Then and Now – Oxygen Improvements Over the Years

As with all medical science and technology, we have seen huge improvements in the way prescribed oxygen has been able to help those who need it. Even in the year, we've seen significant improvements and new innovations in oxygen concentrators that are now widely available to oxygen therapy patients. The exciting newest oxygen concentrators have some new and even seemingly subtle tweaks, but these changes have brought an even bigger amount of convenience to patients and physicians alike.

The newest and most innovative oxygen concentrators would be the SimplyFlo by Respirionics and the SeQual Equinox. Each year manufacturers come up with something different that trumps the previous releases, even in a small way.

For example, the Equinox is a high dose portable oxygen concentrator much like its cousin, the SeQual Eclipse 5, and has all the settings and features. However, the Equinox has two battery size options, and it features voice alerts for things like low battery and low power, and you have the option of setting these voice alerts in 8 different languages!

The Respirionics SimplyFlo is unique because of its size. It's a stationary concentrator, capable of delivering up to 2 LPM of continuous flow oxygen, and it's the size of a mid-sized portable oxygen concentrator!

A Brief History of Oxygen Therapy Technology

Oxygen therapy was not discovered overnight, or even in the course of 20 years, nor was there a contraption built right away that would even resemble the oxygen concentrators of today. It took the better part of the 20th century for us to discover it and devise a way for it to help those with low blood oxygen levels.

The concept started in the 1600s, when forward-thinking physicians figured out that a change in atmospheric pressure helped those with certain ailments. This was achieved using simple bellows (like those used by old blacksmiths) in a sealed chamber.

A French surgeon named Fontaine came up with a law that states that a gas in its liquid form was equal to the gaseous state, as long as no chemical reactions occurred. In the early 1900s, the hyperbaric chamber was being used, and in the 30s, oxygen therapy was being used to treat decompression sickness, caused by deep sea diving and being down in the coal mines.

From the 1950s to the 70s, hyperbaric oxygen was being used to treat certain cardiovascular diseases, but became less popular with the improvements of surgical procedures to treat those ailments. Since then, however, oxygen therapy for those with lung diseases has grown in leaps and bounds.

What kind of innovations in oxygen therapy technology can we expect to see in 5 years?

At this rate, you can expect to see stationary oxygen concentrators becoming smaller and smaller, while being able to deliver higher and higher doses of continuous flow oxygen. It's like how mobile phones were huge 25 years ago, and now they are thin, small and light. The same progression in technology can be applied to all electronics, including the oxygen concentrators.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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