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Keep your insufflator operating correctly
Insufflation is defined as the act of blowing something such as gas, powder, or vapor into a body cavity. There are many medical applications, the most common being surgery, diagnostics, respiratory assistance, critical care and anesthesia, and administration of drugs via nasal insufflation.
Endoscopic insufflators are used in laparoscopic surgeries to create space for the surgeon to work. A lapraroscopic insufflator inflates a patient’s body using pressurized gas – commonly carbon dioxide (CO2) rather than ambient air or oxygen (O2) because CO2 has fewer negative effects on the body. Specifically, CO2 is non-flammable, colorless, and has a higher blood solubility than air. The patient is constantly monitored for their safety throughout the surgery.
Insufflating gases into parts of the human body can also improve diagnostics. Insufflation can enhance radiological imaging, or provide access to parts of the body that would otherwise be difficult to examine. For example, insufflation can be used during routine colonoscopies and is often necessary in deeply sedated patients.
Insufflation for respiratory assistance varies from a breathing mask (providing oxygen) to PAP therapy devices (used to treat sleep apnea).
In addition to oxygenating patients, insufflation is used to ventilate patients and to administer/maintain general anesthesia. Some medications used to induce general anesthesia will stop the movement of the muscles used to breathe – in these cases an insufflation machine is required to mechanically force oxygenated air into the patient’s respiratory system.
Drugs administered via nasal insufflation can have a local or systemic effect, and generally are much easier for the body to absorb than if the drug were taken orally. These medications may include steroids, hormone replacements, decongestants, nicotine replacements, migraine medications, and vaccines. Additionally, nasal insufflation can be used on patients in which intravenous access is unavailable.
Insufflation devices integrate a number of sensors into their design such as pressure sensors, gas flow sensors, temperature sensors, etc. These sensors are used to control the pressure, gas flow, and temperature outputs necessary to the function of the insufflator as well as display real-time readings to inform users during the operation of the equipment. It is essential that these pneumatic components function accurately so that the insufflator operates correctly and the patient is not harmed by the process of insufflation.
To ensure the insufflator is operating correctly, devices are serviced and tested periodically to confirm that they are operating within manufacturer specifications. Insufflators are tested during the product development and production processes by manufacturers. The sensors are calibrated or verified at this time by design engineers, manufacturing engineers, and technicians.
Once sold and put into use by a hospital, insufflators are typically serviced either directly by the manufacturer or by an authorized service technician (trained and certified by the manufacturer). Most device manufacturers will specify a service cycle in order to maintain the warranty of the insufflator – usually annually or every two years.
To test the pneumatic components of an insufflator, testing generally involves measuring the pressures, flow rate, or volume of the device. The typical pressure range for insufflators is between 10-15 mm Hg and the flow rates are less than 50 liters per minute. Service and maintenance testing results are documented and a report or certificate is typically generated.
TSI’s 5000 Series Mass Flow Meters are ideal for the development, production, and service of insufflation devices. The all-in-one solution flow meters integrate flow, pressure, and temperature measurements into a single test instrument and can log readings and export time-synchronized data. The ultra-low pressure drop of TSI flow technology ensures that flow rate and volume measurements do not impact the insufflator being tested, and the meters conform to the low pressure drop test requirements specified by some manufacturers.