When a patient requires only a small amount of oxygen, an oxygen concentrator can be a lifesaver. The body’s oxygen levels should ideally be above 95 percent. COVID-19, on the other hand, induces lung fibrosis and inhibits patients’ breathing. Breathlessness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and other breathing problems are frequent symptoms. Patients in such situations require oxygen therapy as quickly as possible, since their levels may begin to decline. Patients in this situation require assistance to compensate for their limited respiratory capacity. If oxygen levels fall below 80-85, the gadget can aid.
The devices come in flow capacity of 5-10 litres per minute, cost between Rs 25,000 and Rs 60,000, and should only be used under the guidance of specialists. For patients, the equipment can buy valuable time. They may rely on the device until an ambulance arrives and they are admitted to the hospital.
The device can assist a patient’s oxygen levels rise from 85 to 90 or 95 percent and even maintain these levels to a degree. Increased levels lessen the patient’s struggle and the risk of health consequences caused by a lack of oxygen.
Since the rise in cases during the second wave, over a hundred patients have benefited from oxygen concentrators, according to Ashok Madhavrao of Guru Healthcare in Mumbai.
Because it does not have a manual regulator like oxygen tanks, the gadget is straightforward to use. It prevents excessive discharge and allows the patient to handle it as needed. It has a cheap maintenance cost because it does not need to be refilled. Only the water dehumidifier needs to be replaced after a certain amount of time has passed. If needed, two devices with a flow rate of 5 litres per minute can be employed for a single patient.
The oxygen concentrator has also assisted patients with oxygen levels as low as 69 percent. Every equipment costs Rs 480 to rent and is occasionally given out for free to those who cannot afford it.
How an Oxygen Concentrator restores respiration
The machine is powered by electricity and requires a constant power supply with backup power. At the touch of a button, the machine begins to release oxygen. The device removes nitrogen from the air and boosts the oxygen concentration for inhaling. The concentrator should only be used if the SPO2 (oxygen saturation) level falls below 95.
To use the device, you must first get permission from a doctor. The air we breathe is made up of around 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen, and the rest is made up of various gases. The oxygen concentrator works by capturing ambient air and filtering nitrogen and other gases out. The oxygen is kept in a cylinder that the user inhales.
For inhalation, use an oxygen mask or nasal cannula as directed by a medical professional. Ensure that the filters are clean and that the air intake is not obstructed. It may have an impact on the device’s performance. Patients with asthma, COPD, and other respiratory illnesses can also use it if their doctors prescribe it.
Oxygen Concentrator: Most effective while recovering
An oxygen concentrator is neither a substitute for oxygen or a ventilator, according to experts. It can only act as a buffer before the disease’s severity worsens. Patients with moderate to severe health issues will demand larger oxygen doses, which the device will not be able to provide.
The severity of the situation frequently worsens. The patient’s oxygen levels rapidly plummet. In such instances, the patient should be shifted to an oxygen or ventilator bed as soon as possible. The oxygen concentrator is a waste of money.
After treatment, Madhavrao believes that oxygen concentrators may be more effective. “The machine can be appropriated as an auxiliary setup during the recovery stage of a patient during COVID-19, a time when oxygen dosages are not required in abundance. As a result, hospital bed occupancy is reduced, and the patient can continue his or her treatment at home. The abandoned bed is made available to another patient who requires treatment more urgently.
COVID-19 patient Aishwarya Devrajan of Gurgaon is one such COVID-19 survivor. “I was diagnosed on April 3 and spent over 23 days in the hospital. Because I have asthma, my doctor was concerned about my health and recommended that I get an oxygen concentrator,” she explains.
Moving out of the hospital, according to the 68-year-old, reduced her chances of becoming re-infected and infecting her family members with COVID-19. “The device has turned out to be a breakthrough. My oxygen levels have increased and my reliance on the device has decreased after a week of use. I used to use it for over five hours every day. But now I just use it for a few hours at a time. It has given me a sense of security regarding my health,” she asserted.
Patients benefit from oxygen concentrators, according to Madhavrao, especially in tough settings. “It would turn out to be immensely encouraging for the manufacturers and consumers if these life-saving, critical machines are exempted from taxes or slash their costs. It will make it more accessible to the general public and will be useful in the event of a pandemic.