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Oxygen Generators & CPAP Machines: What’s the Difference?

Many individuals suffer from breathing problems that would have caused them a great deal of discomfort in the past. Still, we need to keep in mind that technology has advanced at a breakneck pace in recent years. This has resulted in the development of numerous methods to treat respiratory and sleep-related conditions such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Oxygen Generators & CPAP Machine Oxygen Generators & CPAP Machine

One of the most common strategies for OSA is to employ the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. However, you might have also heard of an oxygen generator.

These two mechanisms are often confused due to the fact that they are both intended to alleviate specific respiratory conditions. Let us take a look at both in greater detail before contrasting some of their major differences.

CPAP Machines: How do They Function and What do They Address?

As the name suggests, CPAP machines are designed to provide a continuous supply of air at a higher pressure. This is often required by those who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea, as their airways will remain open while sleeping. They are able to obtain a sound night of rest and other issues such as choking or waking up out of breath can be dramatically reduced.

Without getting overly technical, a CPAP machine will first draw in air from the ambient environment through the use of a motor. This air is then compressed to a higher pressure and directed towards your nose and mouth via a tube used in combination with a face mask.

These machines are extremely quiet and some are even portable; ideal if you plan on travelling in the near future. Certain models are likewise able to increase the humidity levels of the air should you suffer from a dry nose or throat. CPAP machines are specifically engineered to treat sleep apnoea and (with the help of a specialist) their pressure can be adjusted in order to accommodate the severity of your OSA.

What’s an Oxygen Concentration Machine?

Sometimes known as an oxygen concentrator, this machine will draw in air from the local environment and cause it to be passed through a number of filters.
The air quality associated with this method is normally between 87 per cent and 93 per cent pure oxygen.

A flexible tube runs from the machine into the nose of the user (you may have seen these units within hospitals or on recovery wards). These machines are normally quite bulky due to the fact that they require the presence of other equipment such as electronic monitoring systems, compressors and filters. They also contain a cooling element to prevent the compressor from overheating.

To be clear, oxygen concentrarors are generally not used to alleviate the symptoms associated with OSA. They are rather administered to
those who may be suffering from chronic respiratory conditions. A handful of common ailments include:

  • COPD
  • Lung cancer
  • Emphysema
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pneumonia

In other words, their primary purpose is to decrease the amount of nitrogen delivered to the patient and to increase the level of oxygen that reaches his or her blood supply. This arises from the fact that their lungs (as opposed to their airway) are no longer capable of extracting oxygen via natural means.

Putting it All Together: Drawing the Right Conclusions

The bottom line is that each of these units is intended to provide relief from specific respiratory conditions. While they do indeed share some similarities in common, there are also many important differences to highlight.

This is why it is prudent to seek the advice of a trained medical professional. He or she will be able to determine what is the best option for your unique requirements; allowing you to breathe easy and to obtain a sound night of sleep.

To order the Intus At-Home Sleep Test: https://www.sleeptest.co.uk/product/in-home-sleep-test/

To shop for the highest-quality selection of CPAP devices: https://www.cpap.co.uk/shop.html

Author: Jenny Hall

About author: Jenny Hall is a clinical manager at Baywater Healthcare. She has extensive specialist clinical experience from Regional Nurse Adviser through to Senior Nurse Adviser, Service Lead and Contract Manager. She has provided leadership for the Regional Nurse Advisers ensuring best practice, implementation of National Guidance and Clinical Governance. Ms. Hall has worked with Baywater Healthcare since 2013, with leadership responsibility in delivering Home Oxygen and Long-Term Conditions services. Her clinical team focuses on delivering services closer to home which offer the NHS value with optimum clinical outcomes. Previously, Ms. Hall provided leadership to Regional Nurse Advisors with Air Products, a company providing home oxygen services to Wales, East Midlands and North London. She has served as a Senior COPD National Trainer and Nurse Adviser COPD Response with Innovex, ensuring highest competencies were maintained and best practices delivered. Ms. Hall has a Ba Honours Degree as a Registered General Nurse from Oxford Brookes University and MSc Health Studies from Staffordshire University. She completed Respiratory Education and Training Courses and the Edinburgh Sleep Course. Jenny Hall’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenny-hall-34331b60/

2 thoughts on “Oxygen Generators & CPAP Machines: What’s the Difference?”

  • Amanda Woodman
    Amanda Woodman April 1, 2020 at 12:21 am

    My boyfriend. Is. Living with sleep apnea I London. It. Has been made. News. In one. Of our papers that we may have a power cut on top of. Covid19 I'm am trying to locate a back up generator. For. Him. You can never get through to the sleep. Apnea dept. In London, and they are very unhelpful 07763542643

    • Giny Humbles

      Hi Amanda,

      The Tracer Batteries come in two capacities. If you require a battery that can power your CPAP machine for around double the amount of nights as the compact battery can, then the Tracer Ultra Battery would be your most suitable option. However, please bare in mind that the Tracer Ultra Battery is intended for those wishing to use their CPAP machine for up to 4 nights away from mains power, and it does not meet airline guidelines.
      Tracer 12V Compact CPAP Battery Pack, £139.00: https://www.cpap.co.uk/tracer-compact-12v-cpap-battery-pack.html
      Tracer 12V Ultra CPAP Battery Pack, £285.00: https://www.cpap.co.uk/tracer-12v-ultra-cpap-battery-pack.html

      You will need the appropriate power adapter to connect the Tracer 12V Compact CPAP Battery Pack to your CPAP machine.

      Please do not hesitate to let us know if you need any further information.


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