Oxygen Conserver

Everything there is to know about an oxygen conserver

Oxygen, a gas we use for breathing, is necessary to sustain life and is required for normal cell metabolism. People with breathing disorders face the problem of getting enough air. There is a therapy to help people to supply the wrath of air to breathe. This therapy is also useful in the case of a low level of Oxygen (O2) in the blood, cluster headache, and to lessen the carbon monoxide toxicity. 

An oxygen conserver is a device used for the controlled flow of air from the source of O2 to the patient. This device consists of an inlet connected to the supply and an outlet that supplies gas to the patient. Also, a mass flow sensor detects the patient’s inhalation and a valve that controls O2, which provides the pulse of O2 when detecting inhalation.

An oxygen conserver is beneficial as it releases the stored gas only when the patient inhales, so this tool assists the patient in using the stored air supply for a long time. It also avoids the constant airflow supply into the nostrils, bringing comfort to the patient of respiratory issues. An oxygen conserver only releases O2 during inhalation. It extends supply time due to its saving ratio that lasts three times longer than the cylinder sans device. 

OCDs revolutionized the oxygen therapy system; this essential medical tool not only offers benefits to patients but also helps the manufacturer by reducing the frequency of cylinders, deliveries, and refills. In short, these conservers are not the ultimate solution for every patient, but they make gas therapy portable, efficient, and less intrusive. This article will explain the history, uses, specifications, and brands of regulators.

History of oxygen therapy and oxygen conservers

Oxygenated concentrators date back to the 1800s. About 100 years after the discovery of O2 atom, in 1885, the first-ever use of this colorless gas for medical purposes was documented. Dr. George Holtzapple was the person who used Oxygenated air for the treatment of pneumonia. After two years of his findings, a product that stored this gas for intermitted use was invented.

In 1917 Jon Scott Haldane invented the gas mask that was used for the protection and treatment of armed forces infected by chlorine. In the 1970s, people with respiratory diseases could have their concentrators for therapy in their homes. It was an extraordinary advancement in therapy as this concentrator can purify air within itself. However, this instrument was quite heavy and oversized. 

In 2006, these concentrators were shrunk to smaller sizes, and the manufacturers made them portable. Nowadays, these concentrators are available in small enough sizes to fit in a purse easily. These concentrators can supply output up to 10,000 ml/ minute with a battery time of 10 hours and weigh less than 3 pounds. Hence, these concentrators have regulators that only supply air from a source when demanded, which prevents wastage of gas compared to its continuous supply. These instruments can save up to 50% of stored air.

Uses of oxygen conservers

Oxygen conservers are mainly used to manage the O2 flow. This O2 can be in liquid or gas state, from the cylinder to the tubing and finally to the face mask or nasal cannula used by the respiratory disease patient. Chronic and acute conditions that utilize oxygen therapy for treatment include

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Obstructive apnea
  • Asthma 
  • Pneumonia 
  • Heart disorders
  • During medical emergency
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Major trauma 

This treatment is not always beneficial if this gas is used excessively or inappropriately. It can cause severe damage to other organs, and most prominently, to the lungs. A higher concentration of this gas for an extensive period generates a large number of free radicals. These radicals cause damage to membranes, proteins, and cell structures in the lungs. 

Complications of using oxygen conservers

1. Power source:

Pneumatic devices that use gas pressure as the supply system do not need an outside power source. Therefore, they do not require a power source to be changed and checked regularly. But electronic conserving devices are mainly operated by batteries, and there is a requirement to check the battery status or change the battery for the continuation of work. All electronic conserving devices need a power source to operate.

2. Operating pressure of the cylinder

Oxygen conservers work efficiently for a specific cylinder operating pressure. This pressure ranges from 500psi to 2000psi. Air delivery volume changes with the change in the pressure of the tank. This change in volume is not prominent, but it should be noted. Some OCDs deliver lower volume at 500psi than others with 2000psi pressure.

3. Operation testing of conserving devices

It is quite difficult for the user to see if the device is working adequately as these devices do not deliver gas volume as continuous flow O2, and one cannot use a liter meter to check the work rate. Pulse meter, which is a volume measuring device, is used for operational testing. 

4. Lumen cannula

Most pneumatic conserving devices utilize dual lumen cannula. One lumen senses breathing, and the other delivers oxygenated air on serving. Some also use a single lumen cannula. But electronic devices only use single lumen cannula. Some canula has straight tips, and others have flared tips, and this design difference can affect the amount of oxygenated air delivered to the patient.

5. Humidity 

In the presence of in-line humidifiers, one cannot use OCDs as in the presence of moisture; they will not be adequately triggered.

6. Long tubing

Long tubing is used for the delivery of stored gas that causes slow gas transportation.

General specifications of oxygen conserving devices

There are several designs of O2 conserving devices (OCD) currently available in the market. Mainly, there are two types of OCDs: 

  1. Electronic conserver (EC)
  2. Pneumatic conserver (PC) 

Let us go through some of them in a bit of detail.

1. 0XYMO- EC:

OXYMO, a digital EOC, is a portable device that offers patients specific air dosage and conservation needs.

Specifications

  • The dosage range of this device is from 0.5 to 9.5 L with minimum delay.
  • It takes on Pressure supply at 1.5 +0.1 bar either from liquid, gas, standard, or specific regulator.
  • This instrument comes with alarms for battery depletion, decreased air supply, etc.
  • OXYMO can be powered in various ways through a battery or adapter.
  • Overall Dimensions of unit are 87 x 66 x 25 mm.

2. ECO LITE 4000- EC

ECO LITE 4000 is also an electrical conserver that provides efficient and patient-friendly long-term therapy.

It saves air up to 10 times as compared to continuous flow therapy.

Specifications

  • The maximum Dosage range of this device is up to 8 L/min.
  • Supply cylinder pressure should be 1.6 to 5 bar.
  • This device also has alarms for low battery, no air, and no breathing.
  • The battery can last for 200 hours
  • Dimensions of a unit are 10 H x 8.5 W x 3.2 D cm

3. Escort Pulse- PC

Escort pulse regulator links oxygen regulators with a conserving device that delivers the prescribed dose of air by the breath of the patient. 

Specifications

  • It is made up of lightweight aluminum with internal components made up of brass.
  • Escort pulse initial flow rate is 0.25L/ min
  • This device Does not require batteries and operates in pulse flow or continuous flow.
  • It also contains 12 position flow control knob that is soft in touch

How oxygen conservers work

An oxygen conserver consists of a body that contains a cavity and the main diaphragm. The diaphragm splits the hole into two chambers. The first Inlet passage delivers O2 from the supply to the first chamber. Similarly, the second inlet delivers O2 from the supply to the second chamber. There is an outlet passage that gives O2 from the chamber to the patient, and there is a pressure-sensitive valve that allows the flow-through vent passaging when a person inhales. Moreover, it prevents flow when a person exhales. Stored air is continuously delivered to the patient via the outlet valve when valving is in continuous flow mode.

Three best regulators and their brands

Model

Brand

Oxygen conserving regulator by Responsive Respiratory

Responsive Respiratory

EMS flow set oxygen regulator by Responsive Respiratory

Responsive Respiratory

Mada’s M series oxygen mini-click regulators

Mada Medical

Conclusion

An oxygen conserver provides effective and less intrusive therapy for respiratory diseases. As a continuous supply of O2 causes discomfort for the patient, oxygen conservers provide oxygen only during inhalation, avoiding constant airflow. The regulators also save the stored air wastage and reduce the frequencies of deliveries as well as refills.