Hospitals and medical facilities often rely on medical gas supply systems to operate on patients and provide essential care. These units must be carefully installed and maintained in order to preserve their integrity and ensure the safe and effective delivery of the gasses.
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How Does a Medical Gas Supply Work?
Hospitals rely on pumping medical gas into various rooms and parts of the facility. Piped in gas is often required for clean environments such as surgical suites, recovery rooms, and the general ward. The units rely on several piping systems throughout the building. The pipes are also connected and monitored by an alarm system at the source of the supply. That way, the air pressure can be monitored and any issues are flagged right away.
Throughout the building, emergency valves are also installed in order to prevent contaminated air or gas from entering the facility in an emergency. These valves are located at the entrance and exit of every department and are usually accessed via an emergency window much like a fire alarm or extinguisher.
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What Type of Gas Is Used?
Depending on the unique needs of the facility, the types of gasses used can differ. The most common types of gas include:
- Oxygen: In medical facilities, oxygen is often used for recovering patients. It is typically stored in liquid compressed form until it is needed and piped through the system.
- Nitrous Oxide: Pumped into surgical suites, nitrous oxide is used as an anesthetic during the pre-operative process.
- Medical Air: Unlike normal air, medical air is sent through an air compressor and dryer to maintain the correct dew point and humidity required in the medical facility.
- Nitrogen and Surgical Air: Most pneumatic-powered surgical equipment is operated with nitrogen or surgical air that comes through an air compressor.
- Carbon Dioxide: Used during some surgeries and to treat certain respiratory diseases, carbon dioxide is actually an important part of the medical gas supply.
- Mixtures: Many medical gasses are also mixed on a regular basis in order to diagnose certain diseases, calibrate medical equipment, and enact growth or change during lab procedures.