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Hot Topics - Standards: Bottled medical oxygen

The use of unique pin indexed outlet connections on all sizes of bottled medical oxygen

Small medical oxygen bottles have unique pin indexed outlet connections, but large medical oxygen bottles use industrial outlet connections that are shared by other gases, including argon, helium and industrial oxygen.

At best this situation is a nuisance because equipment that uses bottled medical oxygen has to be configured for either large or small bottles, but not both.  At worst this situation is dangerous because a patient could be given argon or helium (which are used with medical lasers) to breathe, instead of oxygen.

A Standards Australia committee ME-002-05 and ANZIGA (The Australia and New Zealand Industrial Gas Association) are considering the use of unique pin-indexed outlet connections on all sizes of bottled medical oxygen.  A study is being conducted by ANZIGA, into the costs and feasibility of making this change.

If the medical community doesn't have any input to ANZIGA's study, it may only see the gas industry's perspective. Please give consideration to making a submission to this study. Comments by Aug 31, 2006.

Submissions to ANZIGA: Copy of submission to Standards Australia:
ANZIGA's office: 1 Rivett Road, North Ryde NSW 2113 Australia
PO Box 288, Chatswood NSW 2057 Australia

The Secretary
Committee ME 002_05
Standards Australia
GPO Box 476 Sydney NSW 2001

Website: http://www.anziga.org/ https://committees.standards.org.au/ click on Standards Development contact point

Some of the advantages of changing the outlet connections on large medical oxygen cylinders to the pin-indexed type include:

  • Remove the risk of giving the wrong gas to a patient
  • Enable both large and small medical oxygen cylinders to be used on the same piece of equipment
  • Comply with a 2004 NT Deputy coroner's recommendation, "That the configuration of medical gas cylinders be reviewed to ensure that inappropriate gases such as carbon dioxide cannot be connected to equipment used for resuscitation such as face masks." See findings of coroner Inquest into the death of Nikita Anderson 2004 in Northern Territory Govt, Dept of Justice.
  • Achieve adequate flow rate through the connections; demonstrated by the fact that New Zealand uses pin_indexed connections on all sizes of bottled medical oxygen
  • Large hospitals typically use banks of multiple medical oxygen bottles as a back up supply, plumbed into the building by only a few connections, this enables only a few industrial oxygen bottles to be connected in place of many medical oxygen bottles in an emergency. Therefore it is pointless to keep using industrial connections on medical oxygen on the premise that industrial oxygen can be used in an emergency
  • Some obsolete gas regulators could be removed from service when connections on bottles are changed.

Mark McEwen
Flinders Biomedical Engineering www.fbe.org.au
Bedford Park SA 5042
ph: 618 8204 5263 fax: 618 8204 5840




Updated September 28, 2010