Oxygen Concentrator

As India reels from the second wave of a novel coronavirus, families have been imploring supplies of oxygen concentrators with various requests for help pouring on social media. Many people have been in a state of perplexion where they are considering oxygen cylinders as oxygen concentrators, which is not the case. This article will get you all the details about oxygen concentrators.

The oxygen concentrator is a medical device that concentrates the oxygen from a gas supply (ambient air) by particularly removing nitrogen to supply an oxygen-enriched product gas stream. Atmospheric air contains 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, and other gases complete the remaining 1%. The oxygen concentrator takes in this air, filters it through a sieve, gives the nitrogen back into the air, and functions on the remaining oxygen.

This oxygen is 90-95% pure as it is compressed and dispensed through a cannula. A pressure valve in concentrators assists in the regulation of supply from 1-10 litres per minute. It is suitable for mild and moderate COVID patients with oxygen saturation levels of 85% or above. It’s important to learn that it is not recommended for ICU patients. They can be connected with numerous tubes to alleviate the suffering of two patients at one point in time, however, experts don’t suggest it since it has a risk of cross-infection.

According to the WHO (World Health Organisation) 2015 report, concentrators are structured for flawless operation and can result in 24 hours a day of oxygen, 7 days a week, for up to 5 years or more.

Difference between oxygen concentrators and oxygen cylinders

They can easily be carried and unlike LMO (Liquid Medical Oxygen) that are required to be stored, ferried in cryogenic tankers, without any special temperature and need a power source to have ambient air, whereas cylinders that require refilling.

Concentrators are dearer than cylinders which may cost Rs 40,000-90,000 as it’s a one-time investment. They have operational cost, electricity and routine maintenance, whereas cylinders cost approximately around Rs 8,000-20,000.

As per Industry experts, the demand for oxygen concentrators has scaled up from 40,000 yearly to 30,000-40,000 a month.
There is a daily demand of 1,000-2000 concentrators, but there are not adequate manufacturers in the market to meet that kind of demand, said Dr Rajiv Nath, forum coordinator of AIMED, an association of the medical device industry.

Shortage of oxygen concentrators and solutions being undertaken

To counter the shortage of oxygen concentrators in the country, countries such as the UK, Ireland, Germany have come out to aid India to tackle the COVID outbreak. Irelands will be supplying 700 concentrators while 95 oxygen concentrators have arrived from Britain and 400 more to come with other medical supplies.

According to the Union Home Ministry, a consignment of containers for carrying medical oxygen reached India from Thailand while some more empty tankers will be airlifted from Singapore. IAF (Indian Air Force) has started airlifting essential products needed to tackle the virus.

As per the government of India official based in the United States, more than three hundred oxygen concentrators have been supplied from New York to India. The central government has sourced oxygen from different states of the country and provided it to the worst-hit states by running special trains.