Oxygen Analyzer

Everything there is to know about an oxygen analyzer

Oxygen analyzers are special tools that measure oxygen levels in different environments, such as in exhaled air or patients' blood. Some of them may find their place in the medical laboratory, but there are lots of models developed for personal use. 

Mostly, measuring those gas levels in human blood needs many more complicated machines from an engineering point of view. This is the primary reason why accurate blood oxygen analyzers are mostly found only in different laboratories.

However, there are many new, not thoroughly investigated apparatuses that claim to have the possibility of analyzing the oxygen level in blood without direct contact with the liquid. 

History of oxygen analyzers

The primary invention behind the creation of the whole variations of the analyzers was the oxygen sensor (also known as the lambda sensor) in the second part of the 1960s by Robert Bosch GmbH, the guidance of Dr. Günter Bauman.

That invention allows measuring gas levels both in gases and fluids. But, as the technology was still far from the ideal, the introduction of the first available for customers lambda probe happened only in 1976. Saab and Volvo became the first customers until 1993 when those sensors became a mandatory component of many machines.

Nowadays, this technology is also widely used in different types of gas analyzers. Although some researches showed that their results might significantly vary with results obtained by other laboratory methods, many doctors trust them and use them every day.

Indications for use

People who suffer from different chronic respiratory pathologies and a few types of cardiovascular pathologies are mostly the ones to use oxygen analyzers. The primary indicator that points the human to think about obtaining such a tool is dyspnea, which appears after non-intensive physical load. The main pathologies that may lead to that symptom are:

  • Chronic cardiovascular failure;
  • Сoronary heart disease;
  • Various types of cardiopathies;
  • Heart dilatation;
  • Chronic respiratory failure;
  • Tuberculosis;
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • Bronchial asthma;
  • Multiple types of demodicosis;
  • Various types of pneumonitis;
  • Few kinds of bronchitis;

Nowadays, there are lots of different types of oxygen analyzers. That's why a person needs to understand whether he or she needs to measure the level of O2 in his blood or exhaled air. The indication for blood measurement is for people with various cardiovascular pathology. And patients with different respiratory issues more often need measuring in the air.

It is essential to determine the O2 level in the blood of the patients that are unconscious or even just connected to an artificial respiration apparatus. That will help to track down their respiratory system condition and to understand whether their alveolar tree is still not working correctly or functions have restored.

Sometimes when the patient is breathing only on the artificial respiration apparatus, he also gains a clean air and a gas mixture of standard air and O2. In such cases, it is also vital to measure oxygen saturation. Hyperoxygenation may often occur, which can lead to numerous metabolic and general functional disorders.

The oxygen analyzers working on different scientifically unproven technologies, such as zirconium-based, may be used to relieve patients' anxiety levels who suffer from hypochondria. So, generally, they can find their places in the general practitioners, therapists, and even psychiatrists' practices.

The potential indications for using oxygen analyzers are almost limitless, so many more exist. Mostly, in every branch of medicine, a situation may occur at least once when specialists will need to measure the patient's oxygen level. That's why we can probably say that those devices may be useful it any medical practice.

Complications of using an oxygen analyzer

Laboratory tools are usually used by a trained professional, so generally, there are no significant issues during their usage. The problems mostly occur when the patient begins to use them after a stationary treatment. 

Usually, a doctor needs to explain to patients how to use them first. Many patients who perform the procedure of analysis for the first time do not understand how the process goes. And in the future, it may lead to getting consistently false results. And that can potentially become a reason for an unpredicted worsening of an individual's state.

Using different low-quality devices by patients that need serious monitoring, can also become a reason for unpredicted worsening. Even though the oxygen analyzers for pulse oximetry are cheap and show high correlation levels with other laboratory methods, there are many different fakes on the market that can potentially do lots of harm.

General Specification 

As there are many different types of oxygen analyzers, it's challenging to create a list of general specification, that includes all parameters of their variety. For example, apparatuses that determine oxygenation of blood have a whole different principle from exhausted air oximeters. That's why here you can see the specifications of the most simple pulse oximeter:

  • Battery specifications: 
    • Type - lead-acid
    • Charged in - less than six hours
    • Rechargeable - yes
    • Lifetime - up 4-5 h of persistent use
  • Display specifications
    • Display sizes - at least 10 mm
    • Pulse rate - included
    • Sp02 - included
    • Pulse strength - scaled logarithmically
    • Segments number - at least 8
  • Sensors specifications
    • Reusable - all
    • Accuracy for 02 - +- 2% at the 70-100>#/p###
    • Averaging - average from 4 to 16 pulse beats
    • Pulse rate - up to 280 beats per minute
    • Pulse rate accuracy - up to +- 2% at the 30-280 bpm

It's good to remember that even though the pulse oximetry showed good results and correlations with other laboratory methods of determining the O2 level, there are still lots of problems, questions, and challenges connected with how they work.

How They Work

To briefly explain how oxygen analyzers work, we need to understand that there are six main classes of gas analyzers. Each of the categories has its unique main working principle and basis with totally different physical processes and laws. Those six main classes are the following:

  • Paramagnetic
  • Zirconium type
  • Fuel cell
  • Oxygen electrodes
  • Mass spectrometer
  • Raman spectrograph

Naturally, the working processes of each type of those devices vary a lot. And each has its own strong and weak sides. For example, a mass spectrometer analyses the whole fluid or gas flow spectrum and shows the overall capacity of oxygen in the substance. The main problem is that it can't determine whether this is O2 or O- radicals, which often results in a high interference level.

Market leaders

As there is a massive variety of different tools on the market nowadays, and there are lots of different kinds and models selling, it seems pretty hard to choose the best of them. Still, after performing complex market research, we determined best-selling devices with the highest possible quality. Among the leaders are:

  • D. O. Analyze
  • Beckman
  • Illinois Instrumental
  • MAXO2
  • Mbraun
  • Delta
  • Teledyne
  • MOCON
  • MSA Medical Products

In this list, we didn't mention any manufacturers and distributors of devices for personal use. They are mostly low-quality, often break, and bring in the process of determinations of lots of various interferences, which makes the whole measuring process unobjective not only for cheap models for personal use but almost for any price category of those tools.

Conclusion

Oxygen analyzers are apparatuses used for estimating the O2 level in both liquids and gases. There are five main types of tools available nowadays for medical use and individual patient's use.

The correlation between indicators obtained while using those tools and other laboratory methods used to estimate the levels of gas saturation varies greatly depending on the initial testing substance, the exact type of the instrument, the patient's condition, and many other factors.

Oxygen analyzers are fundamental in the practice of almost any specialist in the medical field. There is still a lot more of totally new and useful information about the internal environment, obtained from the indications of gas saturations in both fluid and gaseous substances.