Home oxygen therapy

What is long-term oxygen therapy?

This involves administering oxygen at a higher concentration than the oxygen in the air around us (21 %) to treat hypoxia or a lack of oxygen in the body’s tissues. Long-term oxygen therapy is completely different to oxygen therapy in an acute setting. The first can be administered at home, while the second takes place when the patient is hospitalised.

There are different oxygen delivery systems available for oxygen therapy. The prescribing clinician will determine the type of system and accessories to use, the oxygen flow rate and the treatment time. All of these systems administer oxygen through a mask or a nasal cannula. OXIGEN salud brings the equipment and the consumables prescribed to the patient’s home.

What types of treatment are available?

Oxygen cylinders

This is the traditional system for supplying oxygen at home, using high-pressure steel cylinders. OXIGEN salud can adapt the supply frequency to the patient’s needs.

Currently, oxygen cylinders are only used as an emergency system, when there is a fault with the usual oxygen source or the electricity supply, when the usual oxygen source is empty, or when the liquid oxygen system is not enough.


These are electrical medical devices that separate oxygen from the air. They can be stationary (home concentrator) or portable, the latter providing greater freedom and movement for the patient.

OXIGEN salud works with the most reputable concentrator manufacturers and carries out regular checks on all equipment.

Liquid oxygen systems

Large quantities of oxygen can be stored when it is kept at low temperatures. Before being administered to the patient, medical liquid oxygen is warmed up to room temperature inside the system and vaporises into a gas. OXIGEN salud can provide this system in a stationary cryogenic container and a refillable portable unit, which gives the patient more mobility.

Table summarising the characteristics of the different oxygen therapy systems

Source Advantages Disadvantages
Oxygen cylinder Low cost Limited mobility
Frequent replacement
Home oxygen concentrator Low cost
Easy to use
Electricity consumption
Regular checks
Portable oxygen concentrator Lightweight
Small size
Can be charged anywhere (even in a car)
Accepted on flights
Pulse-flow option (1–6 pulses)
Continuous-flow option
Not very effective at high flow rates
Can not usually exceed 3–5 l/min
Liquid oxygen No noise
No electricity consumption
100% concentration
Limited mobility
Frequent replacement
Liquid oxygen backpack Lightweight
Small size
Lasts 4–8 hours depending on the flow rate
Pulse-flow option (1.5–5 pulses)
Continuous-flow option

Oxygen delivery devices

Nasal cannula: this device consists of a plastic cannula with two prongs that fit into the nostrils, hook around the ears and come together under the chin. This is the most comfortable and commonly used method, as it allows the patient to eat, drink, expectorate and speak without needing to take it off.

Simple face mask: this device covers the face from the nose to the chin and has holes in the sides so that the exhaled air can be expelled. It allows for higher concentrations of oxygen than the nasal cannula. However, it can be uncomfortable, as it interferes with eating and washing, and it may move during sleep.

Nasal cannula with reservoir: unlike the ordinary nasal cannula, this device is used with a continuous-flow system and is useful when a high flow rate is needed. It is rarely used in day-to-day clinical practice.

Oxygen therapy precautions and recommendations

  • Do not smoke while oxygen is being administered.
  • Do not try to fill an oxygen source with a full oxygen source. This is highly dangerous.
  • Never allow oily products (ointments, creams, oils, vaselines) to come into contact with the oxygen, as they are inflammable.
  • Do not use any device that gives off sparks in the room where the oxygen is administered.
  • The oxygen should be kept around 10 cm away from the wall, curtains or furniture.
  • The doctor’s instructions must be followed closely. Do not change the amount of oxygen without the doctor’s authorisation.
  • Keep the rooms where oxygen is being used ventilated. Do not store the oxygen underground or in a place without ventilation.
  • Do not interfere with or try to repair the oxygen equipment.
  • Do not administer oxygen near a heat source (cookers, fireplaces, electric radiators, gas heaters, kerosene stoves, etc.).
  • Make sure the oxygen is placed on a flat surface where it is not in anyone’s way.
  • Do not use the oxygen as compressed air to inflate balloons, balls or tyres.

Home oxygen therapy resources

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Oxygen therapy equipment and materials

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Static oxygen concentrator

Static oxygen concentrator

Portable oxygen concentrator

Portable oxygen concentrator

Oxygen resuscitation case

Oxygen resuscitation case

Management devices

Management devices

Filters and accessories

Filters and accessories

Cleaning and disinfection

Cleaning and disinfection

Other home respiratory therapies

Aerosol therapy

It is a therapy that delivers medicines by inhaling so that they quickly reach the lungs.
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Obstructive sleep apnoea

OSA is the most frequent sleep-related breathing disorder.
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Airway suctioning

Some conditions cause the accumulation of secretions that the patient is unable to cough up.
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Airway clearance

Therapy for patients unable to expel their pulmonary secretions.
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Chest physiotherapy

Interdisciplinary intervention and fundamental clinical treatment of some patients with respiratory diseases.
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Home apnoea monitor for babies

Prevention method of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
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Pulse Oximetry

Pulse oximetry measures oxygen saturation in haemoglobin, that is, the amount of oxygen the blood carries.
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Mechanical ventilation

A treatment that mechanically assists or substitutes the breathing of the patient through electromedical ventilators.
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Other therapies

OXIGEN salud also offers other therapies like carboxytherapy, heliotherapy, etc.
Learn more

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