Home oxygen therapy
Home oxygen therapy involves breathing air that has more oxygen than usual through a tube or mask connected to a machine in your home.
Who benefits from home oxygen therapy?
People who don’t have enough blood oxygen require home oxygen therapy, and people with the following conditions:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Heart failure
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Cystic fibrosis
- Breathing problems, a combination of obesity and an underlying condition
- Feeling tired or exhausted all the time
- Memory loss or problems
Home oxygen therapy usage
The primary ways are:
- A mask over your mouth and nose
- Short tubes in your nostrils (nasal cannula)
Some might need a tracheostomy, a tube into a surgical opening neck front, or a tube inside the mouth down the windpipe.
There are three types of devices:
- An oxygen concentrator
- Large oxygen cylinders
- Portable cylinders
An engineer will help to install the device and explain the safe way to use them.
Oxygen concentrator machine
The doctor will recommend the machine if you require oxygen daily and at night while sleeping. The device will be about the size of a home printer.
Large oxygen cylinders
The doctor will recommend the machine if you require oxygen for a short time; for example, if you need sudden relief periods of breathlessness.
Portable oxygen cylinders
The portable oxygen cylinder or ambulatory oxygen weighs around 2kg and will be small enough to fit inside a backpack. The cylinder holds just under 2 hours’ worth of oxygen, but the portable oxygen cylinder is not suitable for everyone.
Home oxygen therapy precautions
- Make sure your smoke detectors and fire alarm are working.
- Inform your local fire unit about your home oxygen therapy.
- Keep the device at least three meters away from other appliances that use an open flame
- Keep the machine at least two meters away from other electrical appliances
- Don’t smoke or let anyone smoke near the device
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022