O2, Vacuum, NO2, and compressed medical O2 can be delivered to gas specific outlets in patient care areas through a system of manifolds, isolation valves and copper pipes cleaned for medical grade O2. This eliminates the need for O2 cylinders and portable vacuum machines. The performance of the system is monitored continuously with pressure switches strategically placed through the system and purity sensors.
These systems are designed and installed according to the NFPA 99 code for medical gases.
Oxygen, which is essential for human life, exists in the normal air we breathe at a concentration of 20.9%. The remaining part of air is basically nitrogen. The nitrogen can be removed from air by a process known as Pressure Swing Absorption. In this process compressed air is supplied into pressurized vessel containing a sieve chemical that temporarily absorbs the nitrogen leaving only O2. The O2 is vented out of the vessel to a storage tank while the nitrogen is exhausted back into the atmosphere. The relative concentration of O2 in the storage tank is 93%.
O2 is used in patient care for those who have respiratory diseases and during surgery in anesthesia machines. Purchase O2 is delivered in large metal cylinders at a pressure of 2500 PSIG and then is regulated to 50 PSIG for anesthesia machines, or to a very low pressure and regulated flow for direct patient care. These cylinders are physically heavy and dangerous to transport because of their weight and the extreme pressure inside the cylinder. Availability of O2 from a vendor could be an issue for a rural hospital. O2 concentrators nearly eliminates the need for O2 cylinders and the subsequent purchasing and transport of cylinders. O2 concentrators come in basically two sizes: the roll around home healthcare units for individual patients and the central unit which could supply an entire facility through a piped gas system.
Traditionally, rural hospitals used a foot powered vacuum machine for procedures in the emergency room and surgical areas because of a lack of reliable electrical power supply.
Small electric vacuum machines became more widely accepted when diesel generator power or utility power became available. Obviously these small portable vacuum machines have limited capacity, making some surgical procedures nearly impossible. A central vacuum machine with a large storage tank provides the larger hospital with a constant vacuum source, great enough for the most demanding applications. The vacuum is delivered through a piped gas system.