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Home oxygen concentrators for COVID-19 are dangerous, experts warn

» ProSalud

Images of the making of a handmade device that promises to help coronavirus patients spread on Mexican social networks. Specialists are clear in recommending against its use.

Home hubs give a false sense of security

Specialists estimate that, due to the complexity with which an oxygen concentrator works, its domestic manufacture is not possible and warn that the mechanisms shown on social networks lack the performance required by a patient with low levels of oxygen in the blood. so it can generate a false sense of security.

» ProSalud

A concentrator, according to technical specifications published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016, is designed “to concentrate oxygen from ambient air” and deliver it to the patient with hypoxemia, that is, with low levels of oxygen in the body. blood.

The device separates oxygen from nitrogen using filters, explained Nicolás Roux, head of Rehabilitation and Respiratory Care at the Italian Hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina. COVID-19 is one of the diseases that “affects the ability of the lungs to carry out correct gas exchange, that is, to eliminate carbon dioxide and receive oxygen,” added Roux.

The coronavirus "causes pneumonia, an infection that inflames one or both lungs and can fill with fluid or purulent material (...) That is why the patient has shortness of breath and low oxygenation," said Ramón Aguilar, president of Mexico. of the Latin American Society of Respiratory Care.

The reason for giving oxygen, Aguilar explained, is to help the areas of the lungs without fluid or purulent material to oxygenate better and reduce or eliminate shortness of breath, and thus reduce the work of the heart.

It can "lead to death"

“Due to the complexity of its operation and because it is equipment for medicinal use, it is not possible to manufacture it at home,” warned Roux.

For his part, Aguilar explained that the devices shown on social networks circulate air with an oxygen concentration identical to that of the environment, approximately 21%, while a patient with hypoxemia requires levels of 90%. In its technical specifications for these devices, the WHO establishes a standard concentration greater than 82%.

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Yair Ramirez
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