In recent times, oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators have become prominent due to their crucial role in providing supplemental oxygen to COVID-19 patients and individuals with respiratory difficulties. However, it is essential to note that these devices have been used for several years to treat various medical conditions.
Let’s explore the details of oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators to understand their functionalities and critical differences.
An oxygen cylinder, also known as an oxygen tank, is a storage device that contains compressed liquid oxygen. The oxygen from the cylinder is delivered to the user through an oxygen mask or cannula. It provides a finite amount of oxygen and requires refilling when the supply runs low.
On the other hand, an oxygen concentrator operates differently. It filters and concentrates oxygen molecules from the surrounding air, providing an infinite supply of oxygen. Like an air-conditioner, it intakes ambient air, extracts and purifies the oxygen, and delivers it to the user. Unlike an oxygen cylinder, an oxygen concentrator does not need refilling and can continuously provide oxygen as long as it is powered.
There are two main types of oxygen concentrators available:
Continuous Flow Concentrators: These devices deliver a constant flow of oxygen to the user, which remains consistent until the concentrator is turned off or adjusted by the user or healthcare professional.
Pulse Concentrators: Pulse concentrators are designed to supply oxygen based on the inhalation and breathing patterns of the user. They detect the user’s breath and release oxygen accordingly. This ensures oxygen delivery when needed, optimizing oxygen usage and conserving energy.
Both types of oxygen concentrators offer convenience and portability, allowing individuals to receive oxygen therapy in the comfort of their homes or while on the go.
Besides COVID, several conditions cause a person’s oxygen levels to fall below the desired normal levels. Some of these conditions include:
When either of these conditions causes oxygen levels to fall below 94%, an oxygen cylinder for home use is the best choice. This device also works, albeit as a temporary measure, when a patient’s oxygen levels fall up to 85%.
You need a doctor’s prescription to use either a concentrator or oxygen cylinder at home. You will be prescribed a cylinder for home-use when you need oxygen only for short periods. On the other hand, a home use oxygen concentrator machine will be prescribed when you need supplemental oxygen throughout the day even while sleeping. Besides these things, other factors that determine the choice of the best oxygen concentrator or cylinder include the amount of oxygen you need, the size and layout of your house, your daily activities, and your personal preference.
Here are some things to keep in mind while using a home oxygen concentrator or cylinder:
For the most important factor to consider while using an oxygen cylinder or concentrator for home use, if you feel any changes in your breathing patterns or your symptoms seem to get worse, contact your healthcare practitioner at the earliest.
In addition to the factors mentioned earlier, the price of the devices is a significant consideration when choosing between an oxygen concentrator and an oxygen cylinder. Initially, the cost of an oxygen concentrator may appear higher than a cylinder’s. However, an oxygen cylinder tends to be more expensive in the long run. This is due to the need for frequent refills, while an oxygen concentrator utilizes ambient air and only requires electricity to operate, making it a low-maintenance option. The main ongoing cost associated with an oxygen concentrator is electricity consumption.
Furthermore, the cost of a portable oxygen concentrator is often higher than a stationary one. Still, it offers the advantage of mobility and enables individuals to engage in outdoor activities without constraints.
For those who prefer to avoid investing a significant amount of money upfront or have a short-term requirement, renting an oxygen cylinder or concentrator is a viable option. Renting helps save costs and provides a hassle-free experience, as the rental company is responsible for maintenance and replacement expenses.
It is essential to carefully consider the upfront and long-term costs and personal needs and preferences when deciding between purchasing or renting an oxygen concentrator or cylinder. Consulting with healthcare professionals and rental companies can provide valuable insights to make an informed decision based on individual circumstances.
Size is a crucial factor to consider when deciding between an oxygen cylinder and an oxygen concentrator.
Oxygen cylinders are heavy metal tanks that can be challenging to lift and move around. While wheel-mounted systems or rolling options are available, they may only be suitable for some.
In contrast, oxygen concentrators are lightweight and portable as they do not rely on compressed oxygen stored in a metal tank. They come in various sizes, and some of the lightest models can be carried in a bag on your back.
Regarding lightweight oxygen concentrators, notable recommendations include the 10-litre oxygen concentrator and the Philips 10-litre oxygen concentrator. The size difference between a 1-litre oxygen cylinder and a 5-litre oxygen cylinder significantly impacts their respective prices.
Considering the size and portability factors, oxygen concentrators offer greater convenience and ease of use than bulky oxygen cylinders. However, individual needs and requirements should be considered when deciding.
To sum up, both devices are crucial and can save lives. Therefore, before investing in one, it is vital to understand how they work, what benefits they offer, and how to use them.
At Portea, we offer a wide range of healthcare services, including the option to get oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentrators for rent and purchase. Visit our website to explore our selection and choose the best option that suits your needs. We prioritize delivering quality healthcare services right to your doorstep.
Yes, using an oxygen concentrator daily is perfectly acceptable, especially for individuals who require a constant oxygen supply. Some people rely on portable oxygen concentrators daily to ensure they receive oxygen support throughout the day.
Individuals with low oxygen levels during sleep may also be prescribed oxygen therapies to be used continuously, 24/7. Oxygen concentrators are designed for regular and prolonged use, providing a reliable source of oxygen for those who need it.
No, an oxygen concentrator does not produce 100% oxygen. It typically has oxygen with a 90% to 95% concentration by filtering and removing nitrogen from room air. Portable units generally generate oxygen flow rates of 4 to 10 litres per minute, while larger devices can produce up to 25 litres per minute and supply multiple anaesthesia machines if needed.
It’s important to note that the oxygen concentration provided by an oxygen concentrator is suitable for most medical applications and can effectively meet the oxygen requirements of patients. However, higher oxygen concentrations may be required for specialized medical procedures or specific conditions, which can be achieved through other methods such as liquid oxygen or oxygen cylinders.
The disadvantages of using oxygen cylinders include their limited oxygen supply compared to oxygen concentrators. Cylinders must be refilled, which can be inconvenient and challenging due to their weight. Transporting cylinders can also be challenging.
Additionally, proper handling and caution are crucial to prevent accidents. Overall, oxygen cylinders need a more continuous and unlimited supply of oxygen that oxygen concentrators offer, making them less convenient and requiring careful management.
Home oxygen concentrators typically have a longer lifespan compared to portable units. Home oxygen concentrators can last several years with regular usage and proper maintenance.
However, the lifespan of a home oxygen concentrator may vary depending on factors such as brand, model, usage patterns, and maintenance practices. Generally, with appropriate care, home oxygen concentrators can provide reliable oxygen therapy for thousands of hours, offering a considerable lifespan spanning several years.
While oxygen therapy is generally safe, some side effects can be associated with using an oxygen concentrator. These can include experiencing a dry or bloody nose, feelings of tiredness, and occasionally morning headaches. It’s important to note that oxygen is flammable, so avoiding smoking or using any flammable materials near the oxygen concentrator is crucial.
Additionally, if you use oxygen tanks, ensure that they are securely positioned and kept upright to minimize potential risks. As with any medical treatment, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare professional to address any concerns or questions regarding using an oxygen concentrator and ensure its safe and effective utilization.
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