O2 Tank Assembly

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About this medical skill
Parent skills Airway Management
Medical Patient Assessment for Chest Pain (OPQRST)
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An oxygen delivery system is composed of 2 main parts:

  • The pressurized tank and
  • The regulator which allows access to the oxygen at a controlled flow rate.

CAUTION: Medical gas cylinders contain high pressure gasses which can turn the cylinder into a dangerous projectile if it is dropped or hit against anything. Always keep at least one hand on the Oxygen cylinder at all times when assembling the regulator, and secure in place once done.

To safely prepare and open an oxygen tank for clinical use:

  1. Verify the cylinder contains medical oxygen. Medical oxygen tanks are typically green seamless steel or aluminum cylinders. Some cylinders may be silver or chrome with a green area around the valve stem.
  2. Verify that the tank has been tested recently enough. Typically metal medical oxygen tanks are pressure tested every 5 years, and the date of their last testing is stamped on the cylinder close to the valve.
  3. Verify that you have a medical oxygen regulator with the two appropriate indexing pins. Medical gas regulators use the Pin Index Safety System to prevent attaching clinical regulators to cylinders of the wrong type of gas.
  4. Check the regulator for a rubber ring called the “o ring” at the seal between the regulator and tank. If it is cracked or missing, it should be replaced before the regulator is used to prevent leaks.
  5. Place the regulator over the valve opening and use the indexing pins to seat the tank and regulator together
  6. Hand tighten the regulator on to the tank by advancing the "T-handle" screw on the opposite side until snug
  7. Before opening the tank, make sure that the pressure indicator is facing away from you and any people around you. Though it is unlikely, opening the oxygen tank has the potential to shatter the glass of the pressure indicator, so it’s good practice to avoid facing it initially.
  8. Check how well the regulator is seated by turning the valve stem counterclockwise one complete turn with the gauge facing away from you and listen for leaks. If there is leakage, re-check the o-ring and the seating.
  9. Fully open the tank and then turn back 1/4 turn clockwise, and check for tank pressure. A full tank has 2,000 psi and should be refilled when the tank pressure reaches 500 psi. The regulator will not function properly if the tank pressure drops below 200 psi.

To administer oxygen, attach oxygen tubing to the ridged protrusion at the end of the regulator and turn the dial to the appropriate liters per minute for whatever oxygen appliance you are using.