What are the classifications of oxygen therapy?

Oxygen gas
Oxygen gas can be stored in a portable tank. These are called compressed gas systems. A larger stationary concentrator is used within the home, and a smaller oxygen tank can be taken to use outside the home. The smaller tanks might be used along with oxygen-conserving devices so that the oxygen supply lasts longer. The oxygen is delivered in pulses, not continuously.

Liquid oxygen
Liquid oxygen also can be stored in a portable tank. Liquid oxygen is more highly concentrated, so more oxygen can fit in a smaller tank. This is helpful for people who are very active, but it will evaporate if it isn’t used in a timely manner. These tanks are refillable.

Both liquid oxygen and oxygen gas are available for home delivery in many locations.

Oxygen concentrators
Oxygen concentrators are less portable than the other options. An oxygen concentrator is a device that takes oxygen from the room, concentrates it for therapeutic use, and removes other naturally occurring gases. The benefits of concentrators are that they are less expensive and don’t require filling like tanks. Portable versions are available. However, most models are too large to be truly portable.

Oxygen is distributed from the tank through a tube. It enters the lungs through nasal tubes, a face mask, or a tube inserted directly into the person’s windpipe.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is unlike the other methods of oxygen therapy. People will breathe in pure oxygen in a pressurized room or chamber. In the hyperbaric chambers, the air pressure is increased to three or four times the normal air pressure levels. This increases the amount of oxygen delivered to the body’s tissue. This type of oxygen delivery is often used to treat wounds, serious infections, or bubbles of air in your blood vessels. Hyperbaric therapy should be carried out carefully so that blood oxygen levels don’t become too high.