Technical Specifications for Oxygen Concentrators. (WHO Medical Device Technical Series)
(2015; 68 pages) [French]


Oxygen concentrators are a suitable and favourable option for administering point-of-care oxygen in developing-country settings, especially where cylinders and piped systems are inappropriate or unavailable. Even where oxygen supplies are available at health facilities, patient access may be limited due to missing accessories, inadequate electricity and a shortage of trained staff...

Oxygen concentrators provide a sustainable and cost-effective source of medical oxygen to health facilities with reliable power. An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that draws in air from the environment and passes it through molecular sieve beds to concentrate room oxygen to therapeutic levels for delivery to the patient. Oxygen therapy for the treatment of hypoxaemia involves the delivery of concentrated oxygen to the patient to improve and stabilize blood oxygen saturation levels. It is critical to understand the indications and clinical use for oxygen. Guidelines for the safe administration of oxygen differ across broad applications; the required flow rate and concentration of oxygen delivered vary depending on the patient’s age and condition. Pulse oximetry should be used in conjunction with the oxygen concentrator to identify hypoxaemic patients and monitor oxygen therapy to promote the efficient and safe use of oxygen.

Despite the evidence of the importance of oxygen and the existence of appropriate oxygen supply technologies, utilization has been limited by inadequate maintenance, training, selection and procurement of high-quality devices. Many hypoxaemic patients in low-resource settings (LRS) still do not receive oxygen, thus improving access to oxygen therapy should be a priority. Recognizing the need to increase the availability of appropriate, safe and reliable oxygen concentrators in LRS, WHO collaborated with PATH to mobilize technical advisors, clinicians, clinical engineers and manufacturers to prepare this guidance document for the appropriate selection, procurement, utilization and maintenance of oxygen concentrators. This document also focuses on guidance for the appropriate use and maintenance of oxygen concentrators in an effort to increase the availability, management and quality of oxygen concentrators and, ultimately, to improve health outcomes in LRS. This document is intended to serve as a resource for the planning and provision of local and national oxygen concentrator systems for use by administrators, clinicians and technicians who are interested in improving access to oxygen therapy and reducing global mortality associated with hypoxaemia.

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