A good-size hospital with 200 beds and ten operating rooms can have a medical air system, a laboratory air system, and pneumatic air systems. The medical air systems must all follow the NFPA 99 guidelines. We follow these guidelines, from the beginning, when we assess the demand for air in a hospital.
The air is delivered through a distribution piping system that ends with a medical air outlet within the room. Outlet requirements per room are governed by American Institute of America (AIA) Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities. Equipment is plugged into the medical air outlet to treat the patient. Many studies have been done determining the load required for medical air compressors. The sizing can be calculated using several methods.
In the U.S. as an example, the NFPA has taken the view that if your compressor draws in good clean ambient air, the air stays clean through the compressor, is then dried and filtered, when you deliver it to the patient it will be entirely satisfactory. After all, when you went into the hospital that’s what you were breathing and when you leave you will breathe it again!
The NFPA 99 (National Fire Protection Agency) Standard for Healthcare Facilities (2005 Edition) is the current Code by which Healthcare facilities in the U.S. design their compressed air systems. The NFPA 99 Standard covers many requirements for medical gases, with compressed air being just a component of the Standard.