With the increased use of ventilators during the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been fears that some hospitals are at risk of running out of oxygenhttps://www.theguardian.com/society...-oxygen-coronavirus-patients#maincontent
Consequently, work is being done to estimate or calculate oxygen usage by such devices.
In its guidance on rapid conversion of existing wards into facilities for intubating COVID-19 patients (https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/covid-19-standard-operating-procedure-estates/
), NHS England uses an oxygen flow rate of 10 l/min when calculating the expected total flow during simultaneous demand. It is noted in this guidance that this should be offset against the original design and other departments that will still require the HTM 02-01 recommended diversified flow for areas such as: operating theatres, theatre recovery, critical care, ED resuscitation, etc (http://www.bcga.co.uk/assets/HTM_02-01_Part_A.pdf
- page 23).
We can also attempt to determine oxygen requirements on an equipment model basis. For this, reference can be made to technical manuals (which may give guide values for oxygen flow directly or provide limits for oxygen concentration and flow rates) or to the literature. Care should perhaps be taken to appreciate that requirements of Covid-19 patients with regards to oxygen consumption may be different then considered in these technical documents and studies
List of some studies into oxygen consumption of ventilators:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19020137
Given the importance of maintaining a sufficient oxygen supply, work is also being done to try and reduce the oxygen consumption of the devices themselves. This may include the prioritised use of more efficient devices and the conversion of existing device to be driven by air rather than oxygen.
A couple of points to discuss:
• What is the best way of estimating the oxygen consumption by existing equipment?
• What steps can be taken to reduce the oxygen consumption of existing equipment?