Oxygen Tank Sizes and Accessories

The use of oxygen tanks allows patients that use supplemental oxygen more freedom to move around as they please, when traveling or working outdoors.   There are a couple of different names that are used in order to differentiate between oxygen tank sizes. The standard set involves the use of an alphabetical system, beginning with an A when referring to the smaller oxygen tank sizes and the letter E for the largest size.  The new type of naming system that’s used begins with the letter M, which stands for medical, and is followed by a number that is designed to signify the amount of cubic feet of oxygen that’s able to be compressed into the tank.  So the standard B cylinder is currently referred to as the M-6 tank because it’s able to contain six cubic feet of O2.

How to Determine Which Tank Size is needed

The best size will depend on the patient’s lifestyle, in addition to the flow rate that’s prescribed by the ordering physician. The most commonly prescribed size is the M-6.  If a patient is confined to a wheelchair, the larger model known as the E tank, in conjunction with the wheelchair bag, can be more appropriate.  If the patient only leaves the house for a short period of time and the weight of the tank is an issue, the smaller M-4 model tanks can be a better fit.

In order to determine how long a tank will last, there are a few factors to consider.  These factors will include the LPM, the capacity of the tank and whether the tank will be used as a conserver or a regulator.  The regulator will provide the user with a continuous flow at a determined flow rate.  Most of the conservers will allow the tanks to last four to six times longer, but are often ten times as expensive as a regulator and the purchaser will not be reimbursed by an insurance company so they aren’t usually worth the price tag.

Accessories you’ll need for Portable Concentrators

Once you decide on the type of tank to purchase every patient should be supplied with a no smoking sign and a cylinder wrench. It’s recommended that a sign be posted at every entrance in the home and every room.  If you purchase a portable tank, a cart or a carrier bag is recommended. The most common sizes will range from the M-6, up to E. These bags will often have straps included that are designed to hold a tank in place.  One of the other essential accessories that’s needed is a conserver or a regulator. When you select one of these options you’ll need to keep in mind that there are a couple of different main valves that are used on the larger tanks. This means you’ll want to choose the type of conserver or regulator that matches the style of the valve.

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