Longevity of Inhalation Sedation Equipment

We have recently received some enquiries on the topic of service and support of inhalation sedation equipment – and how long they will or should last.  There are various elements that come into play regarding longevity of equipment and support.  Firstly, the exact equipment type – some machines are now considered obsolete.  Examples of these are; Quantiflex Mark I & Mark II flowmeters – manufacture having been discontinued over 10 years ago, meaning that spare parts are no longer available.  The title ‘Quantiflex’ was discontinued by the O.E.M. some years ago, although use of it persists generally.  Also, the Porter C2000 MXR flowmeter – this was discontinued in 2003, being replaced by the C3000.

Secondly, age and condition of unit also has to be taken in to consideration – some flowmeters will last longer than others – analogue vs digital for example.  The working life of a digital flowmeter is currently estimated at around 10 years, most analogue models will last at least 20.

However, as always with specialist equipment, there can be other deciding factors as to supportability of equipment.  The O.EM. (Original Equipment Manufacturer) of the units also has an influencing factor – Porter Instruments, for example, who manufacture the MDM, Digital MDM & MXR now state that flowmeters should not be supported after they reach the age of 20 years.  To put this in context, that is twice the recommended period for most items of medical equipment. 

However, where possible, units are maintained for periods longer than 20 years – but this is a decision based on each individual unit; type/age/ condition and performance, especially with reference to service records.

If there is any doubt as to the integrity of a machine or the reason for support being withdrawn, staff should contact their service provider and request a full explanation.  Machines are never condemned ‘lightly’ but from an informed plan, resulting from several factors mentioned above and with staff and patient safety always at the forefront of any such decision.