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Comparison of pulsed versus continuous oxygen delivery using realistic adult nasal airway replicas

Authors Chen JZ, Katz IM, Pichelin M, Zhu K, Caillibotte G, Noga ML, Finlay WH, Martin AR

Received 17 May 2017

Accepted for publication 13 July 2017

Published 24 August 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 2559—2571

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S141976

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

John Z Chen,1 Ira M Katz,2 Marine Pichelin,2 Kaixian Zhu,3 Georges Caillibotte,2 Michelle L Noga,4 Warren H Finlay,1 Andrew R Martin1

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada; 2Medical R&D, Air Liquide Santé International, Centre de Recherche Paris-Saclay, Les Loges-en-Josas, 3Centre Explor!, Air Liquide Healthcare, Gentilly, France; 4Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Background: Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) typically include pulse flow (PF) modes to conserve oxygen. The primary aims of this study were to develop a predictive in vitro model for inhaled oxygen delivery using a set of realistic airway replicas, and to compare PF for a commercial POC with steady flow (SF) from a compressed oxygen cylinder.
Methods: Experiments were carried out using a stationary compressed oxygen cylinder, a POC, and 15 adult nasal airway replicas based on airway geometries derived from medical images. Oxygen delivery via nasal cannula was tested at PF settings of 2.0 and 6.0, and SF rates of 2.0 and 6.0 L/min. A test lung simulated three breathing patterns representative of a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patient at rest, during exercise, and while asleep. Volume-averaged fraction of inhaled oxygen (FiO2) was calculated by analyzing oxygen concentrations sampled at the exit of each replica and inhalation flow rates over time. POC pulse volumes were also measured using a commercial O2 conserver test system to attempt to predict FiO2 for PF.
Results: Relative volume-averaged FiO2 using PF ranged from 68% to 94% of SF values, increasing with breathing frequency and tidal volume. Three of 15 replicas failed to trigger the POC when used with the sleep breathing pattern at the 2.0 setting, and four of 15 replicas failed to trigger at the 6.0 setting. FiO2 values estimated from POC pulse characteristics followed similar trends but were lower than those derived from airway replica experiments.
Conclusion: For the POC tested, PF delivered similar, though consistently lower, volume-averaged FiO2 than SF rates equivalent to nominal PF settings. Assessment of PF oxygen delivery using POC pulse characteristics alone may be insufficient; testing using airway replicas is useful in identifying possible cases of failure and may provide a better assessment of FiO2.

Keywords: long term oxygen therapy (LTOT), ambulatory oxygen, portable oxygen concentrator (POC)

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