Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung conditions in the world. It’s known for developing slowly over the course of many years, leading to increased breathlessness, chest pain, coughing, and wheezing. As this incurable disease progresses, flare-ups and exacerbations become more common, so COPD patients need to pay especially close attention to the treatment plan created by their doctor. Since a core aspect of most treatment plans involves supplemental oxygen therapy, it’s also important for COPD patients to find an oxygen device that serves their long-term goals.
Unfortunately, the medical oxygen industry can be very confusing, especially for someone who’s never had to navigate it before. People who are buying oxygen for the first time often fall victim to false advertising, scams, or they simply end up purchasing an oxygen device that doesn’t meet their needs. As such, we strongly encourage oxygen patients to do their research and understand what oxygen devices there are before buying one. Here at LPT Medical, we take pride in providing oxygen patients with the resources they need in order to make educated decisions about their disease.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at seven reasons someone who uses a liquid oxygen tank or someone who is considering purchasing a liquid oxygen tank may want to upgrade to a pulse dose portable oxygen concentrator: the Caire FreeStyle Comfort. This is one of many oxygen concentrators on the market, so be sure to speak with our respiratory specialists if you’d like to learn about other options. You can reach us at 1-800-946-1201 or you can email us at email@example.com.
What is a Liquid Oxygen Tank?
A liquid oxygen tank (also called a LOX unit) is a medical device that stores oxygen in a liquid form. They are often seen as an upgrade to compressed oxygen tanks because they are lighter, safer, and store more oxygen. What’s more, you can also purchase portable versions of these tanks, usually called “portable oxygen cylinders.” These tanks are light enough to carry on your shoulder as you walk and they provide you with many hours of oxygen.
While liquid oxygen tanks provide many benefits over compressed oxygen tanks, they still cause a lot of inconveniences for oxygen patients. One of the most glaring problems with liquid oxygen tanks is that, in order to store oxygen in a liquid form, it needs to be kept at very low temperatures (typically around -183°C or -297°F). While the tanks themselves are designed to maintain these temperatures, it’s inevitable that the tank will heat up causing the water to evaporate over time. In other words, you won’t be able to store a liquid oxygen tank for a significant amount of time without the oxygen dissipating.
What is the Caire FreeStyle Comfort?
An oxygen concentrator performs the same function as a liquid oxygen tank by providing the user with medical-grade oxygen. The difference between the two, however, is that oxygen concentrators are electronic devices that run off of batteries. Rather than storing oxygen inside the machine, concentrators take ambient air, remove unneeded gases like nitrogen and argon, then puts out medical-grade oxygen through the nasal cannula.
The Caire FreeStyle Comfort is a pulse dose portable oxygen concentrator meaning it carefully monitors your breathing and only puts out oxygen when you need it. In other words, it conserves energy so that you can go more places and do more things on one battery charge. Much like a liquid oxygen cylinder, the Caire FreeStyle Comfort is very lightweight and easy to carry on your shoulder.
Another thing to note about this portable oxygen concentrator is that it’s manufactured by one of the most trusted brands in the medical oxygen industry. Caire Inc. advertises its products under the names SeQual, AirSep, and Caire, and the FreeStyle Comfort is one of their most advanced oxygen machines yet. Thee Caire FreeStyle Comfort is widely considered to be one of the best portable oxygen concentrators ever made, but many people also believe the Inogen One G5 is the best. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should upgrade your liquid oxygen cylinder.
Safety is incredibly important. The reason for using supplemental oxygen therapy in the first place is to maintain oxygen levels in the blood and prevent life-threatening conditions like right-sided heart failure; so, it goes without saying that you don’t want your supplemental oxygen device to add any unnecessary health risks. And despite the fact that liquid oxygen tanks are safer than compressed oxygen tanks, they are still more dangerous to use than a portable oxygen concentrator.
Liquid oxygen tanks are stored at a pressure of around 350 PSIG (pressure per square inch, gauge). While this is significantly less than the 2,000 psi that regular oxygen tanks are stored at, it can still be a safety concern. Liquid oxygen tanks have complex safety mechanisms in place that prevent pressure from building too high, but in reality, there is simply more that can go wrong with these units.
The great thing about portable oxygen concentrators like the Caire FreeStyle Comfort is that you never have to deal with a high-pressure device in the first place. Since oxygen concentrators take ambient air and immediately put it out of the nasal cannula, you never have to feel insecure about using supplemental oxygen. What’s more, if you happen to drop your nasal cannula the device will stop putting out oxygen until a breath is detected.
Another point to note about traditional oxygen tanks and liquid oxygen tanks is that they’re extremely inconvenient to use. Because these tanks can’t be simply recharged like an oxygen concentrator, you have to have some way of refilling them. Whether that means having new tanks delivered by an oxygen company or having to refill them with a liquid oxygen reservoir, you’ll need to find something that works for you.
If you decide to have your tanks delivered or drive to an oxygen company to refill them, this could be a huge time sink for you and you may have trouble working your schedule around them. On the other hand, if you decide to purchase your own oxygen reservoir, you’ll only be able to refill your liquid oxygen tank in your home. On top of this, reservoirs tend to be very bulky, heavy, and difficult to move.
Since the Caire FreeStyle Comfort is charged through either a wall outlet or a car outlet, you’ll be able to take your portable oxygen concentrator just about anywhere with you. You’ll be able to charge your machine at your home, in hotels, airports, and in any vehicle that has a power outlet. And the best part of all is that you can use the machine while it’s charging, as long as it’s on a low flow setting.
In the past, beginning supplemental oxygen therapy meant giving up your freedom to travel long distances. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversees safety regulations for commercial flights in the United States, and both traditional and liquid oxygen tanks are banned. What this means is that if you’re using one of these oxygen devices, you’ll be relegated to other slower forms of transportation.
However, the Caire FreeStyle Comfort — like most portable oxygen concentrators — is approved by the FAA for in-flight use. All you need to do is call your airline 48 hours ahead of your flight and be prepared to bring at least 1.5 times the duration of your flight in battery life. Once that’s out of the way, you’ll be able to fly anywhere in the country without question. If you’re going out of the country, be sure to check in with the regulations in your destination country before leaving.
It’s easy to get caught up in talking about all of the other factors of a portable oxygen machine and forget about one of the most important factors: reliability. Having reliable supplemental oxygen means being able to be out and about at the store, visiting a friend, or on vacation, without ever having to worry about receiving the oxygen you need to maintain your blood oxygen levels. You’ll be able to spend more time focusing on enjoying your day and accomplish your goals rather than worrying about whether or not your oxygen needs are being met.
Like we mentioned earlier, liquid oxygen needs to be kept at very low temperatures in order to prevent it from turning into a gas. While liquid oxygen tanks are designed like a thermos to keep the internal temperature low, it’s inevitable that it will heat up over time, especially if you’re out in the hot sun. Over time, you will begin to lose oxygen from your liquid oxygen device even if you aren’t using it.
Portable oxygen concentrators like the Caire FreeStyle Comfort, on the other hand, are known for their reliability. In fact, back in August, we featured the FreeStyle Comfort as “the most reliable portable oxygen concentrator” ever produced. This is because it has the lowest failure rate of any POC on the market, meaning that, out of the box, it is less likely to have a defect than any other device like the Inogen One G5 or Respironics SimplyGo.
Another wonderful thing about the Caire FreeStyle Comfort — and portable oxygen concentrators in general — is that the vast majority of issues they have can be fixed on the fly. If you experience a glitch or the device isn’t working properly, a hard reset will typically fix the issue right away. We discuss how to perform a hard reset in this post, but if you have any problems either consult the user manual or reach out to our portable oxygen concentrator specialists at 1-(800) 946-1201.
Liquid oxygen tanks are very different from this. Since they aren’t electronic devices like POCs, you can’t simply restart them if they aren’t working properly. Liquid oxygen tanks are a very complex piece of equipment, and if you tamper with them you risk injuring yourself or further damaging the unit. In order to fix your problem, you’ll need to send it to an oxygen specialist and it could take days or weeks to get it back.
Liquid oxygen is considered to be the most expensive form of oxygen therapy. Some of the more popular portable liquid oxygen units like the HELiOS Plus will run you over a thousand dollars. And remember, you’ll also need to either have a home fill reservoir to fill your own portable units or you’ll have to go to an oxygen supplier regularly. These costs can add up really quickly and there’s a lot more that could go wrong.
On the other hand, the Caire FreeStyle Comfort requires no additional components aside from the battery. Since these batteries are rechargeable, you won’t have to keep investing in your oxygen therapy over time. Simply plug your device into any wall or car outlet and you can charge the battery all the way up.
Most people are very surprised to find just how easy it is to use the Caire FreeStyle Comfort. All you need to know how to do to get started is how to turn on the device, charge it, and adjust the flow settings. Any additional information about notifications, alarms, or warnings can be found in the user manual. However, with a liquid oxygen tank, not only will you need to know how to operate the portable unit, but you’ll also need to know how to refill it using the reservoir. This can be very time consuming and most people admit that it’s a pretty convoluted process.
The final reason to upgrade from liquid oxygen to the Caire FreeStyle Comfort is because of all the additional features you’ll get with the latter. The FreeStyle Comfort has something called CAIREview which is a free oxygen tracking application made by SynsorMed. By connecting your phone or computer to your POC, you’ll be able to see up-to-date information about your oxygen usage. Liquid oxygen tanks don’t offer any features like this.
Liquid oxygen tanks are a huge upgrade from traditional oxygen tanks. They’re lighter, smaller, safer, and hold a lot more oxygen. However, they offer few advantages over portable oxygen concentrators like the Caire FreeStyle Comfort. These oxygen machines enable you to have access to an infinite supply of oxygen no matter where you are in the world and they’re far more convenient and reliable than the alternative.
Despite what you read here, we here at LPT Medical encourage oxygen patients to take their time when choosing a supplemental oxygen device. Also, it’s important to be open with your doctor and understand exactly what your oxygen requirements are. If you’d like to learn more about portable oxygen concentrators, don’t hesitate to reach out to our respiratory specialists. You can reach us at 1-800-946-1201 or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.