Some customers have issues desaturating with the system. This is a bit tricky because there are several possible issues including the customers physiology. This process checks for every possible system failure, and provides a subjective test for tricky users.
There are a handful of issues that may make a new user think LiveO2 isn’t working properly because a pulse oximeter does not readily show a decrease in oxygen concentration in the blood while using ‑O2. This often leaves the user wondering what is happening…
This guide is intended to help you sort out if the issue is a problem with the system or unique to the physiology of the user.
If the issue is with LiveO2, it’s easy to detect and correct the problems. When the issue is part of the user physiology — It’s more difficult to understand but still easy to test.
The list below is all of the possible reasons we’ve ever encountered why a user could not desaturate.…
The oxygen flow meter should be set to 10 LPM or maybe slightly above. Some new users will open the oxygen flow to maximum and the ball will be at the complete top of the oxygen flow range. This error will also cause the air separator to display an amber light that will never go off.
This pushes so much air through the air separator that both the oxygen concentration in +O2 is low, and the oxygen concentration in the ‑O2 is high. The extra oxygen at the ‑O2 setting often prevents users from desaturating.
Many new LiveO2 users have metabolic issues that interfere with blood gas exchange. There are three common dysfunctions:
- Capillary shunting. These users exhibit unusually high O2 saturation levels because issues flow restrictions in capillary beds shunt blood around tissue. Oxygen levels remain high because oxygen never reaches tissue and is under used.
- Nutrient deficiencies. The body requires sufficient amounts of B‑vitamins to effect gas transfer to the tissue. Deficiencies inhibit transfer and may inhibit the ability to saturate or desaturate.
- Carbon Monoxide. Carbon monoxide has a higher affinity for hemoglobin than oxygen, and may be due to environmental exposure or internally generated as a result of dysfunctional cellular respiration. Pulse oximeters cannot distinguish blood carrying carbon monoxide from blood saturated with oxygen. Users with carbon monoxide will not desaturate. Pubmed Article Here
These issues often happen together. Each element reduces the user’s apparent ability to desaturate as read by a pulse oximeter.
- Shunting prevents oxygen from leaving the blood
- Nutrient deficiencies prevent oxygen from leaving the blood
- Carbon monoxide and oxygen are indistinguishable by a pulse oximeter.
But… No matter how these factors interfere with the pulse oximeter there is a very effective test.
The users will feel the ‑O2 challenge. Inefficient respiration makes users very sensitive to reduced oxygen levels. That leads us to…
The simplest test for a new user
If your users feel extra difficulty on the ‑O2 setting then this is a strong and reliable indicator that the system is working properly.
Most users will slow down on ‑O2 and speed up on +O2. Users with compromised respiration will quickly notice the decrease in oxygen from 75% to 14%.
#3: Ripped breather hose
This occurs when the breather hose is pulled so hard the membrane between the ribs rips and allows room air to leak in when the user inhales.
This leak allows room air to dilute both the +O2 and ‑O2 air which inhibits both oxygen saturation and oxygen desaturation.
The best way to test this is to carefully inspect the hose to assure the membrane between the ribs is intact for the entire length of the hose.
Tutorial: Inspect and replace a damaged breather hose
If you doubt your inspection, remove the breather hose from the reservoir and plug one end with your thumb. Air should not escape when you blow air in from the unplugged end.
If air escapes or you find a tear you will need to replace the breather hose.
#4: Failed Air Separator
Each air separator has an internal tester to assures air is separated into oxygen rich, +O2, over 75% and oxygen reduced, ‑O2 mixtures, below 16%.
This is the amber light tester assures that oxygen is at least 75% pure. At a 10 LPM flow rate, it also assures that the ‑O2 level is less than 16%.
This test allows LiveO2 users to know their system is always working without need for repeated testing. We test all air separators before shipping, but they can fail over time, and sometimes during transport.
When an air separator fails, the amber light glows like in the image below. If you see this then go to the amber light diagnostic.
#5: Failed Valve
This one is very rare.
Switches between +O2 and ‑O2 should cause distinct and audible latch as the valve locks into the opposite position. This latch mechanism assures three things:
- The mechanical components of the valve are working properly each time the user switches;
- The valve fully switched between ‑O2 and +O2 air to disallow mixing inside the valve;
- The valve is internally sealed.
If you there is no distinct latch. Please contact customer service.
#6: Internal Reservoir Leak
If you are still having problems disconnect the breather hose and insert it into the overflow release port.
This isolates the air supply to only ‑O2 bypassing the oxygen reservoir and valve. Exercise breathing this air. If you desaturate with this configuration differently than on the ‑O2 setting please contact customer service.
All else fails Order a Tester
Contact support and we can provide a separate oxygen tester which will enable you to test the actual output of oxygen from the reservoir at the mask.
We put this last because every air separator has a built in tester which is continuously tests the oxygen level created by the air separator. This built in tester continuously assures proper oxygen concentration.
Our support department can optionally provide an oxygen tester to confirm the levels are correct as delivered to the mask. Oxygen Test Meter Deposit