In order to determine medical gas flows, we use the same probability theory and line of reasoning mentioned in Part 1 in the March PME. First, we must determine the maximum number of patients that are likely to use a particular gas for a given number of patients under consideration. We then multiply this number by the average flow for that outlet/inlet. Note that we said patients-not outlet/inlets-since, in most cases, this is the real determining factor. Often, extra outlets/inlets are requested for convenience only, not necessarily because all these are to be used simultaneously. However, always check with the owner if an unusual number of outlets are requested at a certain location.
If, for example, an operating room is to be capable of treating two patients simultaneously, then for the purpose of gas-flow determination, it may be treated as two rooms, etc. Typical outlet/inlet requirements for rooms may be found in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) "Minimum Construction Guidelines for Healthcare Facilities."
Fortunately, these probabilities may be found in certain tables as mentioned earlier. These tables, for example, indicate that the oxygen demand for all patient rooms is approximately 10%, whereas for recovery rooms it's approximately 50%. Again, these use factors can only be applied to the entire facility-not portions of it where there are fewer patients, rooms, etc. But, by definition, this percentage must therefore be fairly close to the true probability of a single patient using a particular gas. Therefore, we may substitute these use factors for true probability in Equations 2 and 3.
ConclusionAlthough calculating medical gas flows utilizing the methods described above might at first appear rather cumbersome, with personal computers, programmable calculators and the like, these methods may be incorporated into powerful yet easy-to-use programs.
As medical procedures are revised and more statistical data is made available, some of the probabilities mentioned here may be adjusted from time to time. Indeed, more studies need to be performed to sharpen these numbers. However, the values indicated in Tables 1-4 do appear to work satisfactorily. As for any engineering and design project, it is vital to work closely with hospital and other medical facility personnel to identify unusual demands, such as air-driven ventilators, unusually large WAGD demands, etc. These atypical flows can have a serious impact on medical gas flow calculations.