Oxygen concentrator of what calibre suits COVID-19 patients?

Oxygen generator
Ninty per cent oxygen concentration is a must for all COVID-19 patients. Image courtesy: Jade ThaiCatwalk/Shutterstock

New Delhi: Amid rush for buying oxygen concentrators (OCs), industry body India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA) on Thursday came out with recommendation that the breathing device weighing 15-19 kg and having minimum 5 litre per minute oxygen flow is suited for COVID-19 patients.

The ICEA, whose members include Apple, Foxconn, Wistron, Vivo, Oppo and Lava, has come up with guidelines that suggest that the heavier the OC, the better it will be because of the weight of the compressor inside.

ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo told PTI that the COVID-19 patients require 90 per cent oxygen concentration at 1-5 litre per litre flow, and above 10 litres when they are suffering with acute respiratory discomfort.

"Ninty per cent oxygen concentration is a must for all COVID-19 patients, below which the acute respiratory issues pitche in. The ideal concentrator characteristic is its oxygen production capacity maintaining the purity of oxygen more than 90 per cent at all flow levels.

"The recommended concentrator for COVID-19 patients will be of 15-19 kg weight, which can give 90 per cent purity oxygen with an output flow of up to minimum 5 litre," Mohindroo said.

According to ICEA, categorisation of oxygen concentrators can be done into small (5 to 10 kg) oxygen concentrators suitable for COPD patients, medium (15 to 19 kg) and large (20kg and above) oxygen concentrators that are suitable for critical care and for COVID-19 patients.

"Small (5 to 10 kg) oxygen concentrator at higher flows gives output of 30 per cent oxygen means it's just blowing air, which will not solve the purpose for the COVID-19 patients," Mohindroo said.

The buyers guidelines said that anyone buying an oxygen concentrator should check its specification and if 90-30 per cent or 1 litre per minute, 2 L per minute is mentioned then it means 90 per cent oxygen is available only at 1 litre flow or 2 litre flow, respectively; and on higher flows, oxygen drops to 30 per cent.

A small OC at high flow will be able to deliver only 30 per cent oxygen and the rest will be other atmospheric air because of constraints in its compressor.

ICEA guidelines suggest that a 20 kg and above oxygen concentrator will have a large compressor that can give an output of 90 per cent oxygen from 1 litre to 10 litre flow rate. And, it said it is ideal for COVID-19 and critical care patients and for dual patients to use the same machine with accessories.

The guidelines from ICEA have been issued following rush for OC due to the shortage of oxygen cylinders. Many people are unaware of differentiating between good- and low-quality OC as it is a new product for many users.

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