The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2004 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

EVALUATION OF RC MEDICAL, INC. /WESTERN MEDICA HELIOX REGULATOR #M1-280-16FM.

Steven T Polston, RRT Norton Healthcare inc. Louisville, KY, In K. Kim, MD, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, University of Louisville Health Sciences Center,.

BACKGROUND:
This regulator/flowmeter for Heliox delivery was evaluated as an off the shelf replacement for our facilities practice of converting oxygen regulators with a CGA280 to CGA540 adapter and correcting the flowmeter output with a correction factor.

METHOD:
Seventy % helium: 30% oxygen (70/30 Heliox) was used as a source gas for a Vapotherm® 2000i. In addition to the RC Medical regulator, two other converted oxygen regulators were used, (Contemporary Products inc. and Western Medica preset 50 psi regulators with oxygen flowmeters). Tanks were timed to depletion, as defined by 300 psi, at two flow rates; Flow A, 6 Lpm. (10 Lpm corrected) and flow B, 10 Lpm, (17 Lpm corrected). The RC Medical regulator was set directly to 10 Lpm and 17 Lpm.


RESULTS:
The converted regulators ran 8.5 to 9 hours at flow A and 4 to 5.5 hours at flow B while the RC Medical regulator ran 4 hours and 3 hours respectively. Upon closer examination this regulator was noted to be calibrated to 20 % helium and 80 % oxygen.

DISCUSSION:
By running 70/30 Heliox, the gas consumption rate is higher than expected because of the lower density gas. This is the same reason the converted regulator/flowmeters are corrected with a factor. This would not affect delivery concentration but would impact time to tank depletion. This regulator had been in service for several months prior to testing. It is clearly marked on the front of the flow meter “ Heliox 20/80”. The back of the flow meter states “helium 20 % oxygen 80%”. We noted that our therapists often misread the regulator to read “Heliox 80/20”. At our facility we have available 70/30 and 80/20 heliox. “Heliox” may be used incorrectly to describe any helium and oxygen mixture. Without stating the exact concentration of the mixture, the description is incomplete and may be inaccurate. Care is warranted when discussing and using helium/ oxygen mixtures.


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