Gas ‘er up, doc! – A quick inventory of gases used in the medical industry


For those of us not working directly in the medical/healthcare industry, we may be surprised at the number and variety of common medical gases and their applications.


Family Feud or not, I am guessing that if you polled 100 people on common medical gases, the number one response would be “oxygen.” Liquid oxygen boils at -297.3°F (-183°C). Some patients require supplemental oxygen to increase the O2 level in their blood. Hospitals usually have large cryogenic bulk storage tanks full of liquid O2, which is then vaporized and warmed and piped into the hospitals as oxygen “gas.” Some patients use oxygen from high-pressure gas cylinders. Still others use electric or battery-powered units to boost the amount of oxygen they breathe. One must be careful of fire hazards around oxygen.

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