Portable concentrator lightens load

Monday, October 31, 2005

BUFFALO, N.Y. - AirSep's FreeStyle portable concentrator, which the company debuted as a prototype at last year's Medtrade, officially went on sale last month.
The FreeStyle weighs in at a hair under 4.5 pounds and should be appropriate for 80% of the ambulatory oxygen population," said company President Joe Priest.
Priest and other proponents of portable oxygen concentrators believe this modality is the future of ambulatory oxygen, destined to dominate that market segment much like the stationary concentrator has dominated home use. Not only do portable concentrators cut down on provider deliveries, they also offer patients unlimited ambulation, say Priest and other POC manufacturers.
The FreeStyle is worn over the shoulder, has a three-liter equivalent flow and comes with a two-plus hour internal battery and a four-hour battery belt that attaches to the unit. It can plug into a car cigarette lighter, airplane outlets and outlets in countries around the world, Priest said.
Like other high-tech respiratory equipment, POCs often give providers sticker shock, but the payoff quickly becomes evident, supporters say.
"One cylinder and a conserving device will be less expensive than a portable concentrator, but as soon as you start adding in deliveries, this product will pay for itself probably in well under a year," Priest said.