The medical field uses an array of gasses. Each of these has its quality and purpose. In hospital settings, medical gases are considered a drug. The goal of using these gases is to help improve a patient’s health.
While it is possible to learn more about these medical gasses at mtausa.com, the most commonly used types of gas and their uses can also be found here.
Oxygen is used for patients who have trouble breathing. The oxygen gas administered will help these individuals breathe easier.
For anesthetic purposes, oxygen can be used for several conditions, including carbon monoxide poisoning, severe hemorrhaging, shock, cyanosis, COPC, serious trauma, or respiratory or cardiac arrest. Oxygen is also necessary for life support for a patient who has been ventilated. It is necessary for virtually every healthcare setting, ranging in use from inhalation therapy to resuscitation.
Oxygen is the only element that helps support respiration, initially founded in 1800 and first used by 1810.
Medical air is another gas that’s used for several applications. It’s used for powering surgical tools, ventilation, anesthesia, aerosol therapy, and ventilation purposes. It is often necessary to help reduce the high concentration of oxygen exposure during anesthesia and can be used as a substitute for nitrous oxide.
With a high-quality supply of medical air, it is possible to protect the patient’s sensitive respiratory system.
It’s worth noting, medical air is any clean supply of compressed air that’s used for the delivery of medical gas. What makes it unique is that it is free from contamination and particles, it is dry to prevent cases of water buildup in the pipeline, and it has no odor or oil.
When in the operating room, in both emergency and non-emergency situations, surgeons rely on the medical air compressor to help a patient remain comfortable and to ensure they continue breathing. Sources of medical air are connected to the medical air distribution system only and are only used for directed medical purposes.
For certain minimally invasive surgeries, such as arthroscopy, endoscopy, or laparoscopy, carbon dioxide is used as an insufflation gas. It is used for enlarging and stabilizing the body cavity to ensure surgeons and doctors have superior visibility to the surgical area.
This is a medical gas that can be used for an array of patient applications, such as the removal of skin lesions, removal of cancer cells, and the storage of cells, tissues, and blood in cryogenic temperatures. It helps to ensure the samples avoid oxidation.
Nitrogen in gas form can also be used for powering tools in areas where no instrument air is available. Usually, it is derived from a manifold of cylinders, and it is piped at pressure featuring an alarm system at the source and in the area where it is being used.
Liquid nitrogen is a few hundred degrees under zero, and it will freeze tissue on contact, which is beneficial in procedures like taking off warts or to freeze tissue samples. It is delivered to medical facilities in huge, insulated and pressurized bottles to ensure it doesn’t evaporate.
One of the most common uses for nitrous oxide in the medical field is to help reduce pain. It is primarily reserved for use in dentistry and surgical procedures. A more commonly heard name for nitrous oxide is laughing gas.
The biggest benefit of this medical gas is its ability to reduce pain. During childbirth, while riding in an ambulance, during dental procedures, and during smaller pain procedures, this gas is invaluable. It is also more soluble than nitrogen and oxygen.
While nitrous oxide is beneficial for some medical procedures, if someone breathes this gas regularly, it can have negative effects, including death.
Helium gas is something that’s used for serious and critical operations in the medical field. It is also the gas that, when combined with oxygen, is used for treating emphysema, asthma, and an array of other respiratory issues.
It can also be used for Heliox therapy, which is beneficial for those who have asthma or upper airway obstruction. While it doesn’t treat the underlying condition or disease, it can be used for reducing airway resistance and respiratory muscle work until the actual treatments are effective.
The Importance of Inspecting Medical Gas Systems
It’s important to have medical gas systems inspected regularly. Not only is this important for a patient’s well-being but also these inspections will make a difference between a medical practice’s failure or success. It is crucial that the facility’s technicians are supplied with operational, maintenance, to help keep the medical gas system both safe and cost-effective.
Like other medical products, medical gas must have a product license to be sold. Also, equipment is required to have the CE marking that indicates it follows the established Medical Devices Directive.
There are annual inspections for an array of medical gas systems that are required by law, which include the bulk oxygen system, carbon monoxide monitoring system, and all central supply systems. It’s also necessary to periodically inspect the outlets and inlets for the delivery of gas, the alarm warning system, and the maintenance programs for all medical gas central supply systems.
The Joint Commission has also made it mandatory for all facilities to test, inspect, and maintain all gas-related shut-off valves, automatic pressure switches, flexible connectors, outlets, area and master alarms, and piping.
Understanding the differences in the various types of compressors and gases and understanding the maintenance requirements is essential for facility managers, along with other staff members at a medical practice. When those in a medical office, hospital, or any different medical setting, adhering to the proper and required maintenance standards can help the facility avoid any unnecessary delays or risks.
Also, understanding the gases being used and knowing the proper way to use them can help ensure patient safety is always maintained. Essentially, being informed is the best way to not only safely use medical gases but ensure those in the facility or hospital are safe and not at risk of adverse consequences due to improper maintenance.