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Respiratory Equipment: Advancements in Oxygen Therapy Equipment

Advancements of Oxygen Therapy Equipment

Some people with chronic respiratory conditions need supplemental oxygen for life, while others need it temporarily until they recover from an acute (short-term) illness. You should follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Depending on your specific health needs, you may need oxygen therapy 24 hours a day. Or you might need extra oxygen only when you sleep or exercise. [1] There are many different types of oxygen devices you can use at home and on the go, and it can be overwhelming. [2]

Historically, patients diagnosed with conditions requiring oxygen therapy faced the cumbersome burden of traditional oxygen therapy equipment, including oxygen canisters and liquid oxygen technology. Due to their size and weight, cylinders are less convenient to carry without equipment.[3]  Additionally, people using traditional compressed or liquid oxygen are unable to travel by plane with their oxygen respiratory equipment.[4]  Thankfully, this traditional oxygen therapy equipment is no longer the only option for patients needing supplemental oxygen.

Since 2001, Inogen has been developing lightweight, portable oxygen concentrators, designed for the travel needs of our active patients and their lifestyle.   Evidence suggests that oxygen concentrator use where appropriate improves survival rates for respiratory ­conditions, improves mental attentiveness, increases stamina and improves mood. [1]  We are proud to say that our customers tell us our respiratory treatment devices do just that.

Inogen’s portable oxygen concentrators are lightweight, easy to carry , quiet, and have a user-friendly control interface.  They provide medical grade oxygen all day, every day, at home or away.  Learn more about our portable oxygen concentrators and how they may impact your life on oxygen.

Respiratory Equipment for Oxygen Therapy [1]

Oxygen comes in gas or liquid form. Oxygen systems may be large and stationary for home use, or small and portable.  Types of oxygen therapy delivery systems include:

  • Compressed gas: A large, metal cylinder stores 100% oxygen as a gas under pressure. The cylinder has a regulator to control the flow of oxygen. An oxygen-conserving device sends oxygen when you inhale and stops oxygen flow when you exhale. These tanks eventually run out of oxygen. A gauge shows the tank’s oxygen levels. When the tank is empty, an oxygen supplier replaces it. You should always have extra oxygen tanks on hand.
  • Liquid oxygen:A thermos-like container stores pure oxygen as a very cold liquid. When you release the oxygen, the liquid converts to a gas that you breathe in. The smaller container makes it portable for use outside the home.
  • Oxygen concentrators: This electric or battery-powered device pulls air from the room. It then separates and compresses oxygen from the air, while also removing nitrogen. You breathe in the purified air. With a concentrator, you’ll never run out of oxygen. Concentrators are the easiest portable system to travel with. And many models meet the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) acceptance criteria for POCs used onboard aircraft so you can even take them on planes.

 Depending on your medical condition and oxygen needs, you may get oxygen via a nasal cannula, face mask or tracheotomy tube surgically placed in your windpipe.

Choosing Your Oxygen Therapy Equipment

Your choice in oxygen therapy equipment involves input from your doctor, your oxygen prescription and an understanding of what you want most from your oxygen concentrator. The types of oxygen prescribed to you by your doctor are based on: how much supplemental oxygen your body needs, when you need the extra oxygen, your lifestyle and your insurance coverage. [2] There are a number of different things to consider when choosing an oxygen concentrator, including:  

Flow Rate and Settings:

Know the flow rates and settings you will need, as well as the kind of dosing your doctor recommends (continuous flow vs. pulse dosing) as that will narrow your choices of oxygen therapy devices.

Time Used:

The amount of time and frequency with which you will be using your oxygen concentrator each day will influence your choice.

Weight and Dimensions:

Consider the size and weight of your oxygen respiratory equipment, particularly if you intend to carry it with you frequently.

Battery Duration:

If you live an active lifestyle or travel frequently, consider the battery life offered in the supplemental oxygen delivery devices you consider.


Integrated technology for monitoring your oxygen therapy devices may be available from a supported mobile device with certain oxygen delivery systems.

Inogen’s Portfolio of Oxygen Therapy Equipment

Inogen currently offers oxygen therapy equipment to meet a variety of needs. Let’s take a closer look at how each of our oxygen concentrators, and complementary respiratory treatment devices, can suit different lifestyles and requirements.

Inogen One G5:

The Inogen One G5 offers six flow settings, three more than the Inogen One G4, making the Inogen One G5 a versatile POC for patients with higher oxygen requirements.  This model also features a long battery life, providing up to 6.5 hours of battery life on setting 2 with the single battery.  You can also check your oxygen use, and the function of your POC, by using Bluetooth on any supported device to connect with the Inogen Connect App.  For oxygen users looking for a variety of flow options or a long battery life, the Inogen One G5 may be the ideal choice.

Inogen One G4:

The Inogen One G4 is the most compact and lightweight Inogen One model available: with a single battery measuring less than 6” long, 2.7” wide and 7.2” high and weighing just 2.8 pounds.  With three flow settings and up to 2.7 hours of battery life on setting 2 with a single battery, the Inogen One G4 provides portability in a small package.   You can also take advantage of the Inogen Connect App to help you monitor your unit, even on the go. If you lead an active lifestyle and or prefer to use the lightest,  portable Inogen One model, the Inogen One G4 may be an excellent choice for you. 

Inogen One G3:

The Inogen One G3 offers five flow settings and up to 4.7 hours of battery life on setting 2 with a single battery, making it a solid choice for meeting your oxygen needs.   The Inogen One G3 weighs less 4.8 pounds and offers the same Intelligent Delivery Technology® and clinical validation for 24/7 use as the other Inogen One models.

Inogen At Home:

The Inogen At Home is our home oxygen concentrator, offering up to 5 liters per minute of continuous flow oxygen, while maintaining a quiet noise level, letting you watch tv or visit with friends with little noise disturbance. This stationary model is also extremely energy efficient, using just 100 watts of energy on setting 2.  The Inogen At Home is lightweight for a stationary model, weighing just 18 pounds, so you can move the Inogen at Home from room to room as needed.  If you need continuous flow oxygen, the Inogen At Home is the right oxygen concentrator for you.

For a quick comparison of the Inogen One models, check out our Inogen One Comparison Chart.

Common Respiratory Equipment Accessories

In order for your oxygen therapy devices to deliver oxygen to you, you will need other respiratory treatment devices to ensure you get the correct amount of oxygen. Here are the most common home oxygen therapy devices, as well as a brief explanation for why you might use each of them.

Nasal Cannula:

A nasal cannula is a flexible tube with two prongs that go inside the patient’s nostrils. Nasal cannulas offer the advantage of being significantly less intrusive, allowing patients to eat and speak during oxygen therapy. They are also more comfortable to wear since the cannula itself consists of just one small tube and two prongs inside your nostrils. The tubing can sit over your ears or at the back of the head, so you can adjust the fit in a number of different ways. [3]

Face Mask:

A portable oxygen mask is a plastic, rubber or silicone mask that sits over the top of both your nose and mouth with a strap around the back of your head. The mask’s efficiency relies on how well it fits. The mask itself can impede your ability to speak easily, and it is not possible to eat or drink while wearing an oxygen mask. For some patient it can be confining, making them feel claustrophobic with the mask on.  However, in some cases, using a portable oxygen mask is necessary. [3]

Trans-tracheal Oxygen Catheter:

Traditional oxygen is delivered by nasal cannula; however trans-tracheal oxygen therapy (TTOT) is the administration of oxygen directly into the trachea via a small, flexible, plastic catheter. It is intended only for patients requiring long-term, continuous oxygen therapy and is a scientifically validated alternative to oxygen delivered by nasal prongs. [3]

Oxygen Regulator:

A regulator is attached to the oxygen tank’s top and works like a tap, allowing the safe adjustment of oxygen flow rate provided, in LPM.  When the tap is manually opened, the oxygen takes the line of least resistance to the patient via an oxygen delivery device (e.g. tube with a mask or nasal cannula). A pressure reading (barometer) displays the remaining oxygen pressure in the cylinder, to estimate the amount of oxygen available for supply. [3]

Oxygen-Conserving Device

Some people will use a conserver device, which delivers oxygen in “pulses,” or bursts, when you inhale. This type of device helps you use less oxygen, but it is not right for everyone. Ask your doctor if using a “pulse flow” is right for you. [2]

For the majority of home oxygen therapy patients, standard nasal cannulas are most common as they are more comfortable and less intrusive than an oxygen mask. Regular nasal cannulas are preferred for patients using between 1-6 liters of oxygen per minute on their respiratory treatment devices. Oxygen masks are generally reserved for high flow rates or for patients who struggle with carbon dioxide retention.[3] Your doctor will decide which oxygen therapy equipment is right for you.

If you and your doctor decide an oxygen concentrator is an option for your supplemental oxygen, Inogen has a device capable of continuous use in a home, institution, vehicle and various mobile environments.   Find out why customers are so happy with Inogen products and contact us for more information today.


  1. Supplemental Oxygen Therapy: Types, Benefits & Complications (clevelandclinic.org) https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/23194-oxygen-therapy
  2. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-procedures-and-tests/oxygen-therapy/things-to-know-when-using-oxygen
  3. Oxygen devices and delivery systems – PMC (nih.gov)
  4. https://www.faa.gov/hazmat/packsafe/oxygen-compressed-or-liquid
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