A History of Portable Oxygen Concentrators

Portable oxygen concentrators are an essential form of oxygen therapy today, but they haven’t always been on the market.

The use of oxygen in medicine has come a long way since its discovery more than 100 years ago. Today, we’re taking a look back into the history that led us to the many varieties of oxygen concentrators used by thousands of people every day.

The Early Days

The importance of oxygen therapy dates back to the 1800s; however, it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the use of oxygen in medicine became common. Scientists and doctors worked for over 100 years to understand how to use oxygen to help patients with varying illnesses and breathing disorders. The first-ever recorded use of oxygen in the medical field happened in 1885 by Dr. George E. Holtzapple, who used this procedure to treat a patient with pneumonia.

Oxygen Use in Medicine

One of the earliest uses of oxygen masks occurred during World War I. John Scott Haldane, who is considered one of the fathers of oxygen therapy, invented the gas mask to treat wounded soldiers who had been exposed to chlorine gasses.

By the mid-1900s, oxygen was being used in hospitals to treat an array of illnesses. Ambulances even started carrying a form of portable concentrators to utilize as patients were transported.

Home Oxygen

By the 1970s, oxygen therapy had made revolutionary leaps and bounds and home oxygen concentrators were invented. Up until this point, the medical use of oxygen therapy utilized very heavy oxygen cylinders that were not conducive for home use. Although the first home oxygen concentrators were still quite heavy-duty, this advancement was groundbreaking. These devices consisted of a large oxygen cylinder with a brass regulator.

Portable Oxygen Concentrators

As time went on, manufacturers were able to contrive new ways to make oxygen concentrators more mobile and user-friendly. Over the next 30 years, these products shrunk and became more accessible. Beginning in the 2000s, portable versions appeared on the market. These devices were revolutionary as they provided a higher quality of life to respiratory patients. Presently, portable oxygen concentrators come in a wide range of abilities and sizes that are even small enough to fit inside of a purse!

Use of Portable Oxygen Concentrators Today

Today, oxygen therapy is listed on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. Portable oxygen concentrators have changed the game by providing patients a way to breathe while on the go. These devices can operate on a battery or by being plugged into the wall, making them very convenient for transportation. Many of these units are even FAA-approved for air travel!

O2 Assist Portable Oxygen Concentrators

O2 Assist is proud to carry a variety of portable oxygen concentrators to meet your individualized respiratory needs. By purchasing an O2 concentrator under the advice of your healthcare professional, you can participate in oxygen therapy both at home and on the go using portable or stationary concentrators. If you’re interested in oxygen therapy, talk to your doctor to learn more. And when you’re ready for an O2 concentrator, O2 Assist is here to help. Contact us to learn more today!