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  • Writer's pictureAvinash Gupta

Oxygen concentrator: How does it work? | Avinash Gupta

An oxygen concentrator is a device that provides adequate oxygen to your body if you are having trouble breathing suggests Avinash Gupta.

This usually happens when the concentration of oxygen drops in your blood. There can be many reasons for this to occur; one such reason, about which all of us are now aware, is COVID-19.

With this virus spreading all over the world, people have been facing severe breathing issues. The drop in concentration of their blood oxygen can only be dealt with by oxygen concentrators. In these hard times, people like Adam Paul, who donate these machines for the needy, are no less than angels.

You cannot buy an oxygen concentrator easily says Avinash Gupta. To get this machine, you need a proper prescription from a doctor as evidence. When someone is facing a breathing disorder and low oxygen levels in their blood, an oxygen concentrator can serve as life-saving equipment.

A patient can require oxygen therapy for various reasons. For instance, a doctor might ask you to get oxygen therapy when there is a drop in your blood oxygen level. Naturally, the lungs are responsible to extract oxygen from the air to transfer it to the blood. An oxygen concentrator extracts pure oxygen from the air, and this pure oxygen helps you get your oxygen levels back to normal.

If you are suffering from a disease that makes it troublesome to breathe, and your pulse oximeter shows low levels of blood oxygen, this is when a doctor might suggest you use an oxygen concentrator.

Usually, conditions that require short-term oxygen therapy are when you need an oxygen concentrator. If you are facing a more serious issue where it is necessary for you to have a continuous supply of pure oxygen, then oxygen cylinders are better suited for this situation. With these acute conditions where short-term oxygen therapy is required, there can be cases of chronic conditions when you might require long-term therapies. Oxygen concentrators help in both cases says Avinash Gupta. Oxygen concentrators can be used by patients with diseases like asthma, pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), Bronchopulmonarydysplasia (BPD), and all the other kinds of problems that cause breathing difficulties.

How does an Oxygen Concentrator work?

Oxygen Concentrator extract oxygen from the air. This machine does not require us to supply oxygen to it by any other source instead of air but to do this, a lot is at work. Oxygen Concentrators have got many components that make it possible to extract pure oxygen from the air. They might not be the most complex machine in the world, but oxygen concentrators do not function in the simplest way either.

Air has many components. The two major constituents are Nitrogen and Oxygen. The air around us has got seventy-eight percent (78%) nitrogen and twenty-one percent (21%) oxygen. The remaining one percent are other gasses. Other gases include argon, carbon dioxide, etc. If one removes nitrogen from the air, you will be left with approximately ninety-five percent (95%) of oxygen. This is almost pure oxygen.

An oxygen concentrator works on the same principle that is to remove nitrogen from the air says Avinash Gupta. By doing this, you end up with ninety-five to ninety-nine percent (95% - 99%) pure oxygen. This happens in several steps inside the oxygen concentrator.

• The first step is to filter the air from dust and other particles. Air can have a lot of particles that can cause harm to our lungs, specifically when you are facing a health condition. It is necessary to remove this dust and other particles from the air. The air, as it is sucked inside the oxygen concentrator, goes through various filters. This helps clean the air.

• Then the air moves to a compressor. The air needs to be compressed before it can move to the part where nitrogen gets removed. These two processes happen one after the other. The air is compressed while it passed through a molecular sieve bed. This highly porous molecular sieve bed is used to absorb nitrogen from the air. This leaves you with air that has a high concentration of oxygen. This air can then be transferred to the mask or the cannula.

• The oxygen concentrator continues with the process. It absorbs air, and the molecular sieve bed absorbs nitrogen from the air providing almost pure oxygen. This happens till the highly porous molecular sieve bed is full of nitrogen. After this, a switch valve flips and channels the air to a second molecular sieve bed. The second sieve bed works in a similar way as the first one.

• During this time, the first sieve bed releases the absorbed oxygen. The nitrogen is released by a back-flushing procedure. When the second molecular sieve bed is full of nitrogen, the flip process repeats. This keeps happening; the channel of air is switched back and forth from one bed to the other.

• You can control the oxygen setting according to your needs. The user can also change the airflow settings.

Oxygen Concentrators are capable of running as long as you want them to. But it is better to give them some rest and switch it off. Oxygen Concentrators do not require any kind of refill of gas like in oxygen cylinders. This makes them cost more than simple oxygen cylinders. The advantage is that oxygen concentrators are a one-time investment as they extract oxygen from the air.

No matter how much edge oxygen concentrators have over the conventional oxygen cylinders, it is hard for some people to be able to spend a lot of money on them. The cost of this devicevaries. It depends on their capacity and even on which brand you choose. In the United States, oxygen concentrators can cost from$1500 to $3500.

This high price makes them out of reach of many people. It is a sad sight to see people suffering because of having less money. This is where people like Adam Paul come in, who donate such machines to organizations and deserving people.

Posted by Avinash Gupta Oxygen Concentrato Website

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