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What is the Difference Between Pulse and Continuous Flow Concentrators

When selecting and purchasing an oxygen concentrator, you may find that there are two operating modes of the oxygen concentrator. One is continuous oxygen supply mode, and the other is pulse oxygen supply mode. This may confuse people who need to buy an oxygen concentrator, as to which oxygen concentrator is more suitable for them. It is very important for customers who need oxygen therapy to fully understand the working modes of these two oxygen concentrators.

What is a pulse oxygen concentrator?

    The pulse oxygen supply mode is currently mainly used in portable oxygen concentrators on the market. This oxygen supply mode improves the utilization rate of oxygen. In the process of use, it can automatically detect your breathing, according to the changes in flow and pressure during your breathing, oxygen is provided when you inhale, and it is turned off when you exhale to realize pulse oxygen supply.

What is a continuous flow oxygen concentrator?

    The continuous oxygen supply mode can provide patients with a stable oxygen flow. In contrast to pulse oxygen supply, whether we inhale or not, the oxygen concentrator will always provide oxygen flow. The desktop oxygen concentrators on the market all adopt the continuous oxygen supply mode. This mode is suitable for use when the frequency of sleep at night is not high.

    Due to the difference between the two oxygen supply modes, the oxygen utilization rates of the two are not the same. Pulse oxygen supply provides oxygen based on changes in the respiratory rate, and continuous oxygen supply provides oxygen at a constant rate. In continuous oxygen supply mode, if you set the oxygen concentrator's rate of one liter of oxygen flow per minute, you actually don’t inhale one liter of oxygen, because you still have time to breathe, so the time for you to inhale oxygen is almost the same half of it. So in the case of a fixed one liter of oxygen supply, you are not breathing one liter of oxygen, but 0.5 liters or less. Pulse oxygen supply is more complicated. It uses the advanced technology of the oxygen concentrator to deliver oxygen according to your breathing rate. It monitors your breathing, provides oxygen when you inhale air, and stops oxygen when you exhale. This mode can make good use of oxygen and help us provide an appropriate amount of oxygen in our daily activities.

    According to actual measurement, the energy consumption of pulse oxygen supply is 1/6 of that of continuous oxygen supply, and it is completely sufficient for people with mild to moderate hypoxia.

    Due to the difference between the two oxygen generation modes, the measurement methods of their oxygen concentration are also different. Under continuous oxygen supply, these continuous oxygen concentrators will deliver the same amount of oxygen through the cannula regardless of whether the patient is breathing or not. This continuous flow of oxygen delivery allows the flow rate to be measured at a constant volume of LPM (liters per minute). In pulse oxygen supply, oxygen is distributed only when the machine senses inhalation, and the unit of pulse delivery is ml/breath. Therefore, when measuring the oxygen concentration rate, it needs to be tested in the inhalation state.


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Charles - mai 9, 2022

Can the charge wire be left on at all times, in use or not?

Russ Ulter - mai 9, 2022

You mention that the unit of delivery measurement for Pulse mode is ml/breath which, as I understand it, is the true measure of what a pulse generator can deliver. I have been unable to find specs (a user manual?) for the NT-01 that provide this information and the maximum delivery based on 20 breaths per minute – similar to below:

Setting 1 = 12 ml per pulse/breath; Setting 2 = 24 ml; 3 = 36 ml; 4 = 48 ml;
5 = 60 ml; 6 = 72 ml; +/- 15% or 4 ml, whichever is greater (Average of 20
consecutive breaths)……UP TO A MAX OF 2000ML/MINUTE

I need this information to determine whether your NT-01unit can truly meet my needs.

Thank you

Cheryl Taylor - décembre 1, 2021

How long is the battery life before it has to be charged. Is this qualify for airplane travel

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