It’s bigger than a computer monitor and with Oxygen cylinders in short supply, the concentrator is the most sought-after device for Oxygen therapy, especially among patients in home isolation and hospitals running out of oxygen.
Atmospheric air is about 78% Nitrogen and 21 % Oxygen, with other gases, the remaining 1%. An oxygen concentrator takes in air and removes nitrogen from , leaving an oxygen enriched gas for those in need of medical oxygen due to low oxygen levels in their blood.
Technically, no new Oxygen molecule is ‘produced’; the larger nitrogen molecules are separated and the remaining vapor is rendered ‘oxygen rich’, which is then compressed and dispensed through a cannula to the patient at purity levels of 90-95%. A pressure valve regulates supply, ranging from 1-10 litres per minute and concentrators can produce Oxygen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a period up to 5 years or more.
Experts say it is good enough for mild and moderate Covid-19 patients with Oxygen saturation levels of 85% or above but not for ICU patients. Concentrators supply 5-10 litres of Oxygen per minute and can be attached with multiple tubes to serve two patients at the same time, but this has a risk of cross-infection.
Oxygen concentrators are used in hospitals or at home to produce Oxygen for patient and are an efficient source of Oxygen. They are safe and useful in remote or inaccessible parts of the world or mobile medical facilities (military hospitals, disaster facilities).
Concentrators are portable and can be transported easily requiring no special temperature and only need a power source to draw in ambient air. They are expensive than cylinders but it’s largely a one-time investment. Apart from electricity and routine maintenance, there’s little operational cost, unlike cylinders that involve refilling costs and transportation.
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