With the rising COVID-19 cases in our country since March 2019, some words added in the common people’s vocabulary like “Coronavirus”, Lockdown, Pandemic, Isolation, Oxygen Concentrators, Oximeter, RT PCR test, HR CT scan, CRP Test and so on…
Now, after more than a year, India is experiencing the second wave of COVID-19, which is spreading more dangerously. As a result of hypoxia, the rapid rise in the demand for Oxygen Cylinders has led to a sudden scarcity of conventional ways of generating oxygen. Medial Establishments, Home Healthcare Practitioners and Patients now have to resort to buying or renting a more user friendly, non-invasive way of producing breathable oxygen at home, via Oxygen Concentrators, to save their lives.
For emergency use, oxygen concentrators were designed and manufactured in the late 1970s. They were initially used as a method of providing a continuous source of home oxygen that too without use of heavy tanks and frequent deliveries. In 2000, number of companies have started producing portable oxygen concentrators. They are easy to use , you just have to plug it into an electrical outlet. Some models may have an internal battery option to use in remote places.
An oxygen concentrator takes oxygen and nitrogen from the air and filters it so that it can be given to the patient through a nasal way or through oxygen masks. Oxygen concentrators can produce above 90 percent of pure oxygen for the patients (known as Oxygen concentration % or Oxygen Purity). It is now looked at as a good-to-have home healthcare device, even for precautionary purposes, if not curative.
Many online websites are selling oxygen concentrators in India. Be careful before purchasing it. Watch out for other respiratory healthcare devices like nebulisers and de-humidifiers, which are NOT concentrators. You could also consult with your doctor regarding what flowrate and concentration is best for the patient (flowrate is measured by Litres per Minute (LPM) and Oxygen purity is in terms of %). So, be sure to check all the specific details first and then proceed to have it in your own house.
Other basic features to know of, before placing an order for Oxygen Concentrator are Power unit Consumption, Recommended continuous time that it can be used and how much down time does it need (in terms of hours), brand value, safety measures, training material etc.
Ideally the home-use variants produce approximately one to five litres per minute of continuous oxygen flow. They use such a technique of delivering oxygen only when the patient is inhaling. Continuous-flow mode is considered safe for night use when the patient is sleeping. Some oxygen concentrators are designed to provide continuous-flow mode in addition to pulse-flow mode.
One more reason for gaining popularity of Oxygen Concentrator is because of its safety. In both clinical and emergency-care situations, oxygen concentrators have not proved as dangerous as oxygen cylinders. Due to safety concerns, some buildings and co-operative societies ban the use of oxygen cylinder. Concentrators are safer in use, as less chances of triggering fire; like in Oxygen Cylinders due to leakage, High Pressure etc.
Different models of Oxygen Concentrators are available in the market. Oxygen concentrators are available in variants of 3, 5, 8 and 10 LPM units. 3 or 5 LPM model is commonly used, prices range between INR 35,000 upto INR 1.3 Lakh.
Click here to read on about Technical Specifications of Oxygen Concentrators by WHO.