit needs access to air and almost needs to dissipated the heat it generates. If you keep the unit under the seat in front of you it can over heat due to the confined space and cease working (very disconcerting at 38,000 feet). The unit will not reboot until it cools down. 5. Bring ac/dc charger with you to charge batteries in the gate area or restaurants when you can. 6. arrange for wheel chair assists with the airlines to take you to the gate and then from your destination gate to baggage and car rental. I hope this helps…BERT
November 13, 2020 at 5:25 pm #26140
November 13, 2020 at 5:48 pm #26141Bert MaidmentParticipant
Steve – The airlines (United in both cases) stipulated window seat. I guess you can always ask to be assigned a middle seat although their rationale is that no one would need to crawl over you in case of an emergency if you are in window seat. Business class? First class? What is that? Save travels, BERT
November 14, 2020 at 2:00 pm #26142
Bert, you are a good writer—I agree with your statement 100%
November 16, 2020 at 10:16 am #26155
Thanks so much for sharing, though I am so sorry to hear how difficult things have been! Just seems so unfair for such a great person/friend like yourself. Did they ever determine if the electrolyte imbalance and other unpleasant symptoms were from a virus of some kind? Glad your COVID swab came back negative…
Gosh, sounds like your lungs are starting to need 02, even if for this next little while to recover. I’m glad you have some now! Is your doctor in the US able to connect with a doctor there and write a script for oxygen, so you don’t have such a hard time obtaining it in future? I’m glad you have a concentrator now, but it is always helpful to have back up tanks/bottles in case an issue goes wrong with the concentrator battery or the power is out. Hang in there my friend, it sounds like your lungs have a ways to go yet before they heal. I know it is tough to be still and rest, but we need you here for a long time more with us 🙂
Thinking of you and hope you continue on the mend!
November 17, 2020 at 3:09 pm #26169Doug JonesParticipant
Just a few comments about POCs and some reliable sources of information:
1) The Pulmonary Paper organization prepares an annual comparison of oxygen concentrators with detailed specifications from many companies. Latest is 2019. Included are both continuous flow and pulse flow models as well as models such as the Simply/Go that Charlene mentions which will do both–although not at the same level. https://www.pulmonarypaper.org/portable-oxygen-concentrators-comparison-chart-2019/
2) Suggest you visit the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) website, especially the section that deals with Oxygen Therapy which includes a wealth of reliable information about needs, options, requirements and guidelines https://www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/life-with-pf/oxygen-therapy Also, the PFF has a FREE professional Oxygen Therapy Information Line 844-825-5733 which can provide individualized information.
3) Be aware that the FLOW RATES on oxygen concentrators are NOT equal to liters/minute. Normal air is about 80/20 nitrogen/oxygen. Concentrators remove most of the nitrogen so the output varies from approximately 88%-96% pure oxygen. If your doctor says you need 5 liters/min of oxygen, a POC operating at 90% will provide only 4.5 liters/min.
4) I have a large oxygen concentrator from Inogen–about the size of a carry-on suitcase–that weighs 18 lbs and provides CONTINUOUS flow up to approximately 4 liters/min which I use for sleeping with my CPAP machine. I have an Inogen One G3 that provides PULSED FLOW up to approximately 4 liters/min that I use for walking, exercise, etc It is FAA approved. Those were provided on a rental basis through Medicare. I also purchased a SimplyGo portable oxygen concentrator that I use for travel because it provides up to 2 liters/min CONTINUOUS flow oxygen that I use with my CPAP on trips. That level may be too low for some but your sleep oxygen requirements may be lower than waking so for me it still works.
5) If you plan to travel (post-COVID 19) there are companies and cruise lines that specialize in helping those of us who need oxygen therapy when we are away from our home resources.
There is much to know about oxygen therapy and I suggest you read the online brochures on the PFF website for more detailed and authoritative information. Good luck–and join the club. Doug Jones
November 17, 2020 at 4:44 pm #26173
Data I collected a few months ago. Prices were approximate at the time…
November 17, 2020 at 5:27 pm #26174
Pulmonologists over here know very little about ILD or IPF – it is very rare here. I visited a pulmonologist over a year ago and she couldn’t really help also the VA doctor has only made a couple of small recommendations. Medicine here is a totally different world and my doctor at home is very limited in what she can recommend.
I do a little exercise, clear my lungs and improve very so slightly every day but with AFib who knows what might happen.
Thank you for your kind words. I was a lot worse off than mentioned here but on the mend and will keep going until I can’t.
November 17, 2020 at 5:45 pm #26175
November 17, 2020 at 8:33 pm #26176
Thanks for writing back Steve, and letting me know. It’s unfortunate how different medicine is where you are vs. in the States, sorry they can’t do more but I’m so glad you’ve been resourceful in getting 02 and are improving even slightly every day. Keep up the great work and keep in touch, as always 🙂
November 17, 2020 at 8:35 pm #26177
November 18, 2020 at 8:30 am #26181Barbara R.Participant
I just wanted to let you know about the addition I made to my inogen concentrator. Knowing that the intakes on the concentrator have no hepa filters, I sent away for small concave hepa filters for masks and attached over the intakes. They are concave to prevent overheating. My pulmonist was impressed. Inogen and others should make these changes to protect better from Covid 19. Best, Barbara
November 20, 2020 at 6:19 am #26199RonParticipant
When I moved from Colorado to Boise, Idaho I was using an Inogen G4 provided by Apria under Medicare.
While Apria has a small presence here, I quickly learned from my doctors that the favored supplier is a local multi-office company called Norco. I visit their warehouse and showroom in nearby Meridian, Idaho.
While getting things set up from my move I was telling the representative how I disliked my POC for the same reasons others have mentioned in their posts… things like the weight, short battery life, noise, limited flow rates, etc.
My biggest problem was not having enough battery life to go into town for doctor’s appointments, have lunch in town, and returning home. Even with a car charger, it was always cutting it close.
The representative introduced me to a liquid oxygen system made by Caire Inc. It consists of a tank about 4 feet tall and about 18 inches in diameter. The highest flow rate is 10 lpm. This is continuous flow. The tank takes the place of a home concentrator and is completely silent. There are no moving parts.
Another part of this system is a portable tank. You fill this tank from the larger home tank. It is lightweight and produces a continuous flow rate of 6 lpm or 15 lpm depending on the model. This unit is approximately 15 inches tall and around 10 inches across. It is contour shaped to rest comfortably against your side when hanging from the strap. There are no batteries to change out. This unit provides O2 for 4 to 7 hours per charge.
Advantages: lightweight, extended time between recharges, quiet, continuous flow, high flow rates.
Disadvantage: You cannot extend service time by slipping in a fresh battery. For this reason, it is not good for extended travel.
I have been using this system for 9 months. It is perfect for me. Norco recharges the big tank by moving it to their service truck for about 5 minutes then wheeling it back into my home. The big tank usually needs recharging every 7-14 days for most people.
I have my home tank connected to my APAP (CPAP) machine at 2 liters. I need service every 14 or so days. All is covered in my Medicare Advantage coverage. I don’t think you need an Advantage program to get covered by Medicare.
I am told that most DME suppliers (Apria, Lincare, etc.) will lend/rent a battery operated portable unit for your travel needs.
Portable Caire Helios Liquid O2 units
15 LPM unit on left
6 LPM unit on right
Home tank – Caire
November 22, 2020 at 9:43 pm #26213
Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to share all of this wonderful information with us and explaining how this is helpful for you. I have no doubt it will be helpful to others seeking out information about POCs and other oxygen options. Thank you again!
November 24, 2020 at 9:17 pm #26236
Prices were approximate about 6 months ago.
Best source of information I’ve found (though they are selling them) is: Oxygen Concentrator Store: Oxygen Suppliers for Oxygen Equipment
November 26, 2020 at 5:44 pm #26270
Ron’s note on LOX is right on the money. If you need anything over 3L/min continuous there are no portable machines; by which I mean machines that can be comfortably carried. I can manage on 1 reservoir refill per month but I use a stationary concentrator to sleep. If you are active nothing beats LOX but suppliers in many parts of the country are loath to supply it because they think it’s a lot of bother. I don’t know what the economics are, that may be a problem, too. I can put a Helios Marathon in a backpack and wear it while I play table tennis (Or I could before COVID closed our Rec Centers), walk in the gym and do half an hour’s weights, and still have enough O left for the rest of the day
IMPORTANT If you are on Medicare, after an initial period (maybe 3 months -CHECK!!) you are locked in for a total 5 years with whatever you have accepted from your supplier. (unless you can talk them into changing – and don’t count on that.) I don’t know if this is true for Insurance companies – ask.
POC s are wonderful if you can use them. Medicare will provide one free for travel within the 50 states but you must rent or buy one for international travel. You must get clearance from the airline which you can do by going to the airline’s web page. The variation is enormous. Delta is simple and uses a 3rd party to OK it. Virgin Atlantic so complicated that you should look it up yourself. Even if there is a 110 socket on the plane it will not allow you to run a POC because of current limitations. FAA requires you to carry 150% of the battery capacity required for the flights. If you have to change flights it is an advantage to have some waiting time so that you can recharge all your batteries full.
Although you can plug POCs into the lighter socket in your car, you may not be able to run the POC, again because of insufficient current. I have read of people getting their car’s electrics modified to run POCs but it’s not cheap. Usually you can recharge the battery though not at the same time that you use the POC. These are not limitations of the POC but of the car’s electrical system.
As people have said elsewhere in this thread, never, ever believe salesmen who tell you that the 6 pulse settings on a POC correspond to Liters/min. They do not. Always read the owner’s manual before parting with any $. See if you can use them for a trial period, checking yourself with an oximeter.
POCs are often for sale on EBay and Craigs List and here is the problem with these. Too much usage is NOT usually the problem. That is very easy to check at the the push of a button or 2. A technician for one of the manufacturers told me to beware of POCs that have stood idle for a long time. The chemicals in the towers (zeolite) that remove the nitrogen, pack down and the towers cease working. You can replace them but again it is not cheap and your life may depend on this. She suggested running it continuously (on the mains, obviously) for at least 24 hours or, preferably 48 hours to see that it’s reliable. BTW if you buy POC batteries on Ebay, the machine manufacturer can tell you how old they are if you have the serial number, though I’ve never found the batteries to be a problem.
I’ve probably forgotten something, but I hope this is helpful for new patients. I am almost at the end of 5 years, my supplier has been taken over, and I’m getting anxious. OTOH I didn’t expect to be here when I when I went on oxygen 5 years ago, so never say die.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
November 26, 2020 at 9:49 pm #26272
November 27, 2020 at 10:54 am #26279
Thanks Bill. That’s very helpful!
December 1, 2020 at 10:53 am #26303Ron ReidParticipant
I might have missed this on the thread, but one very helpful accessory for the Respironics Simply Go Mini concentrator is a backpack for use instead of the usual side strap. The backpack distributes the weight evenly when you are walking, and has mesh at the bottom to allow for air flow. If you are still active in walking, etc. it is a godsend.
We are in Canada where the backpack is not easy to find, but we eventually made contact with the company in the U.S. and they shipped it to us. We had to pay for it, and it is not cheap (I think around U.S. $150 but that was a few years ago). But well worth the cost – I use it daily, and it has been especially good for travel.
December 2, 2020 at 9:27 am #26323
Hello my friend,
I completely agree with you re: the backpack and the Respironics Simply Go Mini Machine! I have both the regular SimplyGo and the mini and love the backpack that comes with the latter. I also love a backpack I found on Amazon for the small, D-sized tanks. It’s very comfortable for just short outings with a canister of 02. Thanks for sharing your experience with this, it’s so helpful to ascertain what works best for IPF based on other patient experiences.
Take good care,
December 1, 2020 at 4:17 pm #26307
You are right about a backpack making things easier. When I had a truly portable concentrator I bought a mesh backpack in Walmart for $4 and it worked well. The problem with a non mesh backpack is how do you exhaust the nitrogen? Well, before I found the mesh BP on sale I had a cheap fabric BP and cut a hole to fit the concentrator exhaust. If the back pack is a bit big so that the POC moves about, wedge it with foam rubber or expanded polystyrene. It will work ok. My problem was that the POC simply would not – and could not – produce enough O, hence my migration to LOX.
December 5, 2020 at 10:39 am #26351Douglas k FreemanParticipant
I can speak to what I know. I had Inogen and It was very nice. however, the highest flow rate was only 6-8 liters and I needed 10. So it did not meet my needs. The unit only weighed 6 lbs very light and with extra battery packs and a car charger you are good to go! So yes if you only need 6-8 liters that is the one you want, also it is covered by medicare to buy or rent! Good luck.
December 6, 2020 at 10:25 am #26379
I just went on line to Inogen and saw their portable concentrator only goes up to 5 liters .like the other portable concentrators. Please let me know the model # for your machine so I can find any still available.
- This reply was modified 5 months ago by Charlene Marshall. Reason: tagging
December 6, 2020 at 4:44 pm #26381
I very strongly advise anyone buying a portable oxygen concentrator to get the capacity in writing before parting with your money. It should say in litres/min continuous or pulse what the machine output is. It should also say what the max bolus (puff of oxygen) is at each setting. Manufacturer’s User Manuals will have a table showing this. You can find most of them on the net for free.
Ask if they will give you a free trial and then check your O2 levels with your oximeter or better still, with your pulmonologist’s.
If a company sells you machine that they claim is portable and produces 8L/min you are very likely to get an expensive paper weight.
December 6, 2020 at 6:37 pm #26389
December 8, 2020 at 3:52 pm #26408
This is what I would do. Call Oxygen to Go and ask them what portable has the highest CONTINUOUS output. They are in the business of renting portables and batteries for travel – not selling them. They actually OK you for travel on Delta and Virgin and maybe others. They WILL know what is available for sure. It’s definitely worth asking them.
December 9, 2020 at 12:39 pm #26425
This is information that I’ve collected and tabulated myself doing web searches. I have IPF and use supplemental O2, up to 8 liters per minute (lpm) for more than leisurely activities. I am also and engineer and am working with a group at Johns Hopkins to develop more effective supplemental oxygen systems.
NOTE: PULSE settings CANNOT be directly equated to continuous liter per minute settings. It’s more complicated than that. A simplified example…
If your system is continuously delivering you O2 at a rate of one lpm into your cannula and you are inhaling half the time and exhaling the other half, then one half of the O2 is being wasted because you are exhaling against it while its being delivered. However, if your delivery system could, instead, squeeze all of its one lpm capability into/during the time you are inhaling, you are getting twice as much O2, effectively two lpm during inhale when you need and can use it. This is what pulse modes are intended to do.
That was a simplified example. It is more complicated than that. Typically you are not inhaling half the time. Also, towards the end of your inhale cycle, some of the O2 is not in your lungs long enough for effective transfer to your blood and some of it never makes it past your upper airways before it is exhaled out and thus wasted. Systems that deliver more of their O2 early in the inhale cycle can provide for higher, effective delivery rates to the patient.
In my view, a POC at its highest pulse mode setting can, AT BEST, only provide you, in effect, with up to three times its continuous flow rating. Most will fall well short of that.
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Charlene Marshall.
December 9, 2020 at 12:49 pm #26427
I give up…
December 9, 2020 at 1:57 pm #26432
I hope you’ll keep updating us on this.
I calculated it a different way. The bolus volume of a well known POC that will supply 3L/min is 96mL at the highest pulse setting of 6. Let us say that you inhale 10 times in a minute. I choose 10 times because pursed lips breathing is widely recommended at 2 seconds inhalation and 4 seconds exhalation i.e. 10 per minute.
10 inhalations is 10 times 96mL at the highest setting. This as near as dammit is to swearing to 1L/min. If you breathe more quickly than this I doubt you are getting the full amount of O2 or exhausting the CO2. I know for sure that my lungs are hyperextended so breathing faster is no use to me as I never completely exhaust my lungs.
There is another POC that has a max bolus of double this so it would add up to 2L/min max.
Speaking from long experience I always do better with continuous flow if I’m doing anything strenuous e.g. walking quickly or uphill.
Pure O2 dispensed in either gas or liquid can have a controller that has C and D settings. D is for “Demand” and allegedly supplies a bolus equivalent to the nominal setting in L/min. However I still find continuous works better for strenuous activity.
Incidentally with 2 perfect batteries at 3L/min C will exhaust them in 1.5 hours. So if you want to fly 10 hours, you need 20 batteries (E.g. LAS to LHR) if you use 3L/min C. That is not feasible.
You can find all these numbers in User Manuals, free on the net.
Thanks again John and, BTW pursed lips breathing does help. (technique also on the net)
Best Wishes to all
December 9, 2020 at 1:15 pm #26430
We got your full post about the POC comparison with the exception of the table it looks like. Adding anything other than text into the forums (ie. pictures, excel documents, etc) can be quite finicky to prevent spam but there is a way to do it. Do you want to email me the table comparison you made and I can embed it into your post for you? Let me know, and I’d be happy to do that 🙂 My email is: [email protected] . Otherwise the rest of your post looks great and I look forward to reading it. I also replied to your direct message.
Have a great day!
December 10, 2020 at 7:31 am #26437
Liquid Oxygen (LOX) home and portable systems can deliver significantly higher flow rates than concentrators and have light weight portable sizes that can deliver high flow rates for significantly longer periods than portable concentrators or gaseous oxygen tanks. However, they are expensive, not widely available and not reimbursable by most medical insurance plans or Medicare. The high density of cryogenic liquid O2 and the need to continuously vent gaseous O2 to cool the cryogenic liquid poses significantly higher storage, transportation and point of use ventilation requirements/regulations and fire/safety risks than gaseous O2 systems. As with gaseous O2 systems, they cannot be taken on board aircraft.
- This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Charlene Marshall. Reason: formatting to remove code
December 10, 2020 at 3:04 pm #26445
Medicare does cover LOX (liquid Oxygen) in just the same way as it covers gaseous O2. Lots of suppliers don’t like doing it and quote the problems John mentions. In fact I have never had any problem with it. I get one delivery /month, I used to get 1/week when I was on gas. My delivery guy takes an empty reservoir to the LOX manufacturer, fills it and delivers it on a wheeled dolly. He picks up my empty and the cycle continues. He doesn’t see it as a problem for him, but he’s a strapping kid and you can believe I keep him sweet.
They supply a portable which you fill daily. Full, it weighs 5.7 lb, exactly what a small gas cylinder weighs. I carry it in a purpose made backpack which I bought on Ebay. The models I use are the Helios Marathon 850 and a smaller one Helios 300. Both of these models are common on Ebay. I bought a Marathon as a spare for $120 and a 300 for $76 including a carry pack. The numbers refer to the volume in mL that each carries.
The 300 is only good for 1L/min continuous or 4L/min Demand (Note: Demand NOT pulse). The carry pack can be worn over the shoulder or on a belt (supplied) around your waist. It is excellent for visits to the doctors or scans where I don’t need much supplemental O2.
The 850 delivers a max of 6L/min Continuous and 4L/min Demand.
The new price for these is outrageous but you don’t need a spare unless you are a compulsive like me.
There are other portables that deliver more than these and you can find them on the net
By design both the reservoir and portables continuously vent some oxygen so that you can’t over pressure the container if your air conditioner gives out in Phoenix and the temperature rises and stays high. I conducted a test a few years ago to see how much leaks from the reservoir. In a warm house it would take about 10-12 weeks for a full reservoir to disappear if you didn’t use it. The reservoir BTW is built like a Thermos with double walls of stainless steel so the temperature doesn’t vary much.
There is a seminar video on one of the PF sites that discusses O2 therapy in detail – I’ll look for it
Speaking personally, LOX changed my life and the only thing I worry about is losing it because Congress restricts payments to suppliers to save money. We (seniors) are not exactly a priority to Congress.
December 10, 2020 at 8:03 am #26438
Conservation of the oxygen supply: As has been discussed above, the pulse modes of the POCs are designed to help conserve their output O2 and deliver it more timely/effectively to the patient. Another method of conservation is to add an O2 reservoir at/near the cannula to store the O2 from the concentrator during the patient’s exhalation and delivering it to the patient during their inhale. A study on the topic is available at NIH https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3931988/
Several products are on the market with names such as Oxymizer and Oxysaver,
December 10, 2020 at 12:43 pm #26443
Inogen TAV (Tidal Assist Ventilator): This is a relatively new product and I believe I am one of the first to buy and use it. It functions as both a conserver and to provide ‘tidal assist’. It works with gaseous O2 tanks or Inogen’s special model concentrator that delivers the higher pressure (50psi) needed by the TAV. There is a full description of it here: https://www.inogen.com/blog/what-is-tav/
I do not need/use supplemental O2 for leisurely activities but beyond that, doing physical work, walking fast, climbing hills/stairs, etc. I need much more than portable POCs can provide. So I use a small gaseous O2 tank, an MB08, 228 liter, 3,000psi tank weighing 2.3lbs, 3.2″ diameter, 11.8″ height. I put the tank in a small back pack with chest strap (and belly strap too but I don’t often use it). I find the TAV performs as advertised. I have tried a number of conserving regulators including smart/electronic ones and find the TAV much superior, both better at conserving and the tidal assist reduces the effort required to do rapid, deep inhales. With the TAV in a pocket or worn as a pendant around the neck, I particularly appreciate the ability to quickly and easily adjust the bolus size/duration with a simple press of an increase or decrease button as my exertion level increases/decreases. No need to get the tank into your hands and look at the regulator settings to do this.
That is not to say that it’s a perfect system. It is not. First off, it is expensive. Just under $1,500 if I recall correctly. There are two hoses to the TAV pendant/hand unit, a heavy O2 supply line to the tank/regulator and a normal cannula hose and they complicate the donning of the gear. It uses a special, venturi effect cannula they call a pillow cannula. It’s made of soft silicon rubber designed to seal in/against each nostril. It requires a little practice and fussing to get them in place correctly. I’ve not worn it for more than an hour at a time and I don’t now if the pillow cannula will become bothersome when worn for long periods. It is also noisy. There are venturi jets within the cannula jetting O2 at much higher velocity than normal systems. Those near you are definitely going to hear it, especially at the higher settings.
I’ve already suggested to them that they build the electronic/mechanical part of the TAV unit into the regulator on the tank. Then only one hose is needed, the cannula run from there. A hand held / pendant remote control could then communicate via Blue Tooth (BLE) to control the TAV hardware at the tank.
December 10, 2020 at 7:11 pm #26447
https://www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/life-with-pf/oxygen-therapy A super overview for those who want to know more.
And here is PFF webinar on oxygen delivery methods.
December 11, 2020 at 12:16 am #26472JenniferParticipant
I also have an inogen 5 and medicaid wouldn’t cover it, they only covered the portable cylinder tanks. I also wanted to add this time bit as well since we are living in this covid 19 time. These POC do not filter out viruses. So just be aware that when you are in a public place such a grocery store or anywhere else you may go, the concentrator uses the air around it and yes it does have some filtration just doesn’t filter out coronaviruses which is definitely something to think about right now as those of us needing supplemental oxygen are considered in the high risk category. Not trying to be a Debbie downer just trying to bring to light another thought while searching for any POC
December 11, 2020 at 12:59 pm #26479
I have a respironics mini portable condensor and medicare covers it and it is not a portable cylinder tank. Perhaps if you go back to your oxygen provider and get someone further up in their “line of command” you will be able to get you a portable condesor rented and paid by medicare. You pulmonologist has to prescribe it for you.
December 11, 2020 at 3:11 pm #26480
I think the key is your doctor. If he prescribes a portable, Medicare will pay for it. The link I posted above to “Living with O2” covers all this. You will be better armed to get the best if you read what the experts at the PF Foundation say. You are dealing with a bureaucracy in both Medicare and your supplier. What you do at the start of your 5 year period is easier to change than when you well into the period.
The only reason I post here is that I want fellow sufferers to avoid some of the newbie mistakes that I made. This is your life. Surely it’s worth 10 minutes to read and another 15 to watch the webinar.
When I first went on O2 I was in shock. 5years? I didn’t think I’d be here in 5 years time – but I am. I knew nothing of the organizations and forums like this one. There are some wonderful resources available for free and I try to use them.
December 11, 2020 at 4:27 pm #26481DougParticipant
Hi, I have a Simply Go Mini and have been quite pleased and have a larger home machine, Everflo IP21 that is continuous O2 and I use at night for sleep and around the house when I am active at any degree(Has a 50ft tube.) I have Tricare for Life (Medicare +Tricare) and they rent equipment and you deal with a O2 provider. I like my mini, a pulse provider. However, it cannot provide continuous O2 that the regular Simply Go can. That means that you have to have a separate machine for sleep. The mini is about six pounds and I carry it in a backpack bought form the company and use it when walking. The regular simply go is a little heavy for most to carry it and a cart is provider. I will probably need to change to that some day. I found out who you get as a provider is important as it is not possible to change after you choose one. I have a local provider and I would recommend a national one if you travel. With my local provider I have to rent a simply go for $100 before I go out of town as the mini is not made to run overnight for long periods of time and cannot be continuous. A national provider can arrange an appropriate continuous machine at your rendezvous.
December 12, 2020 at 2:38 pm #26491
Thanks Bill for that very valuable information. I’ve bookmarked both the article and the video.
I have a stationary concentrator which I use during sleep in conjunction with my CPAP. I also get oxygen tanks which I use outdoors with my rollator. Both are paid for by medicare. Am I correct that if I wanted to add a portable oxygen concentrator I would have to pay for that myself w/o any medicare contribution?
December 12, 2020 at 3:48 pm #26493
Probably. The article tells the story but I think your doctor must prescribe a POC – not the model – that’s up to the supplier but your doctor can say what dose you must have. It is very difficult to change after, I think, 3 months. However if your condition changes the article says your doctor can change it. One thing I have not mentioned is that you can download a list of all O2 suppliers in your area from Medicare’s web site. Unfortunately we find this kind of thing out after we have committed for 5 years. O2 suppliers are a sub group of DME (durable medical equipment) suppliers to Medicare. If your pulmonologist has a fair sized practice, either he or his technician can probably tell you who the best and worst suppliers are. Usually there are Yelp ratings on the net.
I used smaller O2 tanks when I found the POC couldn’t keep up. I forget what letter, maybe D, but they are wine bottle size and weigh about 5.8 lb. I rigged up a Walmart backpack with foam. The regulator could provide both continuous and demand – that’s important, not all regulators do. I used as much as 2 tanks a day. I needed 1.5 to play table tennis or walk for about an hour at 2or 3L/min. I was using 10 to 12 tanks a week but my supplier never jibbed. They were owned by a huge Japanese health company and I didn’t realize what a good company they were. How can you know? As I mentioned they had a travel manager and they would lend you, free of charge, a POC for travel in the 50 states. BTW I was using the provided standard Phillips stationery OC to sleep.
If there are any other questions, John, go ahead and ask. I must emphasize that regulations change so I’m probably not up to date on everything e.g. I was surprised to hear that patients were being charged or told “Tough Luck” when they asked for help with an approved POC for travel. I would certainly check that with Medicare, who are up to date on rules and companies.
If there is anybody who has more info please let us know.
I may as well tell you that I am very wary about claims made by salesmen for POC distributors. They are very expensive new and if you find they won’t keep up with what you need, you’re stuck. Caveat emptor!
December 12, 2020 at 7:13 pm #26497
I have one stationary concentrator for 24/7 use, 2 small bottles and a refiller to use with the stationary concentrator, one large standing O2 tank for use when the electricity goes out, and a small portable battery operated condensor all paid by medicare.
My pulmonologist requested 24/7 O2 in house. He also said I needed portable O2 for use going to doctors, shopping, and other activities. The two little bottles would not serve me for a whole day going out and about for lunch, bridge, and shopping or to movies. I would need the concentrator and I have purchased several batteries to use. I also have the car charger and plug paid by medicare.
Please contact your doctor and ask him/her to request the concentrator. The staff will help with the wording if you MD doesn’t know how to word it.
December 12, 2020 at 9:53 pm #26499
That is really useful information and it shows how important your doctor’s instructions are.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.