Portable oxygen tanks have changed the lives of people with respiratory problems. Daily routines and activities are no longer disrupted because a convenient portable oxygen tank can now be available in the home. A critical decision, however, is how to select the right type of gas tank for the patient.
It is important for patients to discuss and make an informed decision with their doctors on the type of portable oxygen tank to purchase. Important considerations include how much oxygen the patient needs, how much weight the patient can carry, whether the patient is physically able to operate the tank, and how long the patient is usually away from home and for how long the patient needs to use a portable oxygen tank per sitting.
There are several different types of oxygen tanks available. A lighter type of gas tank is the liquid type. It is a smaller container that can hold more oxygen. One liter of liquid oxygen has the same amount of oxygen as compared to 860 liters of oxygen in gas form. The patient can easily refill liquid tanks on his or her own. The nice feature of these tanks are that there is no need for a power source and they do not create unwanted noise. The patient should be taught based on how much oxygen is needed to set the flow rate of oxygen to the required amount when using the device.
An important factor to remember when using a liquid portable oxygen tank is that liquid can evaporate. Always check the tank to ensure it is full. Store and use the portable oxygen tank in an upright position at all times. There is a good chance that the liquid oxygen will freeze if it is not stored in the recommended position. The liquid oxygen becomes similar to dry ice when frozen and the tank will no longer be useable.
Another type of portable oxygen tank is the compressed oxygen tank. It comes in a pressurized container. Compressed oxygen comes in cylinders in a variety of sizes. A smaller and light cylinder is the best size for patients who are leaving home for a short time. When the patient needs to be gone for a longer time, the larger cylinder is the recommended size. It is equipped with flow meters and regulators to avoid wasting its contents.
The advantage of compressed oxygen is that it does not evaporate like the liquid oxygen. The liquid oxygen, on the other hand, is more lightweight and carries more oxygen content than the compressed oxygen. So there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of tanks.
Turn off portable oxygen tank when not in use. It is necessary to provide and teach instructions to the patient and his or her loved ones on the proper usage of portable oxygen tanks. This training can be performed by a doctor or a medical supply company employee. The training will come in handy when the system is not working especially when the patient is in need of immediate source of oxygen. Proper training can also help to keep a patient out of danger from using one of these tanks incorrectly.