In India, there has been a rising demand for medical oxygen supply. Oxygen sourced from the industrial units could not mitigate the incessant need. Adding to the misery, many states in India do not even have such industrial setups. Therefore, the unabated demand for oxygen gave rise to the oxygen concentrators in the market.
Basically, this equipment can produce pure oxygen by compressing air and supply it to individuals who need them. However, there is more to what is oxygen concentrators and how oxygen concentrator works. So, keep reading this article that seeks to inform on the topic.
Simply put, an oxygen concentrator is a device that produces and supplies medical oxygen to patients who have low SpO2 or low oxygen levels in their blood. Patients with severe hypoxemia (low SpO2), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic sleep apnea, and pulmonary edema require an additional supply of oxygen. To treat such patients, an oxygen concentrator machine is used as a stationary source of oxygen supply.
The number of COVID-19 infections in India spiked rapidly during the second wave of infections, overburdening hospitals. Patients who could not get a bed in hospitals had to be treated at home. Critical patients needed constant oxygen support, but with the unabated demand for oxygen cylinders across the country, many people decided to go for oxygenators or oxygen concentrators.
With the overwhelming pressure on the healthcare infrastructure, the hospitals gradually started running out of oxygen. The Indian federal government imported oxygen tankers from neighboring countries to improve the interstate logistic support for oxygen. All of such factors contributed to the rising demand for portable oxygen concentrators.
Oxygen tanker being airlifted from Singapore (Source: Business Standard)
As we all know, the human body requires oxygen for sustenance. The air we breathe has 21% oxygen concentration. Our lungs extract oxygen from inhaled air and supply it to cells and organs in our body through blood. This concentration of oxygen in blood or oxygen saturation is commonly known as SpO2. Essentially, SpO2 means how much oxygen the blood cells are carrying. SpO2 level is not the same for every human being, and it dwells in a range.
To measure the blood oxygen saturation, pathologists conduct ABG Test (Arterial Blood Gas Test). It is the most effective and accurate way of measuring the SpO2 level in a healthy person.
However, one may use a pulse oximeter to measure SpO2 level at home. This is a simple and painless way of measuring SpO2, but keep in mind that oximeters may have a 2% error in the result. When measured using oximeters, the SpO2 ranges between 95% and 100% for a healthy person.
For people with COPD or other cardiovascular diseases, the SpO2 range mentioned above does not apply. Further, if you are suffering from or have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or pulmonary edema, it is recommended to consult a doctor to know what is the normal SpO2 range in such cases. Measuring oxygen saturation using a pulse oximeter without the knowledge of normal SpO2 levels may make the patient nervous. For patients with a chronic lung condition or COPD, the normal oxygen saturation level ranges between 88% and 92%.
As the name suggests, oxygen cylinders contain oxygen. As the amount of oxygen in cylinders is limited, they require refilling. On the other hand, oxygen concentrators can supply oxygen continually (provided with an uninterrupted power back up) as they produce oxygen by compressing air. To make it more comprehensive, here is a quick rundown of the prime differences between oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators.
Produces medical grade oxygen by compressing air
Contains limited volume of oxygen
Provides continual supply of medical grade oxygen
Heavy and bulky (depending on the volume)
Relatively less expensive
There are different types of oxygen concentrators available in the market. The classification is made basis how an oxygen concentrator is used and how an oxygen concentrator works. No matter what type of oxygen concentrator you are looking for, you can get it on Amazon Business.
Portable oxygen concentrators are the result of the latest technology. Portable oxygen concentrators like Owgels Oxystar Adjustable (1-7L/Minute) Flow Portable Oxygen Concentrator, and AYKON DE-1S New Design Portable Lightweight Oxygen Concentrator are lightweight and compact. These have been designed keeping in mind the need of those who are on long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT). A patient can easily carry one around depending on his / her need.
This type of oxygen concentrator uses a conventional power source (AC output wall socket) because of its size and power. Compared to portable concentrators, stationary concentrators like the 3B Medical Oxygen Concentrator and Vandelay Portable Home Oxygen Concentrator Machine can produce more oxygen.
This type of oxygen concentrator uses smart technology to detect when the patient is inhaling and only then releases the oxygen. By doing this, it conserves the produced oxygen. This type of oxygen concentrator is very effective in treating patients with chronic sleep apnea.
This concentrator machine supplies oxygen to the patient every minute instead of detecting the breathing pattern like the pulse type oxygen concentrator does. Continuous single flow oxygen concentrators like CARER® CR-P5W Oxygen Concentrator and Yuwell® 7F-5B Oxygen Concentrator can generate 5 liters of oxygen and maintain a steady supply.
On Amazon Business, buyers will find all types of oxygen concentrators listed by premium brands under the medical supplies category.
a) Stationary oxygen concentrator b) Portable oxygen concentrator (source)
An oxygenator or oxygen concentrator draws air from the room’s atmosphere and compresses it to separate the gases. It filters out the microbial, dust particles, bacteria, etc., from the air and deposits almost 90% pure oxygen into one of the cylinders/ compartments. As the device forces air into one of the chambers, a membrane made of molecular ‘sieve’ material absorbs the nitrogen, separating it from the oxygen.
The nitrogen gets deposited in the other chamber/ compartment/ cylinder and later is released back into the atmosphere. Next, the compression process is reversed. It releases the oxygen from the chamber through a cannula for the patient to use. Oxygen concentrators have regulator valves that control the pressure. A typical home oxygen concentrator can produce 0.5 – 5L of oxygen every minute.
If you are using an oxygen concentrator at home or carrying a portable concentrator, you ought to take some steps to ensure your safety, as well as the device'. Here is a quick list of safety measures that one must undertake to ensure safety during oxygen therapy – for oneself and others –
Taking these precautions while using an oxygen concentrator will reduce the chance of any mishap and, at the same time, ensure the longevity of the device.
An oxygen concentrator is emergency equipment. Therefore, it is imperative to get your hands on the best one in the market that serves you best and fits your budget. So, keep a checklist ready while looking for the best oxygen concentrator in India.
Flow rate means the rate at which the concentrator delivers oxygen from the cylinder to the patient. It varies widely from one product to another. Elove Oxygen Machine For Home can generate and deliver up to 1-liter oxygen per minute, whereas Dr Trust Respiright Oxygen Concentrator has a flow rate of 5 liters per minute. A critical patient may require a higher flow rate, while a lower flow rate can be sufficient for someone with moderate sleep apnea. Therefore, it is best to ask the doctor for the recommended flow rate.
Most of the concentrators in the market claim to have an oxygen purity or oxygen concentration of 88% – 90%. But it is for the buyer to check if the claim is proper. Generally, concentrators with a high flow rate can produce highly concentrated oxygen. Premium product like the AYKON DE-1S New Design Portable Lightweight Oxygen Concentrator claims to generate 93%.
The lower the power consumption, the better it is for the buyer.
Whether you are looking for a portable device or a home stationary oxygen concentrator, go for the quietest one.
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Oxygen concentrators have become crucial medical equipment and a formidable defense against COVID-19 infection. If the key pointers mentioned in the article are kept in mind, it will become easy for one to shop for the best oxygen concentrator.
1. What other medical equipment do I need along with oxygen concentrators?
When you purchase an oxygen concentrator, you may get the necessary equipment bundled with the main product. If it’s not the case, you will need to separately purchase oxygen masks (adult or child), tubing, and a cannula.
2. Do oxygen concentrators really work?
Yes. Oxygen concentrators are effectively used in treating patients with breathing issues, COPD, and similar diseases. In the recent scenario, oxygen concentrators are saving lives of COVID-19 infected patients who need critical oxygen support but could not get a bed in the hospital.
3. How do I know if my oxygen concentrator is working?
Oxygen concentrators come with a display attached to them. If there is no display on the model you chose, there will be some sort of an indicator at least that will show if the device is powered on. After that, once you set the desired flow rate, the adjunct distilled water-filled bottle will start bubbling. That is a sure indicator of an oxygen concentrator functioning.
4. How many years does an oxygen concentrator last?
A decent oxygen concentrator from a good manufacturer can last up to five years. However, electronic devices can abruptly stop working for sudden malfunctioning.
5. What is the Difference Between Pulse Flow and Continuous Flow?
Pulse flow is when the concentrator detects the patients’ breathing pattern and releases oxygen when he is inhaling. Continuous flow, on the other hand, means the concentrator is supplying oxygen at a constant flow.
6. Does a regular wall power outlet work for an oxygen concentrator?
7. How much does a portable oxygen concentrator weigh?
The weight varies between 2Kgs and 4Kgs.
8. Are oxygen concentrators noisy?
An oxygen concentrator with a moderate flow rate can operate pretty quietly. However, with the increased flow rate, the compressor works faster, and then it can become a little noisy.