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What is an Oxygen Concentrator?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 17/08/2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world with its mighty blow, every individual was forced to re-look at their health and take the necessary precautions to prevent any health condition from worsening. For better or worse, we became familiar with terms such as quarantine and oxygen saturation levels and started taking care of our lung health.

In this entire struggle to stay safe, many people realised how important it was to have a comprehensive health insurance plan. Having a health insurance plan can go a long way in assisting with accessing good healthcare without having to worry about how it would impact your financial health.

Acknowledging the current healthcare needs, insurance providers started to include COVID-19 care as part of the medical insurance plan to safeguard the interests of the policyholders and encourage further investments in medical insurance. However, in addition to a health insurance plan, there was another important medical device that assisted in saving several lives: an oxygen concentrator for COVID patients.

Without further ado, let us jump right into understanding what an O2 concentrator machine is, how it works, and who can use it.

What is an Oxygen Concentrator?

An oxygen concentrator machine or the o2 concentrator machine is a piece of medical equipment that assists patients with breathing issues by supplementing them with extra oxygen. The device comprises a compressor, pressure valve, sieve bed filter, oxygen tank, and an oxygen mask which is essentially a nasal cannula used to breathe the oxygen. Often the oxygen can be drying for the nose, so patients use it in conjunction with a humidifier bottle which helps moisten the oxygen that is being inhaled.

When the pandemic was in full swing in India, the home oxygen concentrator was the most sought-after device for oxygen therapy when people were quarantined in their homes. The surge in COVID-19 cases caused an acute shortage of oxygen concentrators for covid patients. Yet, few are aware of the uses and usage of medical oxygen concentrators.

How Does an Oxygen Concentrator Work?

The oxygen concentrator machine works by filtering and concentrating molecules of oxygen from the air to provide patients with 90% to 95% of pure oxygen. In simpler terms, it works by extracting oxygen from your surrounding air and transforming it into purified oxygen for patients to breathe. The sieve bed of the device filters out the nitrogen from the surrounding air. The device comes with thin two-pronged tubes that connect with the oxygen cylinder to supplement the patient with their prescribed oxygen needs.

The medical oxygen concentrator should only be used under the guidance of medical practitioners and is often prescribed by pulmonologists to mild or moderately ill patients with oxygen saturation levels ranging between 90% to 94%. The use of a home oxygen concentrator is also recommended for patients with oxygen saturation as low as 85% until they are admitted to the hospital.

Types of Oxygen Concentrators

Essentially, there are two kinds of oxygen concentrators: pulse flow and continuous flow. When patients with respiratory illnesses need to be supplemented with oxygen, the doctor will indicate how many litres of oxygen the patient needs per minute (LPM), which in turn determines whether the patient will need a pulse flow or a continuous flow:

  • Continuous flow: With this device, a constant flow of oxygen is supplied to the patient every minute. If the prescription requires a high LPM, this is what the doctor will most likely recommend.

  • Pulse flow: With this device, the oxygen is only delivered upon inhalation. It detects the breathing pattern of the patient and smartly delivers oxygen accordingly. It is usually recommended for patients who don’t need a high LPM for their treatment.

Now that we understand the different kinds of oxygen concentrators, let us look at how much they cost.

Oxygen Concentrator Price in India

The oxygen concentrator price depends on how much oxygen is produced by the machine per minute. The oxygen concentrator price in India varies between ₹17,000 - ₹2,800,000 per piece. More precisely, the price of a 5 LPM oxygen concentrator will range between ₹40,000 - ₹50,000, whereas, for a 10 LPM concentrator, the price will go up to ₹1.5 lakhs.

However, before you check the oxygen concentrator price, it is important to note that it is not recommended for use at home unless prescribed by the doctor.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing an Oxygen Concentrator

Before purchasing an oxygen concentrator, there are a few important factors to consider:

Flow Rate: Flow rate (measured in LPM) is the rate at which the oxygen travels to the patient from the oxygen concentrator. It is imperative to check the flow rate capability of the device before making a purchase.

Capacity: It is always advisable to purchase an oxygen concentrator with a higher capacity than the prescribed requirement. For instance, if the prescription recommends a 3 LPM concentrator, it is recommended to purchase a 5 LPM concentrator.

Sieve: The number of sieves and filters of an oxygen concentrator machine is directly linked to the quality of oxygen that will be released.

In addition to the aforementioned, some other things to consider include how portable you need your machine to be, the power consumption of the device, the warranty period of the machine, etc.

To Conclude

Oxygen concentrators are convenient and priceless devices for patients who need to be supplemented with extra oxygen. It is important to note that the oxygen concentrator machine is not a replacement for the hospital, especially in conditions where the patient’s oxygen saturation levels go below 85% and are experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19.

In trying times such as these, it is important to invest in a health insurance plan that will look after your financial needs. It will allow you to take care of your health and focus on getting better instead of worrying about the bills. Moreover, with the help of medical insurance, you can not only ensure coverage against medical expenses but also pay for treatment costs. Additionally, there are several health insurance tax benefits that you can learn more about from Tata AIG’s website.

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