New Delhi: The country is reeling from the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, there is an alarming increase in the number of active cases due to the increase of infections. As a result, our public health infrastructure is under stress and the demand for oxygen concentrators has increased. So let’s quickly find out what exactly are oxygen concentrators, when are they needed and how are they used or not.
To survive we need a constant supply of oxygen, which flows from our lungs to various cells of the body. Covid-19 is a respiratory disease that affects our lungs and can cause the amount of oxygen in the body to fall to dangerous levels. In such a situation, in order to increase the oxygen level in the body to a medically acceptable level, we need to give therapeutic oxygen therapy using oxygen.
Oxygen levels in the body are measured as ‘oxygen saturation’ which is abbreviated as ‘SPO-two’. It is a measure of the amount of hemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood. Oxygen saturation in the artery of a healthy person with normal lungs is 95: 100.
According to the World Health Organization’s training manual on pulse oximetry, if the oxygen saturation is 94 or less, the patient needs to be treated quickly. If the saturation falls below 90, it is considered a medical emergency.
According to the latest medical guidance for the management of adult patients of Covid-19 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there is a need to hospitalize the patient if there is oxygen saturation of 93 ° or less on room air, whereas less than 90% of saturation is required. It is imperative to place the patient in the ICU in the condition. In view of the situation arising due to the second wave of epidemics, we have to do whatever is best to maintain the oxygen level of the patient in the event of delay or inability to enter the hospital according to the clinical management protocol. needed.
How does an oxygen concentrator work?
We know that the atmosphere air contains about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. The oxygen concentrator is a simple device that does exactly what its name expresses. These devices take the air from the atmosphere and filter nitrogen out of it and throw it away by increasing the oxygen densely.
These oxygen concentrators supply oxygen needed for the body in the same way as oxygen tanks or cylinders. Through a cannula (cannula), oxygen mask or nasal tubes. The difference is that, while cylinders need to be refilled frequently, oxygen concentrators can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
So, who can use them, and when?
Does this mean that anyone who finds their oxygen levels below acceptable levels can use a concentrator and help themselves? The answer is absolutely not.
Talking to PIB on the correct use of the concentrator, B.C. J. Professor and Head of Department of Anesthesia Department of Medical College, Pune, Prof. Sanyogita Naik stated that “Oxygen concentrator can be used only in limited cases of Covid-19. That too when the patient experiences a drop in oxygen levels and the need to take oxygen from outside is maximum 5 liters per minute. ”
He stated that “oxygen concentrators are also very useful for patients experiencing post-cavid complications who require oxygen therapy.”
Can we use them ourselves?
The answer is not at all. Speaking at a webinar organized by PIB on 30 April, Dr. Chaitanya H. Balakrishnan, Kovid Co-ordinator of St. John’s Medical College Hospital, Bangalore, made it very clear that using oxygen concentrator without medical guidance can be extremely harmful. . “Patients with less than 94 percent oxygen saturation in pneumonia born with Kovid-19 may benefit from oxygen supplementation with supplemental oxygen. But only until he is hospitalized. However, doing so without the appropriate medical advice can be harmful for patients who use it. ”
Dr. Chaitanya said, “The oxygen concentrator can be beneficial until you get a bed in the hospital, but certainly not without guidance from a thoracic doctor or internal medicine specialist.” It also depends on how the patient’s lung condition is already. “
Pro. Sanyogita also says that both the purchase and use of the concentrator should be done on the basis of a medical doctor’s prescription. Depending on the capacity, the oxygen concentrator costs upwards of Rs 30,000.
Oxygen concentrators market in India
India has seen a big boom in the manufacture and sale of oxygen concentrators. Apart from multinational brands, several Indian start-ups funded under the ‘Center for Augmenting War with Covid 19 Health Crisis’ program of the Department of Science and Technology have also developed efficient and cost-effective oxygen concentrators.
In view of their utility during the second wave of Covid epidemic, one lakh oxygen concentrators are being purchased through the PM Cares Fund.