About Medical Oxygen Regulators
Medical oxygen regulators are used to regulate the flow of compressed medical oxygen through a medical oxygen line. The compressed oxygen passes through the oxygen tank regulator from the oxygen tank and into an oxygen line that is connected to a face mask or breathing cannula.
Connection & Fitting Types
- Inlet – CGA refers to fitting size standards. When choosing a medical oxygen regulator you’ll need to ensure that you have the proper CGA inlet connection. Oxygen regulators come with two main inlet connections (CGA-540 and CGA-870) which will connect directly to the oxygen tank. These CGA connections are specific to oxygen and eliminate the possibility of connecting the wrong type of gas tank to the regulator. Depending on your application, you may see various different CGA inlet connection sizes.
- Outlet – The outlet connections available for oxygen regulators include DISS 1240, ¼” NPT, ⅛” Needle Valve Hose Barb, and Tapered Hose Barb. These outlet connections allow for flowmeters, hoses, gas lines, or manifolds to be connected for proper oxygen distribution.
Types of Oxygen Regulators
Oxygen regulators come in three main types: pressure, flow control, and flowmeter & regulator combo.
- Medical Pressure Regulators measure the amount of oxygen left in the tank and regulate the PSI (pound per square inch) output level. Some oxygen pressure regulators come with a preset PSI which will keep the oxygen PSI output at a constant level, usually 50 PSI. Adjustable pressure regulators let the user select the desired output PSI. It is important to note that pressure regulators control only the pressure of the oxygen output coming from the tank, they do not control the flow rate of the oxygen.
- Oxygen Flow Control Regulators on the other hand, are specially designed to control the flow rate of oxygen. These regulators have two gauges, one for PSI readings (tank level and output) and the other for LPM (liter per minute), also known as flow rate. They typically come with a preset output of 50 PSI and allow the user to adjust the flow rate or LPM (liter per minute) of compressed oxygen that is being pushed through the regulator. Depending on the application, the range on the LPM gauge can vary.
- Flowmeter and Regulator Combos function similarly to the flow control regulators mentioned above with the primary difference being that instead of a gauge to measure the LPM reading, there is an adjustable oxygen flowmeter attached to monitor the LPM. A flowmeter is typically preferred to a gauge in many medical applications as it is much more precise and allows the user to have better control over the LPM rate.
How to use an oxygen regulator
Make sure the CGA connection on the oxygen regulator matches the CGA connection on the oxygen tank. Once connected to the tank, you will be able to see the PSI reading and LPM reading if applicable. On adjustable pressure regulators, the PSI output can be adjusted via a knob or valve. Similarly, the LPM on flow control regulators can also be adjusted to the desired rate. The LPM rate on flowmeter and regulator combos is adjusted using the knob on the attached flowmeter.
Quality is important when choosing an oxygen regulator, a good manufacturer will provide 3-5 year warranties on their regulators. Quality brands that include great warranties include Harris and Western Medica.