Background and Identification
Medical gas supply systems in hospitals and healthcare facilities are used to supply specialized gases and gas mixtures to parts of the facility. Products handled by such systems generally include oxygen, medical air, nitrous oxide, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and anaesthetic gas. Souce equipment systems are typically required to be monitored by alarm systems at the point of supply. Medical equipment is connected to the medical gas pipeline system via terminal units (ISO) and station outlets (US).
Medical gas systems are typically color-coded to identify their contents. Coding systems and requirements vary by jurisdiction, so the labelling or text is generally the most reliable guide for identifying the contents. Emergency shut-off valves or zone valves are often installed to stop gas from flowing to an area in case of fire, substantial leaks, or service. Valves can be positioned at the entrance to departments with access provided through emergency pull-out windows.
Oxygen can be used for patients requiring supplemental oxygen through a mask. Medical air is compressed air supplied by a special air compressor through a dryer and distributed to patient care areas by copper pipe. Nitrous oxide is supplied to surgical suites for its anesthetic functions. Nitrogen is commonly used to power pneumatic surgical equipment during various procedures and is typically supplied by high-pressure cylinders. Instrument air or surgical air is used to power surgical equipment and is generated on-site by an air compressor rather than high-pressure cylinders. Carbon dioxide is typically used for insufflation during surgery.