The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


John W. Newhart, David C. Harders, David Carrick, Richard M. Ford; Respiratory Care, UC San Diego Med Ctr, San Diego, CA

Background: It has been our experience that medical gas outlets throughout our hospital do not perform equally. This becomes apparent when using newer devices requiring high gas flow while maintaining specific pressure levels to allow the device to operate according to manufacturer’s specification. Hospital medical gas outlets are tested annually by certified technicians as to static pressure, purity and flow rate. These values are specified by NFPA99 regulations. However many medical devices have requirements (dynamic flow and pressure requirements) that are not stipulated in these codes. In our facility we tested random wall oxygen outlets measuring maximum flow and noted old, new or head rail type outlet. Methods: We used a Phillips Respironics V60 set to diagnostic mode that allows adjustment and verification of exact flow rate and subsequent driving pressure. We checked 19 outlets randomly throughout the facility and documented the flow rate at which the “inlet pressure” dropped to 44psig. Results: The average of flow rate of all outlets while maintaining 44psi was 141 LPM, the avg. of new type was 165LPM, avg. of head rail type 156 LPM, avg. of old type 93 LPM. The highest flow was 168, lowest 88 and difference (high to low) was 80LPM. Conclusion: There is a significant difference in flow performance between older and newer type oxygen outlets. Some older outlets would not meet certain manufacturer specific gas specifications (for devices such as mechanical ventilators and bi-pap devices) even though they do meet current national standards that apply. Discussion: Clinician’s should be aware of gas outlet performance in their institutions relative to device manufacturer’s specifications. There is a need for more specific testing by medical gas certification companies to test for and document dynamic pressure/flow measurements. It would also be helpful if NFPA codes or other regulatory entities were to establish gas outlet performance standards in order to avoid potential conflicts between infrastructure and device performance. Sponsored Research - None