Storage and Utility of Gases in the Medical Industry
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Hospital and health facilities are some of the largest users of a host of different gases for multiple reasons. Ranging from normal compressed air to nitrogen oxide these gases need utmost care when handling because the lives of several patients depend on it. A slight lapse or flaw in the system can prove to be catastrophic.
These gases are usually stored in pressurized metal containers that are connected to the central ventilation system or to specific outlets in the required areas. It is important that these storage tanks are built of appropriate materials and then regularly maintained.
Let’s look at some of the gases used in hospitals and the types of containers used to store them.
Probably the most vital gas required by all medical facilities. Pure oxygen is beneficial for a number of reasons to patients and is therefore extensively used. Its application varies from treating various respiratory diseases to disorders where oxygen levels in the blood drop. In large facilities, it is stored in liquid form but is shipped in standard cylinders to smaller facilities for usage.
Nitrogen and Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous Oxide is used as an analgesic to put patients to sleep during surgical procedures. It is stored in pressurized tanks at 50 psi. It is a weak agent for putting humans to sleep and is usually used in combination with other agents. It is recommended for such pre-operation procedures because it is not broken down by the body and is exhaled completely.
Nitrogen is an instant freeze gas. It is used to jump start certain instruments in hospitals but more importantly for freezing organs that have to be transported for transplantation and to remove infectious cells in the body while avoiding further contamination.
One of the main uses of CO2 is to stimulate the body before and after anesthesia administration. It is also used in several other procedures that require the use of lasers. It inflates organs so that damage to the surrounding parts is minimized.
These are just a few of the gases that are used in hospitals on a constant basis and they are usually stored in high pressure containers that have to meet certain requirements. These standards are set by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). It is imperative for cylinder manufacturers and transporters to meet these standards so that life threatening situations can be avoided. Hospitals are required to maintain proper checks on their systems of gas delivery and warnings so that any lag can be rectified before it turns catastrophic.
The medical industry is a key user of gases that have to be stored and transported in specialized tanks. The pressure vessel industry is expected to grow by 519% by 2022, according to industry estimates. With vital gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen being transported to hospitals in high pressure tanks, it just adds another field that can’t ignore their use.
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