Oxygen Conserver FAQ’s
Oxygen conservers allow patients to carry smaller cylinders since the oxygen is pulsed to the patient on inhalation rather than offering a continuous flow of oxygen. The savings ratio stated with most conservers is based on a comparison to continuous flow use. For example, 3:1 savings means with the use of a pulse dose conserver the cylinder will last 3 times longer than when used in a continuous flow setting. This is ideal for conserving oxygen since the gas is needed only on inhalation. Continuous flow can be wasteful and costly.
Comparing Oxygen Conservers
Liquid oxygen cylinders usually have a conserver built-in, but also have many drawbacks. Compressed oxygen has evolved to become the standard for ambulatory oxygen. There are two types of oxygen conservers for use with compressed gas oxygen cylinders: pneumatic and electronic. Both types of conservers deliver a measured dose of oxygen on inhalation that is controlled using a rotary dial to set the size and frequency of doses. Both types of conservers also have a switch to choose pulse dose or continuous flow, although pulse dose settings are highly recommended. Patients should keep in mind how swiftly a tank can be depleted in continuous flow mode. Manufacturers' standard continuous flow setting is 2 lpm which will deliver approximately 1.5 hours when using an M6 tank. Pulse dose settings vary by manufacturer, but the standard is between 1 and 6 lpm at 1/2 liter increments.
An electronic oxygen conserver uses batteries - its internal function in measuring doses is electronic. Pneumatic conservers are mechanical, relying on the setting and pressure from the compressed gas to deliver measured doses. Electronic conservers and single lumen pneumatic conservers deliver a bolus of oxygen only at the onset of inhalation offering less opportunity for desaturation to occur, whereas dual lumen pneumatic conservers deliver the dose continuously across the inhalation period.
In the event the batteries expire (electronic conserver) or the conserver fails (electronic or pneumatic conservers) the conserver is not rendered useless, but automatically switches to continuous flow.
Single lumen conservers offer a single point of attachment for the oxygen tubing/cannula. Dual lumen conservers offer two points of attachment for two pieces of oxygen tubing (explained here). Most single lumen conservers are electronic, but that is not without exception. Single lumen pneumatic conservers mimic electronic conservers in that they provide a burst (bolus) of oxygen only at the beginning of inhalation. Dual lumen pneumatic conservers use two oxygen tubes, one tube connects to an oxygen delivery lumen which offers a burst but also continues oxygen delivery through the inspiratory period, the other tube connects to a sensing lumen that senses the end of the inspiratory period and stops the flow of oxygen.
What’s in a name? The oxygen conservers we carry are thoroughly tested for clinical accuracy, efficacy, efficiency, and reliability. Our most popular conserver is the DeVilbiss Pulse Dose Electronic Oxygen Conserver. However, we have solid confidence in each model we offer, and have rejected other models for lack of testing or quality assurance.