Oxygen concentrators, Everything you need to know about it.
Let us understand all about oxygen concentrators and the basic tips that one should consider, before buying and using it.
With the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic wreaking in United States, oxygen concentrators are in high demand, as they are considered as a life-saving equipment for patients with breathing difficulties. Oxygen concentrators are now the most wanted medical device in the United States and around the world, as it can help COVID-19 patients, when their oxygen levels drop and oxygen cylinders are in severe short supply.
Very Important to Know What should be your normal blood oxygen level?
Different methods are used, to measure the blood oxygen levels. Blood testing and pulse-oximeter monitoring, are the common means to estimate oxygen saturation levels. Oxygen saturation (SpO2) that is the amount of oxygen in the blood for adults, should be 95% to 100%. A SpO2 level below 90% is known as ‘hypoxemia’. For patients who have chronic lung conditions and other breathing problems, the normal SpO2 range of 95% to 100% does not apply. Such individuals should consult with their physician, to determine the acceptable oxygen levels for their unique state of health. If the blood oxygen saturation level is below 80%, then, it may impair the functioning of the heart and brain, which could lead to respiratory failure or cardiac arrest.
Oxygen concentrators are meant to provide oxygen for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and in higher concentrations, for chronic hypoxemia and pulmonary edema.
However, not all COVID-19 patients need oxygen, points out CDC, consultant your doctor for a complete diagnosis. “Some COVID-19 patients experience shortness of breath and oxygen deprivation. Patients with fluctuating oxygen levels may require hospitalization. The SARS-COV-2 virus can cause inflammation in the lungs that impacts the supply of oxygenated blood in the body. In such cases, the use of oxygen concentrators can raise the oxygen levels.
What is an oxygen concentrator?
Air is made up of 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. An oxygen concentrator works by absorbing the oxygen from the air and filtering out the nitrogen. It concentrates the oxygen, which is then dispensed through a pressure valve that regulates the flow to the nasal cannula. An oxygen concentrator cuts down the need for constant refilling oxygen cylinders, as it draws oxygen from the surrounding air.
Should you buy or rent oxygen concentrator for home?
Although blood oxygen levels below 90% are considered as concerning, experts maintain that not all cases of oxygen imbalance require intensive care support or hospitalization. Mild cases can be managed with oxygen concentrators, under proper guidance from a doctor, especially at a time when securing hospital access is difficult. Nevertheless, an oxygen concentrator is also no substitute for situations where hospitalization is necessary. If a patient requires more than five liters of oxygen per minute, then, he/she needs to be medically supervised.
An oxygen concentrator is prescribed as a temporary respite or stop-gap till hospitalization or to aid recovery at home for patients with low oxygen levels, depending on the patients’ health. Use of oxygen therapy at home can help raise oxygen levels. It is compulsory to have a doctor’s approval to use the device and should be used only as advised. An oxygen concentrator can help in those critical hours, between oxygen levels dropping and the patient being admitted to the hospital. A doctor’s guidance is needed on how much oxygen has to be given, as oxygen toxicity can have adverse effects.
Physicians and Hospitals Research further adds:
For up to five liters of oxygen per minute, home use of oxygen concentrator is acceptable, if it is approved by an experienced COVID physician. No nurse is required till five liters. Above that, in case a patient needs, say, 10 liters of oxygen per minute, then, hospitalization is needed and one must avoid managing the patient at home, as the patient’s condition can deteriorate any time due to the disease.”
What is the difference between oxygen concentrator and oxygen cylinders?
Oxygen concentrators can serve as alternatives to cylinders in some cases but home oxygen concentrators can only supply 5 to 10 liters of oxygen per minute. Critical patients may need 40-50 liters of oxygen per minute. Concentrators are moveable and need no special temperature to operate. While oxygen cylinders can run out of oxygen and need to be refilled, a concentrator will never run out of oxygen, as long as power supply for the unit is available. Oxygen concentrators can produce oxygen 24 hours and last five years or more. Preventive Maintenance is always needed at least once a year.
Oxygen concentrators generate up to 95% pure oxygen. They are equipped with sensors that indicate when the purity level reduces.
Oxygen concentrators are a viable option to provide oxygen at home or in a mobile clinic, especially where liquid or pressurized oxygen is inconvenient to use. Oxygen concentrators can be used at the convenience of patients, under the supervision of a doctor or healthcare personnel.
Experts are of the opinion that the oxygen generated by oxygen concentrators, is good enough for mild and moderate COVID-19 patients with oxygen saturation levels above 85%. However, this oxygen is not advisable for ICU patients, who need 99% Liquid Medical Oxygen.
Oxygen concentrator vs oxygen tanks:
|Oxygen concentrators||Oxygen tanks|
|Oxygen Concentrators can produce continues oxygen flow and can last 5 years or more.||
Does not require power to operate, as it works on pressurized oxygen
|Oxygen Concentrator Machines Generates up to 95% purity of oxygen||
No operating noise
|Home Oxygen Concentrators is ideal for patients with mild to moderate symptoms only.||
Inexpensive as it has lowest initial price tag as compared to different oxygen devices.
|Stationary Oxygen Concentrators are more portable and mobile than carrying oxygen tanks||
Requires frequent refilling, depending upon the patient's need.