Oxygen concentrators are medical devices that can aid people who have low levels of oxygen in their blood. Before, oxygen concentrators are heavy and bulky, making it difficult for patients who require them to travel or use them outside of their homes. Due to the great advancements in the field of medicine, oxygen concentrators today are compact, small, lightweight, and quiet but can still provide the utmost compliance and high performance.
If it is your first-timehearing about oxygen concentrators and wondering what it does and how it works, you’re in the right place. Today, we are giving you further information about oxygen concentrators.
What Does an Oxygen Concentrator Do?
An oxygen concentrator is a medical deviceused to deliver oxygen to individuals with breathing-related disorders. These are people whose oxygen concentration in the blood is lower than normal. With the use of an oxygen concentrator, that oxygen in their blood is replaced.
This medical device filters surrounding air, compressing it to the required density. Then, it delivers purified medical-grade oxygen into a pulse-dose delivery system or continuous stream system to the patient. Oxygen concentrators are also equipped with special filters and sieve beds that help remove nitrogen from the air to make sure that complete purified oxygen is delivered to the patient. They also have an electronic user interface, allowing you to adjust the levels of oxygen concentration and delivery settings. It has a nasal canula or special mask where the patient would inhale the oxygen.
The oxygen output is generally measured in LPM or liters per minute. Doctors will determine the level of oxygen that a patient needs. This may vary when exercising, during sleep, or when at rest. Keep in mind that an oxygen concentrator is not sold over the counter. It requires a prescription from a doctor after they have completed an in-depth medical evaluation. Doctors will also teach the patients how to use the oxygen concentrator effectively at home and while traveling.
How Does an Oxygen Concentrator Work?
If you wonder how an oxygen concentrator works, you can think of it as a window air conditioner. It takes air in, changes it, and then delivers it in a different form. An oxygen concentrator takes air in and purifies it for the people who require medical oxygen due to low levels of oxygen in their blood.
An oxygen concentrator works by compressing air as the cooling mechanism keeps the concentrator from overheating. It takes air from its surroundings, and you can adjust the delivery settings via an electronic interface. Through its sieve beds and a filter, it removes nitrogen from the air, then delivers purified oxygen through a mask or nasal cannula.
The invention of an oxygen concentrator is indeed helpful. It’s because before, patients who needed oxygen therapy mainly relied on pressurized oxygen tanks. These tanks are effective. However, they can be inefficient because the suppliers need to visit the patients regularly to replenish the oxygen supply in their tank.
Conditions that May Need an Oxygen Concentrator
The use of an oxygen concentrator can be recommended by doctors to their patients for many reasons or medical conditions. It can be due to acute conditions and as well as for chronic diseases.
- Acute Conditions that May Require an Oxygen Concentrator
Here are a few examples of acute conditions where patients would need the use of an oxygen concentrator for short-term oxygen therapy as prescribed by their doctors:
- Asthma: When you have asthma, your airways become inflamed and start producing a lot of mucus, making it difficult to breathe. There are many pharmaceuticals that can treat and control asthma, but an oxygen concentrator can help pump high levels of oxygen into the bloodstream when patients are having or have already had an asthma attack.
- Pneumonia:This is an infection where patients develop inflammation in either one or both of the lungs’ air sacs. In many cases, those who have pneumonia have air sacs that are filled with fluid. A lot of patients who have been prescribed oxygen therapy have seen good clinical outcomes.
- RDS or Respiratory Distress Syndrome: RDS is a breathing disorder that affects newborns, particularly those who are born six or more weeks before their delivery date. They don’t create enough surfactant, a lung coating liquid, which causes their lungs to collapse, making it challenging for them to breathe. An oxygen concentrator can help pump oxygen into their bloodstream and lungs to decrease further complications.
- BPD or Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia: This condition can affect newborns who are suffering from RDS. It is a severe lung condition that needs long-term breathing support.
- Chronic Diseases that May Require an Oxygen Concentrator
Here are some of the chronic conditions that may require long-term use of an oxygen concentrator:
- Sleep Apnea: This is a sleeping disorder that can be serious as it can cause a person’s breathing to occasionally stop and start while sleeping. The usual treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP, weight loss, and physical exercise. Some people who suffer from this condition are also required oxygen therapy with the use of an oxygen concentrator.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): This disease affects about 16 million people. When you have this condition, your lungs have chronic damage, making it difficult for them to absorb enough oxygen. As a result, it will be difficult to breathe. Therefore, oxygen therapy through a concentrator can help.
- Cystic Fibrosis: This is a life-threatening condition that people can inherit. It can cause digestive system and lung damage. It is a rare condition that can affect the cells in the body, which are responsible for producing mucus, digestive juices, and sweat. With this condition, the fluids are changed, resulting in a stickier and thicker solution that plugs the ducts, tubes, and passageways of the person infected.
With this, we can say that oxygen concentrators have numerous advantages for patients needing oxygen therapy. Compared to traditional oxygen cylinders, they are much less dangerous. This is why home and portable oxygen concentrators have become more popular and widely used today. We hope the information we shared helped you in further understanding what an oxygen concentrator is.