FlexO2 is a patented, certified and medically classed product. The trusted device was developed with the patients’ interests at its core, giving them freedom to breathe.

How it all started

The story of FlexO2 started, like so many great innovations, with a problem. 

Bengt Hansson, a medtech engineer from the south of Sweden, was in a meeting with the oxygen nurse and the pulmonologist at the hospital, discussing the treatment of a patient we call Sven. Sven needed oxygen therapy at home and as a consequence of not being able to regulate the oxygen flow himself, he was completely dependent on his family and healthcare staff. He felt like a prisoner in his own home and being so dependent on others made him feel helpless and frustrated. Sven had been very active in the past and still wanted to do a lot around the house but whilst he was trying hard, most of the time it ended with him feeling exhausted and he often had nasty falls, resulting in ambulance rides and spending days in the hospital.

“Hearing about Sven’s situation became the starting point.” says Bengt. “We ran some initial tests and discovered that the oxygen flow level that Sven needed, during activity and rest respectively, were very different. This meant that not just Sven but also Sven’s wife became very restricted, as she needed to be at hand at all times to help with changing the oxygen levels on the oxygen concentrator. This was because when Sven stood up to go to the compressor and change the flow, he frequently tripped. It was also difficult, for both of them, to get an accurate dosage for every time.”

What Sven needed was some sort of control device that he could keep on his person which he could use to control the flow himself. Bengt was initially convinced that there would be such a product already available, but after searching for a while it became clear to him that there was none.

“I set about constructing a unit consisting of various valves and couplings available on the market and mounted them in a box. The device was bulky, it weighed more than 200 grams, but Sven could now change the dose himself depending on the activity.” continues Bengt.

“The change was almost instant. Sven told me that the device was the best thing that had happened to him since the births of his children! Sven’s wife was also pleased. She could now cycle to the shops and leave Sven at home, without having to organise for someone to look after him. His new-found independence also meant independence for her. She told me it felt like she had got her life back.”

– Bengt Hansson

Bengt was asked to construct more of his “home-made” devices by other patients and the results were equally encouraging. This spurred Bengt on to develop the product further into an approved medical device. In order to do so, he linked up with Pär Andersson, a medtech entrepreneur, and Kjell Henriksson, an industrial designer and product development specialist. The company now had three owners.

The weight and “clunkiness” of the original device was an issue that needed to be dealt with, and Kjell set about creating a design that was technically and functionally optimised and that would be ergonomic, tactile, light and attractive.

“It was important to me that the product should be light, easy to use, and have a rounded design with no sharp edges,” says Kjell. “ Before FlexO2, patients would often carry the weight of the long tube going to the oxygen concentrator on their ears, so I used a lanyard to hold the FlexO2 device, and the tube attached to it in.” continues Kjell.

“The colour of the FlexO2 device is also carefully selected to one that blends in with many others, making the product discrete against the patient’s clothes.”

Our future

Since our beginnings FlexO2 has gone from strength to strength. A clinical study has been completed at Karolinska University Hospital with very positive results. In fact almost half of the patients taking part in the study chose to drop out when they were going to go for three months without the product. Their lives had changed so much for the better, they couldn’t face being without FlexO2! 

The trusted product is certified according to MDD class IIa 93/42/EEC and is CE-marked CE0402. FlexO2 holds patents across Europe, Australia and the USA. Our network of distributors is growing, and an increasing number of patients experience the benefits of having the FlexO2 device.

In 2019, our company expanded and two new board members and owners came on board; Nils Blomén, Business Developer, and Tobias Andersson, Medical Doctor.

Most recently, Peter Hagström, Head of Sales and Emma Jones, Strategic Communications Adviser, have joined our team.

The feedback we receive from patients using FlexO2 is very positive and it encourages us to keep working to bring the product to more patient groups in more countries across the globe. We believe that no patient suffering from respiratory illness should feel like prisoners in their own homes, helpless or to have to depend on others. We are committed to improving their quality of life, giving them “freedom to breathe”.