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Explained: What is liquid oxygen? When is it used for the treatment of Covid? | India News

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NEW DELHI: The second massive wave of the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed another grim milestone as India reported nearly 4.12 lakh of new cases on Thursday, even as demand for medical oxygen increased sevenfold.
Hospitals in several states are reeling from shortages of medical oxygen and beds amid an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases.
Most hospitals are not equipped with separate plants that generate oxygen directly for patients. As a result, hospitals generally rely on liquid oxygen, which can be stored in cylinders and transported by tanker trucks. But amid the surge, supplies in the hardest hit places, including New Delhi, are being critically depleted.

Explained: What is liquid oxygen? When is it used for the treatment of Covid? | India News

What is liquid oxygen and why is it in such high demand?
Liquid oxygen is crucial for the treatment of seriously ill patients with Covid-19, as the disease affects the functioning of the lungs. Shortness of breath or shortness of breath is one of the most common symptoms in severe Covid-19 patients. It also makes it difficult to supply oxygen to various parts of the body. Therefore, they need oxygen therapy, which will be delivered through medical oxygen.
One of the ways this oxygen can be delivered is through Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO). It is high purity oxygen that is used for medical treatments and is developed for use in the human body.

Explained: What is liquid oxygen? When is it used for the treatment of Covid? | India News

Why in a liquid state?
Due to its low melting and boiling points, oxygen is in a gaseous state at room temperature. The liquefaction allows to store large volumes and facilitate transport.

How is liquid medical oxygen produced?
The most common production method is oxygen separation in what are known as Air Separation Units or ASUs. They are plants that separate large volumes of gases. They use a method called the Fractional Distillation Method to produce pure oxygen from atmospheric air.
In this method, gases from the air are separated into various components after being cooled to a liquid state and then the liquid oxygen is removed. The resulting mixture of oxygen and argon is drained, decompressed, and passed through a second low pressure distillation vessel for further purification.

Explained: What is liquid oxygen? When is it used for the treatment of Covid? | India News

Which then gives purified liquid oxygen as the final outlet, which is then transported by cryogenic containers. Cryogenic liquid containers are specially designed for the safe and economical transport and storage of liquefied gases at cryogenic temperatures below –90 ° C. These containers are highly insulated, in which liquid gases are stored at very low temperatures.
When does a patient with Covid-19 need liquid oxygen?
Patients whose oxygen saturation falls below 90% require oxygen support, but warning signs should be watched. There is a simple test called a walk test. Covid patients must be made to walk for six minutes. Your oxygen levels should be measured before starting the hike and after finishing it. If they are out of breath or have to lie down and cannot finish their six-minute walks, it is a sign that they need to be hospitalized and may need oxygen.

Explained: What is liquid oxygen? When is it used for the treatment of Covid? | India News

If the oxygen level drops more than three percentage points, say from 96% to 93% due to that six minute walk, it is a warning sign that the effect on the lungs is significant enough that it is likely to get worse.
What is the government doing to increase liquid oxygen production?
The Center has increased medical oxygen supply by more than 20% as it seeks to establish 551 dedicated medical oxygen generation plants in public health facilities at district headquarters, using funds from PM-Cares.
Industries have been ordered to restrict the use of liquid oxygen, including existing stocks, and divert it for medical purposes. This is expected to add around 1,500 tonnes to the daily supply.
India is also receiving oxygen from countries around the world in the form of oxygen cylinders, concentrators.

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