GASEOUS OXYGEN SYSTEM – This consists of an oxygen tank with a regulator/flowmeter.  This is a compressed gas system.  A regulator/flowmeter is attached to the tank via an oxygen wrench.  The flow rate is controlled by adjusting the knob on the regulator/flowmeter.  Oxygen tanks, no matter how large or small, are all portable.


OXYGEN CONCENTRATOR – An oxygen concentrator is a device which takes ambient or room air and divides the air into oxygen and nitrogen.  The nitrogen is discarded and the oxygen is stored, concentrated, and delivered to the patient at 90-95% purity.  A stationary concentrator is most typically utilized inside the patient’s home.  A stationary system runs on electricity.  A stationary system has a regulator/flowmeter built into the device.  A stationary system typically has a single delivery port and, depending upon the model, can deliver up to 8 liters per minute (LPM) of oxygen to the patient.  A portable oxygen concentrator is most typically utilized outside the patient’s home.  A portable system runs on a battery that must be recharged periodically.  The battery recharger runs on electricity.  Typical battery life for a portable oxygen concentrator is approximately 4 hours.


LIQUID OXYGEN SYSTEM – Liquid oxygen systems consist of a stationary unit or reservoir which stores a large volume of liquid oxygen and a portable unit which can be refilled from the stationary unit.  Neither the stationary or portable units require electricity.


MECHANICAL VENTILATOR – Mechanical ventilation may be defined as a life-support system designed to replace or support normal ventilator lung function.  Mechanical ventilation serves only to provide assistance for breathing and does not cure a disease process.  Mechanical ventilators require electricity and a skilled professional (M.D., D.O., PA, NP, RN, or RRT) to monitor the patient and the ventilator settings.