Oxygen therapy, or the administration of medical oxygen, has increasingly been used to treat various medical conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, and cystic fibrosis. Oxygen therapy is ideal for most patients who can’t receive adequate oxygen volumes from regular breathing. It also helps those who need high concentrations of oxygen for various reasons.
One of the major drivers of hyperbaric chamber sales is the increasing preference and shift from traditional cylinder-based oxygen tanks to portable devices. There’s also a growing preference for portable oxygen units over stationary concentrators. Below are a few oxygen therapy trends and outlooks for 2023 and beyond.
COVID-19’s Impact on Demand for Oxygen Therapy
While the incidence rates of the pandemic have significantly declined, oxygen therapy was a major treatment option for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Oxygen therapy at high rates was a vital treatment because the disease directly affected the patients’ lungs and breathing abilities.
Interestingly, the market shift from stationary to portable oxygen concentrators slightly slowed in 2020. This is partly because healthcare providers allocated more resources and focused on availing less-costly stationary oxygen cylinders. Very few patients also required portable oxygen devices, thanks to worldwide lockdown measures and stay-at-home orders designed to contain the pandemic.
However, the demand for portable oxygen devices is poised to increase for various reasons. Stationary concentrators witnessed increased demand in 2020 because they were effective in most high-risk situations. However, there’s an increase in the number of aging adults developing respiratory conditions, subsequently increasing the demand for oxygen therapy.
An estimated sixteen million people suffer from COPD, with millions still undiagnosed. Patients with COPD are also prone to other severe respiratory issues, including COVID-19, which has increased the adoption of oxygen therapy and the introduction of advanced delivery methods, such as nasal therapies.
Increased Demand for Remote Oxygen Therapy Monitoring
Besides increasing the oxygen demand, the pandemic also made it crucial to have home-based oxygen monitoring devices. Remote oxygen monitoring devices connect oxygen equipment with smartphone apps. This allows clinicians to monitor various aspects of oxygen therapy remotely.
The trend of improved health data transmission will also grow exponentially with the introduction of wearable technologies, wireless 5G networks, and advances in photoplethysmography sensors. PPG sensors are non-invasive devices that use photodetectors to measure variations in blood. These sensors are positioned at specific body parts, such as fingertips, forehead, and earlobes.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators Will Overtake Cylinders
Increased preference for oxygen concentrators over traditional cylinders is a principal trend in the oxygen therapy realm. For starters, oxygen concentrators filter the readily available room air to generate medical oxygen. On the other hand, cylinders rely on limited stored oxygen. Healthcare personnel and patients certainly prefer compact and long-lasting oxygen sources offered by portable oxygen concentrators.
Initial portable oxygen therapy equipment had low therapy adherence, probably because patients didn’t want to lug around bulky oxygen systems. However, modern technologies, specifically the introduction of lithium-ion batteries and better oxygen-storing techniques, have significantly improved patient adherence to portable home oxygen solutions.
Modern portable oxygen concentrators provide unmatched freedom to oxygen-dependent patients. The latest devices have batteries that last between eight and 13 hours, depending on the patient’s flow settings. They also weigh a mere five to seven pounds, and patients can easily swap depleted batteries or plug the concentrator into an AC or DC power source. Portable oxygen manufacturers are currently developing silent concentrator motors to reduce the noise produced by these concentrators, especially when used in confined areas.
Increased Adoption of High-flow Nasal Oxygen Therapy
High-flow nasal oxygen therapy typically involves delivering high rates of dehumidified oxygen to needy patients. This option was initially introduced to improve gaseous exchange and reduce the risk of exertion. Modern specialized high-flow nasal devices can deliver up to 60Lmin, a significant improvement from the traditional devices that deliver between 1 and 10Lmin.
The demand for nasal oxygen therapy exploded in 2020 during the peak period of COVID-19. Nasal therapy devices became an imperative alternative for oxygen administration because of COVIDs ability to oxygenate. Patients also prefer nasal therapies because they are comfortable and improve compliance. As the use of this oxygen delivery method grows, the market will likely thrive, especially in the face of unforeseen complications of COVID-19.
The oxygen therapy realm, especially the shift from oxygen cylinders to portable concentrators and nasal therapy devices, will certainly grow. Home oxygen therapies will also increase, especially among patients who are on long-term oxygen therapy. It is a cost-effective method of acquiring oxygen and improves the patient’s quality of life.