Evaluation of Oxygen Concentrators and Chemical Oxygen Generators at Altitude and Temperature Extremes
Oxygen cylinders are heavy and present a number of hazards, and liquid oxygen is too heavy and cumbersome to be used in far forward environments. Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) and chemical oxygen generators (COGs) have been proposed as a solution. We evaluated 3 commercially available POCs and 3 COGs in a laboratory setting. Altitude testing was done at sea level and 8,000, 16,000, and 22,000 ft. Temperature extreme testing was performed after storing devices at 60°C and -35°C for 24 hours. Mean FIO2 decreased after storage at -35°C with Eclipse and iGo POCs and also at the higher volumes after storage at 60°C with the Eclipse. The iGo ceased to operate at 16,000 ft, but the Eclipse and Saros were unaffected by altitude. Oxygen flow, duration of operation, and total oxygen volume varied between COGs and within the same device type. Output decreased after storage at -35°C, but increased at each altitude as compared to sea level. This study showed significant differences in the performance of POCs and COGs after storage at temperature extremes and with the COGs at altitude. Clinicians must understand the performance characteristics of devices in all potential environments.
Authors: Blakeman TC1, Rodriquez D Jr2, Britton TJ2, Johannigman JA1, Petro MC2, Branson RD1.
1Division of Trauma and Critical Care, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, 231 Albert Sabin Way, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0558.
2United States Air Force, Cincinnati C-STARS, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, 234 Goodman Street, Cincinnati, OH 45219.