Know when Home Oxygen Therapy is indicated
Oxygen is an essential element for human beings. However, some people need equipment to get the amount needed for the proper functioning of the body. They often use devices at home that help them achieve the optimal level of oxygen in their bodies. Learn more about oxygen therapy at home.
When is home oxygen therapy indicated?
Oxygen therapy is the inhalation of oxygen-enriched air to correct hypoxemia (a lack of oxygen in the blood) when it is severe. Hypoxemia is severe when:
- Arterial oxygen pressure (PaO²) is less than 55 mm Hg; or
- Blood oxygen pressure (PaO²) is between 55 and 60 mm Hg and is associated with cardiac complications.
We have mentioned some conditions below, which can cause your body to lack oxygen and consequently generate the need for “extra” oxygen to stay healthy and active.
|Chronic bronchitis||Limited airflow and inflamed airways in the lungs can produce excess mucus, causing coughing and shortness of breath. Smoking is the most common cause.|
|Emphysema||It damages the alveoli (alveoli) of the lungs. Enlarged air sacs in the lungs do not allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to enter and leave the lungs into the bloodstream. Long-term progressive disease that primarily causes shortness of breath.|
|Neuromuscular conditions||A broad term that encompasses many diseases that can impair muscle function. This can interfere with your diaphragm's signals and its proper functioning, which can cause difficulty breathing.|
|Heart problems||This can interfere with the proper pumping of blood to and from the lungs, which can make breathing difficult.|
The lack of oxygen can bring limitations to the individual's daily life, making even the simplest activities difficult, such as walking and climbing stairs. Therefore, in some cases, it is necessary to resort to oxygen therapy, which provides a better quality of life.
Among the diseases that require the use of oxygen at home, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the most common lung disease. In addition, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, cystic fibrosis and even asthma can generate the need for oxygen therapy.
How do I get oxygen at home?
VitalAire accompanies patients from the beginning of treatment, informing them about the pathology and the routine prescribed for them, familiarizing them with the equipment, giving advice on its use, maintenance and introduction of hygiene and safety standards.
- We coordinate all the preparations for your therapy from the beginning;
- We can provide oxygen for you back from the hospital and make sure everything is ready for your arrival home;
- We show you and your family how to use the equipment and answer all your questions.
Our goal is to address your concerns and make you feel confident about using oxygen at home.
How do I use oxygen in everyday life?Over the years, oxygen devices have evolved and become more discreet, smaller and lighter, which makes it easier to integrate it into your routine. What's more, using it on a daily basis can not only prolong your life, but also increase your well-being. At first it can be challenging, but you will soon appreciate the benefits it brings.
After a while of use, you adapt to the oxygen equipment in your home, and if you have a portable unit, you can leave the house too. Start with a short trip and build up to longer periods as you feel more comfortable.
How does oxygen therapy work?
Oxygen concentrators are electrical devices that filter the air to leave only oxygen. Oxygen cylinders contain oxygen under pressure to hold a larger volume of gas. There are three main types of oxygen equipment:
- Stationary oxygen concentrators: they take oxygen from the environment, work only with a connection to an electrical energy source and have a high concentration capacity;
- Portable oxygen concentrators: they take oxygen from the environment, work with energy from rechargeable batteries, so they have a low concentration capacity. They are ideal for use outside the home, during a walk or family outing;
- Oxygen cylinders: deliver pure oxygen to patients, taken from their previously filled reservoirs. Larger cylinders are not recommended for transport, so they are better suited for home use.
Whichever system is used, oxygen is normally delivered to the nose by cannula or oxygen catheter . Stationary Oxygen Concentrators have a flexible extension fit that allows you to move while staying connected to the oxygen supply. All of these devices provide the extra oxygen you need throughout the day.
1. Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy Trial Group. Continuous or nocturnal oxygen therapy in hypoxemic chronic obstructive lung disease: a clinical trial. Ann Intern Med 1980; 93: 391-398
2 Report of the Medical Research Council Working Party. Long-term domiciliary oxygen therapy in chronic hypoxic cor pulmonale complicating chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Lancet 1981; 1: 681-686