Anesthesia systems are an incredibly important piece of the anaesthesiologist’s repertoire. The safe and effective use of these machines is of the utmost importance, and patient health is directly connected to how well the machine functions in relation to how the anesthesiologist operates it.
We’re going to go over some of the basics of anesthesia machines in this article, giving you a well-rounded look at what these machines are, where they came from, and how they can work for you.
Having a little background on how the machines came about and the different varieties available to you might be helpful as you search for one of your own. Hopefully, the information below can send you in the right direction.
Let’s get started:
The Basics of Anesthesia Systems
The innate function of an anesthesia system is to incorporate a gas mixture of an anesthetic composition into the airflow of the patient.
The invention of anesthesia in 1846 was a huge step toward providing patients with a more comfortable experience as they underwent different procedures that would otherwise be quite painful. It turns out that, by our standards, most of the procedures that people were doing in those days would be incredibly painful.
Anesthesia, while it wasn’t what it is today, could help that process significantly. Initially, there wasn’t a machine to administer the composition to patients. The administration had to be done by hand and wasn’t as comprehensive of sedation as it is now.
The first continuous flow machines came out from 1912 to 1917, and consequent developments have only improved the functionality and safety of these machines, making them some of the most-used devices in many medical labs.
Initial continuous flow machines have a lot of the same components that machines do today. Namely, there is a supply of high-pressure gas, oxygen cylinders with pressure gauges, a way to monitor the flow, a vaporizer, and the human breathing system.
These features all work in unison to produce a measured application of an anesthesia to the patient without over-supplying them or putting them in danger.
Naturally, the operation today is a lot more streamlined than it was in 1912, but the basic function is the same.
Intermittent Flow Machines
Intermittent flow machines are distinct from continuous flow machines in that they might be a little bit safer. These anesthesia machines only supply gas to the patient as their own personal breathing demands.
So, instead of running a continuous flow of gas to the patient, they’re only supplied with an anesthetic to the degree that their lung capacity and body requires. This is a great way to limit the chance of any patient injury as a result of too much gas.
Modern Machine Components
Currently, machines are equipped with a number of modern components that you’ll find on almost any machine.
To start, the rig is connected to an oxygen source, typically in the wall of the building, that runs O2 to the machine. Some machines might also be connected to gas cylinders with Bodok seals.
A Bodok seal is a method of monitoring and keeping gas use safe and in-check. It’s a method for preventing the use of the wrong kind of gas on a particular patient. Bodok seals are used across the world and are integral to most anesthesia systems.
Because so much of the process has to do with the pressure of the gas, there are still pressure valves and gauges with regulators to keep the machine from inconsistent jumps in pressure.
Flowmeters are used to monitor the flow of air after the gas is run through the cylinders and gauges. There are also sophisticated vaporizers that are used to ensure that the patient is getting the right dosage of the actual anesthetics.
Beyond the actual systems, it’s important that the practitioner has some kind of method for monitoring the patient’s vitals and making sure that the gas is being received in the correct way.
In a lot of situations, doctors will use a network of systems that are run alongside one another. This may include a heart rate monitor, an ECG, blood pressure monitor, and more.
Relative Analgesia Machine
Many of us are familiar with the feeling of anesthesia as a result of a trip or two to the dentist. Maybe you had your wisdom teeth pulled, or a nasty root canal required you to go under to get the right treatment.
The machine used in these practices is called a relative analgesia machine. It’s an offshoot of the typical anesthesia machine, although it doesn’t have medical ventilators or vaporizers.
These machines are designed for a milder anesthetic called nitrous oxide that doesn’t require the use of some of the features that traditional anesthetic systems do.
Planning a Purchase
Purchasing an anesthetic machine should be a careful process. You want to make sure that you’re investing in the technology that will be most effective and keep your patients the safest.
As there are different forms of anesthesia systems, make sure that you do some research on the various gasses and treatments particular to your practice that you will be using. Different applications might require slightly different purchases as you’re gathering all of your equipment.
It’s also important to note that the quality of the machine is something to take very seriously. Depending on the patient going under, system malfunction could be very dangerous.
There’s nothing wrong with exploring a few of your options and calling the seller for their advice, either. In fact, it might the wisest thing to do to find an option or two that you like and talk to the company that sells them to see if there’s anything you should know.
Want to Learn More?
Whether you’re looking for a new anesthesia machine or you’d just like to know more about other medical equipment, we’re here to help. Take a look at our site for a comprehensive look at a lot of the high-quality medical equipment available to you.
Connect with us if you have any questions or want to learn more.