The oxygen concentrator is an effective supply source for in-home oxygen therapy (HO). Amid oxygen shortage in the country, the oxygen concentrator is drawing attention.
Low oxygen levels are one of Covid-19’s side effects, and many patients need oxygen therapy to recover. Doctors are prescribing oxygen concentrators to many patients because oxygen beds are scarce and suppliers are having difficulty providing oxygen cylinders on demand.
It is a portable medical device that delivers oxygen to people who have breathing problems. It filters the ambient air before compressing it to the required density and then delivers purified medical-grade oxygen to the patient
Can we use them on our own?
Dr. Chaitanya H. Balakrishnan, St. John’s Medical College Hospital, Bangalore, stated during a webinar that using an oxygen concentrator without medical supervision can be extremely dangerous. “Patients with mild COVID-19-induced pneumonia that have an oxygen saturation of less than 94 will benefit from supplemental oxygen administered by an oxygen concentrator, although they must be monitored closely. However, patients using it themselves without suitable medical advice can be harmful.’’
O2 Concentrators market in India
Oxygen concentrator manufacturing and sales have increased dramatically in India. Aside from multinational brands, many Indian start-ups supported by the Department of Science and Technology’s funded under the CAWACH (Centre for Augmenting War with Covid-19 Health Crisis) programme has built reliable and cost-effective Oxygen Concentrators. 1 lakh Oxygen Concentrators are being procured via the PM CARES Fund during the second phase of the Pandemic.
Also, as Governments and families combat medical oxygen availability emergencies amidst the second wave of Coronavirus, the help to save lives is coming from home and abroad. Individual crowdfunding or fundraising initiatives are playing a crucial role in bringing light to these tasking times. Various donation campaigns are reaching out to Indian organizations to provide emergency aid like Oxygen Concentrators.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has also developed an oxygen enrichment technology by one of its laboratories to meet the oxygen demand and minimize the supply chain problem of transportation and storage risks related to oxygen cylinders amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
How do they work?
Oxygen concentrators are a safe way to get oxygen-rich air. Oxygen concentrators (also known as oxygen generators) are machines that pull room air via a series of filters to eliminate dust, bacteria, and other contaminants.
The machine pushes air into one of two cylinders containing molecular sieve material or semi-permeable membranes in the first stage of the concentration process, where nitrogen is absorbed, leaving concentrated oxygen and a small percentage of other gases present in room air.
Nitrogen is desorbed and pulled out of the atmosphere in the other cylinder at the same time. The cylinders’ role is reversed in a timed period in the second stage, providing a continuous flow of oxygen to the patient.
Oxygen concentrators do not need to be refilled. The concentrators run on electrical power and thus supply an unlimited amount of oxygen. Portable concentrators can be used in an “on-the-go” mode with a battery pack, resulting in up to 12 h of continuous use for some models. From a long-term view, concentrators are more cost-effective than compressed gas cylinders.
A study of the concentrator HO highlights that the effectiveness improved with routine concentrator controls or with the implementation of devices that warn the patient when the percentage of oxygen in the exit gas drops.
Difference between an oxygen cylinder and a concentrator
The major difference between the two is the quality of oxygen they provide to the patient. The Oxygen cylinder is filled with Liquid Medical Oxygen which is almost 99% pure and is used for severe Covid patients in ICU or ventilators. Whereas, the concentrator filters out oxygen from the ambient air which is 90%-95% pure. This purity of oxygen cannot be used for severe patients but can be used for mild covid patients.