What is an oxygen concentrator and how does it work? (Uses and reasons)
Due to tremendous advances in the medical field, today's oxygen concentrators are compact, small, quiet and lightweight, yet still provide maximum compliance and high performance. Older oxygen concentrators were bulky, making it difficult for patients who needed oxygen therapy to travel.
Today, you can choose from home stationary oxygen concentrators and portable oxygen concentrators (POC) that can be taken anywhere.
What is an oxygen concentrator?
Definition of Oxygen Concentrator. An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that is used to deliver oxygen to people with respiratory conditions. People who have lower than normal oxygen levels in their blood usually need an oxygen concentrator to supplement their oxygen.
Generally, you cannot purchase an oxygen concentrator over the counter. After a thorough medical evaluation is completed, the doctor must write a prescription. The doctor will also usually tell the patient how to use these concentrators effectively during travel and at home.
The oxygen generator filters the surrounding air, compresses it to the desired density, and then delivers purified medical grade oxygen to the patient in a pulse dose delivery system or continuous flow system.
It is also equipped with special filters and sieve beds to help remove nitrogen from the air and ensure delivery of fully purified oxygen to the patient. These devices are also equipped with an electronic user interface so you can adjust the level of oxygen concentration and delivery settings. You then inhale oxygen through a nasal cannula or a special mask.
You typically measure the output of the oxygen concentrator in LPM (liters per minute). Your doctor will determine the level of oxygen you need, which may vary during rest, sleep and exercise.
What is the purpose and reason for an oxygen concentrator?
There are many reasons to use an oxygen generator, and due to various medical conditions, your doctor may recommend oxygen therapy to your patients. Typically, your lungs absorb oxygen from the air and transfer it to your bloodstream.
If you have recently had a blood test or pulse oximeter to assess your oxygen saturation levels and find that your blood oxygen levels are very low, your doctor may recommend short-term or long-term oxygen therapy.
You may be wondering what is the purpose of an oxygen generator? Acute conditions usually require short-term oxygen therapy. These conditions usually last for a short period of time. They may appear suddenly with symptoms, while chronic conditions occur gradually. However, certain respiratory or chronic conditions require long-term supplemental oxygen.
Acute Conditions Requiring an Oxygen Concentrator
The following are some examples of acute conditions that require short-term oxygen therapy with an oxygen concentrator
Asthma. This condition means that your airways become inflamed and begin to produce large amounts of mucus, which makes breathing more difficult. Although there are many medications available to treat and control asthma, an oxygen generator can pump large amounts of oxygen into a patient's bloodstream when they are suffering from an asthma attack or have had an attack.
Pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the air sacs in one or both lungs become inflamed. In many cases, the air sacs fill with fluid. Many patients with pneumonia receive oxygen therapy and have good clinical outcomes.
Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). RDS is a respiratory disorder that primarily affects newborns, especially those born six weeks or more before the date of delivery. Newborns with RDS are unable to produce enough surfactant (a type of pulmonary envelope fluid), which causes their lungs to atrophy and makes it more difficult for them to breathe. Oxygen therapy with an oxygen concentrator helps pump oxygen into the infant's blood and lungs to reduce further complications.
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Newborns with RDS are also at higher risk of developing BPD. This is a serious lung disease that requires long-term respiratory support.
In some cases, short-term oxygenation may be required after surgery.
Chronic diseases that require oxygen therapy
These are chronic diseases that require long-term use of oxygen concentrators.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD affects about 16 million people, but oxygen concentrators can be an effective treatment. When you have COPD, you have chronic damage to your lungs, which can make it difficult for your lungs to absorb enough oxygen. As a result, you may have difficulty breathing, and oxygen therapy through a concentrator can help you.
Cystic fibrosis: You have inherited this life-threatening disease. It can damage the digestive system and the lungs. This is a rare disease that affects the body's cells responsible for producing mucus, sweat and digestive juices. These fluids change, resulting in a more viscous solution that blocks the ducts, tubes and passages of the infected person.
Sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes an individual's breathing to stop and occasionally start during sleep. Usually, treatment for this condition is continuous positive airway pressure ventilation (CPAP), weight loss and physical exercise, but some individuals with sleep apnea may require oxygen therapy.
How does an oxygen concentrator work?
An oxygen concentrator can be thought of as a window air conditioner that takes in, changes and delivers air in a different form. Oxygen concentrators take in and purify air for people who need medical oxygen due to low levels of oxygen in their blood.
How it works.
Compresses air as the cooling mechanism prevents the oxygen concentrator from overheating
Inhales air from the surrounding environment
Adjusts delivery settings using an electronic interface
Removes nitrogen from the air through a sieve bed and filter
Delivers pure oxygen through a face mask or nasal cannula
In the past, patients requiring oxygen therapy have relied primarily on pressurized oxygen tanks. While these tanks were very effective, they were also inefficient, and providers had to visit patients regularly to replenish the oxygen in the tanks.