Medical Oxygen 101

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When you think of plumbing, your mind most likely goes to things like your sink, shower, or toilet. While ordinary plumbing systems for water are obviously important, medical facilities often require plumbing for various medical gases as well, such as nitrous oxide or oxygen. In this article, our team at Pure-Line Plumbing will focus on oxygen, providing an overview of its various medical applications.

Medical Oxygen 101

What is Medical Oxygen?

First, allow us to explain what makes medical oxygen different from the oxygen in the air we breathe every day. Our atmosphere is composed not of pure oxygen, but a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and traces of many other gases such as carbon dioxide and argon. Medical oxygen, on the other hand, contains at least 99% pure oxygen and is used to treat patients who are having difficulty getting enough oxygen from normal air.

What is Medical Oxygen Used For?

Health care providers use oxygen for a variety of applications, including:

  • Oxygen Therapy – If a patient is unable to get enough oxygen for any reason, they are given medical oxygen through a mask or breathing tube. If someone goes without sufficient oxygen for longer than just five minutes, their brain cells will start to die, so it is essential to make sure patients get a steady supply of this essential gas.
  • Anesthesia Delivery – Oxygen is also used as a carrier to deliver anesthetics to patients. The oxygen carries the other gases or aerosols to the lungs so that the patient can benefit from the medicine.
  • Resuscitation and Life Support – If a patient stops breathing, they will be given medical oxygen as part of their resuscitation and continue to receive oxygen after they get their breath back in order to stabilize their vitals. In addition, patients who can’t breathe on their own and are on artificial ventilators also receive medical oxygen as part of their life support.