Flow Control Valve Systems in Anaesthesia Machines

flow control valve

When talking about a flow control valve, people tend to think of large water production plants or electricity plants that use flow control valves and other pneumatic valves. But not many people know that different types of pneumatic valves are used in anaesthesia machines.

Anaesthesia is a sub-specialty in medicine that has adapted technology to improve performance and patient safety. Anaesthesia machines have come a long way from the time WTG Morton discovered that ether could be used as general anaesthesia in 1846 and HEG Boyle developed the patented British Oxygen Company’s ‘Boyle’s Machine.’ 

How an Anaesthesia Machine Works

The function of an anaesthesia machine is to deliver a precise and variable gas mixture, including anaesthetising and life-sustaining gasses at a controlled and known pressure. There are actually two methods to deliver anaesthesia:

  • Intermittent – Delivered by an Entonox apparatus, gas flow is delivered only during inspiration.
  • Continuous – Delivered by a Boyle’s machine, gas flow is delivered both during inspiration and expiration.

System components consist of:

  • Electrical system – Master switch, Battery back-up, Battery recharge, Electric outlet for the in-built monitor, circuit breaker.
  • Pneumatic system – High-pressure system, Intermediate pressure system, Low-pressure system.

When anaesthesia is delivered, four essential functions are performed:

  1. Providing dioxygen (oxygen).
  2. Accurately mix anaesthetic gases and vapours.
  3. Enables patient ventilation.
  4. Minimises anaesthesia related risks to patients as well as staff.

The basic design of a continuous anaesthesia or Boyle’s machine consists of pressurised gasses supplied by cylinders or pipelines to the anaesthetic machine. This controls the flow of gasses before passing them through a vapouriser and delivering the resulting mixture to the patient through the breathing apparatus circuit. 

Importance of the Flowmeters

Flowmeters are part of the low-pressure system (the most common type of pneumatic system for anaesthesia machines) that consists of the flow control valve, vapouriser, one-way valves, and the common gas outlet.

The flow control valve is the thing attached to the knob that is turned to adjust the flow through the flowmeters. On most anaesthesia machines, flow control still uses a mechanical valve that is directly attached to one of the three knobs used to manipulate the flowmeters. The more modern machines coming out recently now use electronic controls as the interface between the operator and the flowmeters.

Master Mac 2000

The use of a pneumatic and flow control valve system in medical anaesthesia machines show the importance of pneumatic and process automation systems in all types of industries, including the medical and science sectors. So, when it comes to pneumatic systems, parts, and components, you can trust MasterMac2000 to provide quality brands such as Univer, Mack, Tolomatic, and others, including hard-to-get parts. MasterMac2000 has been an Australian-owned distributor since 1989 and is now one of the largest pneumatic distribution companies in Australia. Call them at 07 3344 4711 or visit https://mastermac2000.com.au/ for your industrial pneumatic valve needs.

Leave a Comment