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About Medical Oxygen Flow Meters
Medical oxygen flow meters come in 4 common back-connection types; DISS Male, Chemetron, Ohmeda, and Puritan Bennett. Other less common types include ⅛ NPT Female, Oxequip, MedStar, Schrader, Diss Female Hand Tight, DISS Female Hex. These connections will plug into your wall outlet or regulator so it’s important to make sure that you choose the proper connection type for your wall outlet or regulator.
The most commonly used oxygen flow rates for medical applications are 0-15 LPM (Liter Per Minute) Flow meters. Neonatal oxygen flowmeters have a much lower threshold for LPM, typically maxed out around 5 LPM.
Types of Oxygen FlowMeters
Oxygen flowmeters come in two common types, Thorpe Style and Dial Style. Dial flowmeters are a relatively new style of flowmeter and lack the polycarbonate tube seen on the thorpe style. Dial style flowmeters are more durable and compact, allowing for use in tighter areas such as head walls, surgical booms/pendants, and nooks. Thorpe style is still the most popular style of flowmeter, which probably has more to do with their legacy in the medical industry, but they do have the advantage of a visible LPM meter. With dial style flowmeters you lose the ability to see the air pressure reading in the clear tube and rely more on the dial reading that you’ve set using the dial.
Humidifiers & Accessories
Flowmeter accessories include humidifiers and “christmas tree” nipples. Because the oxygen passing through the flowmeter is dry air, humidifiers are used to humidify the air after passing through the flowmeter. The humidification process creates a more comfortable patient experience, especially in situations where the patient is being treated for respiratory illnesses. Other common accessories include connection adapters, outlet nipples, y-block assemblies and regulators.
How to use an oxygen flow meter
Thorpe style flow meters are the most common types of flow meters used and come with a clear tube that has LPM indicators visible in the tube. A little ball moves freely through the clear tube and can be aligned with the displayed LPM rates to achieve your desired LPM. Dial flow meters are more simple, once connected to the wall outlet or regulator, simply turn the dial to your desired flow range and you’re all set.
Quality is important when choosing flow meters and a good manufacturer will provide 3-5 year warranties on their flow meters and regulators. Quality brands that include great warranties Include Amico and Western Medica.