An oxygen concentrator is a device that provides supplemental or extra oxygen to individuals with breathing issues or who may have low blood oxygen levels. The device consists of a compressor, sieve bed filter, oxygen tank, pressure valve, and a nasal cannula (or oxygen mask). An oxygen concentrator pulls oxygen from the surrounding air and helps in getting the oxygen a person may need. There are many different models, like home/portable oxygen concentrators, pulse flow and continue flow oxygen concentrators.
How does the device work?
An oxygen concentrator works by filtering and concentrating oxygen molecules from the ambient air to provide patients with 90% to 95% pure oxygen. The compressor of the oxygen concentrator sucks ambient air and adjusts the pressure at which it is provided. The sieve bed made of a crystalline material called Zeolite separates the nitrogen from the air. A concentrator has two sieve beds that work to both release oxygen into a cylinder as well as discharge the separated nitrogen back into the air. This forms a continuous loop that keeps producing pure oxygen. The pressure valve helps regulate oxygen supply ranging from 5 to 10 liters per minute.
There are two types of oxygen concentrators:
Continuous and Pulse dose
What is a pulse oxygen concentrator?
These concentrators are comparatively smart as they are able to detect the breathing pattern of the patient and release oxygen upon detecting inhalation. The oxygen released by pulse dose concentrators varies per minute. The pulse oxygen supply mode is currently mainly used in portable oxygen concentrators on the market. This oxygen supply mode improves the utilization rate of oxygen. In the process of use, it can automatically detect your breathing, according to the changes in flow and pressure during your breathing, oxygen is provided when you inhale, and it is turned off when you exhale to realize pulse oxygen supply.
People who need go outside, or travel can choose portable oxygen concentrators which usually consider as pulse flow oxygen concentrators. In order to get high oxygen concentration, the machine need a powerful compressor. And portable machine is usually small and light, which means it can’t equip with big compressor, so portable oxygen concentrator is designed as pulse flow to ensure enough oxygen output. That’s why we see the portable oxygen concentrator is pulse flow.
What is a continuous flow oxygen concentrator?
This type of concentrator supplies the same flow of oxygen every minute unless it is not turned off irrespective of whether the patient is breathing the oxygen or not.
The continuous oxygen supply mode can provide patients with a stable oxygen flow. In contrast to pulse oxygen supply, whether we inhale or not, the oxygen concentrator will always provide oxygen flow. The desktop oxygen concentrators on the market all adopt the continuous oxygen supply mode. This mode is more quite and suitable for night using.
People who has breath issue, need stable high oxygen concentration supply may need continuous oxygen concentrator. Continuous flow oxygen concentrator can provide stable oxygen flow for patient, so the home oxygen concentrator is a good choice for people who stay at home and need stable oxygen supply.
Oxygen concentrators provide supplementary oxygen for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and, in higher concentrations, for severe chronic hypoxemia and pulmonary edema. Oxygen concentrators are typically used as stationary sources to provide long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) to patients at home.
According to pulmonologists, only mild to moderately ill patients with blood oxygen levels between 90% to 94% should use an oxygen concentrator under medical guidance. Patients with oxygen saturation levels as low as 85% can also use oxygen concentrators in emergency situations or till they get hospital admission. However, it is recommended that such patients switch to a cylinder(it’s stable than oxygen concentrator,but more expensive) with higher oxygen flow and get admitted to a hospital as soon as possible.