Living beings cannot survive without respiring oxygen. No doubt, you can realize the importance of oxygen in the field of healthcare. Oxygen constitutes around 21% of earth’s atmosphere and around 46.6 percent of earth’s core by weight. Importance of oxygen in our life can be gauged from the fact that oxygen regulates 90% of our bodily and mental functions. And, it constitutes around 65 percent of our body and is known as the largest element making our body after carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen. Oxygen replaces old tissues and burns food at cellular level to release energy and heat for carrying out our daily tasks of life. In short, around 80 per cent of all metabolic activities undergoing in our bodies is because of oxygen.
Medical grade oxygen is used in hospitals for applications ranging from resuscitation to inhalation therapy. We get medical grade oxygen from medical oxygen plants generating oxygen using fractional distillation. To give you a historical perspective, it was known as early as 1800 that oxygen supports respiration. The first application of oxygen was made in the medical field in 1810. Since then the use of oxygen has increased exponentially. Oxygen is now extensively used in hospitals, nursing homes and clinics for treatment of various breathing disorders apart from surgery, recovery and for life support.
Sometime around mid 20th century oxygen therapy emerged as the scientific treatment. Now oxygen has become so important that it is not possible to imagine medicine without oxygen. Medical oxygen is used in modern anaesthetic techniques besides being administered in conditions such as COPD, cyanosis, shock, severe hemorrhage, carbon monoxide poisoning, major trauma, cardiac/respiratory arrest. It is used in aid resuscitation, providing life support for artificially ventilated patients &aid cardiovascular stability.
What is medical grade oxygen?
Medical grade oxygen must have 99.7% purity and meet the medical oxygen purity as per European pharmacopoeia standards. It must also fulfill the specifications of identification, Odor, CO2 not more than 0.03% and CO not more than 0.001% in gas. Medical oxygen plant used in the production of identification, odor, CO2, not more than 0.03% and CO not more than 0.001%in gas. Manufacturing of medical oxygen systems must be done in total compliance with international standards including ASME, ANSI, NEMA and CE.
How medical oxygen is generated?
For generation of medical oxygen, we use medical oxygen plant that taps air from atmospheric air which is liquefied in the air separation unit and it is separated from other gases by continuous cryogenic distillation. Instead of using cryogenic process, one can also produce oxygen using pressure swing adsorption (PSA) medical oxygen plants. Generation of oxygen starts at the main air compressor and stops with storage of oxygen in tanks. Atmospheric air is compressed which is then sent into a molecular sieve system where impurities such as moisture, hydrocarbons and carbons dioxide are removed. Afterwards, the feed air is moved into heat exchangers where it is cooled to cryogenic temperature. Then, the air enters high pressure distillation column where it is separated into oxygen and other gases and oxygen is formed at the bottom of the distillation column. Oxygen is distilled continuously till it meets the specifications for medical grade oxygen.