February 4, 2020 Comments (0)

Medical Gases 101 – A brief overview for you

Our hospitals. Our dentists. Cutting edge pharmaceutical and biomedical research labs. They all rely on safe, high grade medical gases. In fact, a hospital wouldn’t be a hospital without the critical medical gas support systems. And yet, most people don’t have much knowledge about these critical behind-the-scenes systems.

So we put together a ‘Medical Gases 101’.

Medical gases are wide ranging, used for patient treatments and to power associated equipment. Primarily installed in hospitals, they are covered by regulations/standards laid out in the current edition of the Hospital Technical Memorandum (HTM) 02-01. This covers design criteria, provision of patient outlet points, distribution equipment, installations of supply equipment, pipe work infrastructures and the purity requirements of gases being administered.

The gases supplied within high pressure cylinders and liquid distribution vessels are treated as controlled drugs. They have to meet stringent standards of the European Pharmacopeia and are robustly tested prior to being administered.

General wards, treatment rooms, operating theatres, recovery rooms through to special departments like radiology to Coronary Care Units are but a few areas served. They all have a different selection of gas services and outlet points at the patient bed. This gives the staff flexibility to treat patients in the most efficient way.

Different uses of medical gases

The gases are used in many different situations. Some assist in breathing – face masks, ventilators, or breathing respirators. Some have analgesic properties – for childbirth, anaesthetic use. Compressed air is used for driving theatre tools, and vacuum (also known as suction) is used for the safe removal of bodily fluids.

Systems designed according to your needs

The supply gases are supplied in pressurised cylinders, plants and vacuum systems. In larger hospitals it is more cost effective and efficient to have dedicated manifold rooms and plant rooms to house the source equipment, giving a safe method of delivery, cylinder transportation and control by the hospital staff.

For smaller hospitals or poly clinics individual cylinders may be provided at the patient bedside. Where larger hospitals have medical gases they are normally supplied from source equipment such as multi cylinders connected to an automatic manifold to give an uninterrupted supply of gas to the patient or medical quality compressed air plants.

Installation of medical gas systems

Pipework systems are usually installed at the time of the hospital construction, along with ongoing redevelopment works and will usually be installed within service ducts or ceiling voids terminating at the patient bed gas specific outlet unit. Forming part of installations there are both emergency and maintenance gas isolation valves which are gas specific alleviating the possibility of cross service connections. Additionally there are warning alarm systems in the unlikely event of a pressure or plant fault arising. All systems have to be thoroughly inspected and tested with specified pressure and mechanical disciplines. Prior to patient use each gas service will undergo a purity check and identification, carried out by a qualified pharmacist.

How Roses Medical can help

At Roses Medical we support you from start to finish. From design and installation through to validation and testing and commissioning. We offer full turnkey packages where required. We support a wide range of projects, from minor to major works, across the Medical, Industrial and Pharmaceutical industries.

Get in touch to discuss how we can support your next project.