• This is from Alvin Grancell, My prayer for today.....
    God, grant me the senility
    To forget the people I never liked anyway,
    The good fortune
    To run into the ones I do,
    And the eyesight
    To tell the difference.
  • A very exceptional gift for the Chair has been made by John and Alice Moore. Please accept the thanks of all of us!
  • More mail,
    John writes, "Will moving from sea level to 1400 feet make my breathing worse? The air seems much better up there. If the altitude does bother me, will I adjust with time?"
  • Good question, John, and one we hear often. The first thing you should do is ask the opinion of your pulmonologist, who knows your general condition. There are many things that need to be taken into consideration, such as the oxygen level of your blood. In any case, before putting yourself through a move, it would be wise to spend several weeks or a month in that area to see how you feel in general. It takes about one week to adjust to altitude. However, those with respiratory problems may find that they feel better moving to a lower elevation rather than a higher one. You probably will hear that an altitude of 1400 feet is not significant but, on a practical level, I've had several patients tell me that they were uncomfortable when they moved. Everyone is unique. Your oxygen saturations at altitude are what are of concern. You will want to make sure that you stay above 90% (or higher if your doctor so recommends) even with exercise. This may require putting you on supplemental oxygen.
  • Speaking of oxygen, we received a call from someone who felt that liquid oxygen was superior to oxygen that comes from a concentrator. We turned this question over to Craig Murga, Center Manager of Lincare in Torrance. Here is Craig's response.
  • There is no difference in the oxygen itself that is delivered to you by a concentrator, compressed gas, or a liquid system. What may cause a problem is equipment that is improperly maintained by the supplier.
  • Concentrator devices have improved considerably over the last decade and are extremely reliable sources of oxygen. Many of the problems we saw with concentrators in the past are no longer an issue today.
  • One of the problems we used to commonly see was inaccuracy of flow-lock style flowmeters. This type of flowmeter can be identified as a turn-style dial with the liter flow represented by a number. Over time these flow meters had a tendency to clog up and give an inaccurate reading. This is easily detected if the oxygen company's service personal checks the reading independently, with a calibrated flowmeter.
  • Most manufactures currently use a Thorpe tube flowmeter to set the flow rate. This flowmeter as a clear hollow tube with a black ball floating to the desired liter flow setting. This type of flowmeter is very accurate. If it does fail, it happens over a long period of time. Also, a failure only occurs with an increased flow rate. It is easily detected because the black ball becomes blurry and hard to read.
  • Normally, concentrators deliver a purity of 92-96% oxygen, while liquid or cylinder oxygen is delivered with 99% purity. This difference in purity is so insignificant that oximeter devices can not detect the change..
  • Concentrators require routine maintenance to make sure they operate properly. Typically, the oxygen company is responsible for this service, which includes the changing of internal filters, internal component service, and checking the purity with an oxygen analyzer. Most concentrators require routine checks every 3 months, but some of the newer systems allow oxygen companies to go as long as annually between service. Maybe it just my conservative nature, but I do not feel allowing that much time to transpire between services is appropriate. Every 3 months is not too much to ask of your supplier.
  • The FDA limits the minimum purity of oxygen for concentrators at 85% or lower. Most oxygen suppliers will change out systems delivering between 87%-89%, for safety reasons. If your company doesn't write down the purity on the service record they leave with you, ask him/her for the reading. You should not have any apprehensions about asking for this reading. After all, this is just good consumer awareness.
  • Craig will continue this article next month. Be sure to watch for it.