Why & when should I use an Oxygen Concentrator?
When the SpO2 level drops below 94-95%, it could be a sign of respiratory distress requiring supplemental oxygen for the patient. The Oxygen Concentrator (OC) can help support the SpO2 levels for patients where it has dropped below normal and hospital services are not immediately accessible.
Oxygen Concentrator vs Oxygen Cylinder
The air that we breathe contains 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen. The OC takes the air around us as input, tries to filter out nitrogen and gives out a supply of air that contains upto 96% oxygen. A typical oxygen cylinder has limited oxygen storage capacity after which it needs to be refilled or a new cylinder needs to be purchased. However, since an OC extracts oxygen from the air itself, it can supply unlimited oxygen.
What paramters should i look for in an Oxygen Concentrator?
When purchasing an OC please do ensure that the oxygen purity is 93%+-3% at all flow rates (L/min). There are several lower cost OCs available in the market that offer high oxygen purity at 1L/min but the purity drops below 90% at flow rates of 2-5L/min. Such OCs are usually found to be ineffective for medical use and should be avoided.