Oxygen is a medicinal element present in the atmosphere. Oxygen has many uses in health care. Oxygen has therapeutic use in hospital ICUs. Our atmosphere contains 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen in gaseous form. Oxygen is a very essential element for our life on this earth. Our body is consists of millions of live tissues. These body tissues require oxygen for their survival. Tissues die within seconds, in the absence of oxygen.
Tissues get their oxygen, through oxygenated blood. Oxygenated blood is pumped by our heart in the body. There are two nos of lungs in our body. Lungs do inhalation and exhalation of air in the body. During inhalation of air, oxygen is carried to the lungs. During exhalation carbon dioxide is expelled out of the body through the lungs. Oxygen is also used in industries too.
During inhalation of air, oxygen-rich air is sucked into the lungs. It reaches the part of the lungs called alveoli. Alveoli are small sac-like structures in the lungs. In alveoli exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place in the blood. Oxygenated blood goes to the heart for circulation in the body. During exhalation, carbon dioxide absorbed from the blood is expelled out through the nose.
During certain kinds of illness lungs, oxygen-carrying capacity reduces. In such conditions, oxygen needs to be feed to the patients through oxygen cylinders. We are facing an acute shortage of oxygen in India due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus disease affects the upper respiratory system of the human body. Coronavirus is affecting thousands of people in their respiratory systems. To tackle the respiratory problems of thousands of people, need thousands of litters of oxygen every day. Uses of oxygen are many in health care. Oxygen is to be handled with the necessary safety precautions. Humen lungs internal construction indicate picture as shown below.
The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the human lungs alveoli is explained in the following fig.
OXYGEN SUPPLY METHODS TO HOSPITALS
Oxygen supply availability to the hospitals can be ensured by increasing the number of following items:
- PSA Oxygen plants in hospital premises.
- Oxygen concentrator.
- Oxygen cylinder refilling plants.
- Oxygen supply through tankers.
PSA OXYGEN PLANT
Oxygen can be generated from atmospheric air through PSA ( Pressure Swing Adsorption) method.
Components of PSA plants are:
- Two vessels containing zeolite-based molecular sieve
- Switch valve
- Oxygen receiver
Oxygen can be generated through atmospheric air. To carry out the process compressed air is passed through a zeolite-based molecular sieve bed. During this process, a zeolite-based molecular sieve adsorbs the nitrogen and allows oxygen to pass through the sieve bed. Oxygen escaped through the molecular sieve is collected into the oxygen receiver. Nitrogen adsorbed during the process is vented out later on in the atmosphere. A number of PSA plants are to be set up in hospital premises to cater to the need for oxygen for hospitals. In the following fig, the PSA plant is indicated.
Oxygen concentrators are portable PSA units for continuous oxygen generation. The oxygen concentrator has the flexibility to use where ever it is required. The number of oxygen concentrators must be procured and installed in the hospitals. To serve a large number of patients for emergency use.
OXYGEN CYLINDER REFILLING PLANTS
The number of large-capacity oxygen generation plants to be set up. They should be away from the hospitals. These plants are to be used exclusively for oxygen cylinder refilling and oxygen tanker refilling. Now all the state govt. of India have started to set up oxygen-generating small capacity plants nearby the hospital premises to cater to the immediate needs of oxygen in the hospitals.