Selecting regulators and flow metres for medical oxygen


The first medical regulators were just industrial regulators with a few alterations. Today’s medical gas control devices have many advanced design features that make them easier to use, more accurate, simpler to maintain and less costly. Now, as Covid-19 has brought about the highest need for medical oxygen than ever before, there’s a higher demand for gas delivery devices such as regulators and flowmetres.

Knowing which devices to choose depends on the application for which it’s going to be used. The primary applications for oxygen (and oxygen mixes such as nitrous oxide) are hospital wards, emergency medical services (ambulance, rescue kit), long-term care facilities and home. Each of these situations has different variables that require different devices.  

The source of medical oxygen also varies by delivery point. Bulk vessels are used in mid- to large-sized hospitals and long-term care facilities that require constant access to gas. The bulk tank is connected to a central gas supply system that has terminals throughout the facility. Gas cylinders are identified using the letters A to M; cylinder volume increases as the letters of the alphabet proceeds. For example, an H size cylinder holds about 6,900 litres. Larger cylinders are most often used in hospitals and long-term care facilities as back up to the central gas systems. Smaller, more portable cylinders are commonly used to transport patients between rooms, for emergency medical services and home care. An E sized cylinder holds 660 – 690 litres (size varies slightly by provider) and is the most commonly used size in medical settings.

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