Anaesthetic machine service recommendations from VetQuip Australia

Picture1Your anaesthetic machine should be maintained annually. A leaking machine can not only pollute the environment, but also increase your operating costs. Just because your patients manage to stay asleep does not mean your machine is safe. In fact, your staff could be breathing in anaesthetic gas all day long and without even knowing it. Don’t your patients and staff deserve a safe and secure environment?

At the time of service, our technicians will use an anaesthetic agent monitor called a Riken Analyser. The Riken is used to measure the output of the vaporiser, and the readings will be documented on a report certificate. These readings are an important indication of the vaporiser output at the time of inspection. Our technicians will also perform a leak and pressure test of your complete system and advise you if any components do not comply, which will need to be replaced. Anyone not using a Riken Analyser during your routine service is not providing a proper service. Calibration of vaporisers is impossible to perform ‘on-site’ as it must be done in a controlled environment. Anyone who tells you otherwise, is misleading you.

The vaporiser is a very important component of your machine. It is important to ensure that the appropriate percentage of anaesthetic agent is being delivered. A malfunctioning vaporiser can be the cause of incorrect depth of anaesthesia and may also be the reason you ‘lose’ a patient.

Most vaporisers on the market are considered ‘in spec’ if the output is within +- 15 per cent of the dial setting. If the output is not within spec, we will recommend exchanging your vaporiser with a freshly calibrated one. Vaporisers do need to be rebuilt and recalibrated. Depending on the type and brand of vaporiser you have, this can be anytime from 2 to 10 years. VetQuip can assist by advising you as to which type you have and when it will be due for rebuild.

There are several different types and brands of vaporisers on the market available to veterinary practices, with the majority needing a key filler to fill with anaesthetic agent. However, there are some older pour fill vaporisers around which should be avoided for safety reasons. As a pour fill vaporiser requires the staff member to pour anaesthetic agent into the filler in an open environment, the risk of breathing in vapours is extremely high. Although it is not illegal to use this type of vaporiser, it is extremely unsafe and you should stay well clear of these outdated vaporisers.

Having a good quality, efficient rotameter is also an important item on your anaesthetic machine. It measures the rate of flow of oxygen used for anaesthetics. Oxygen therapy flowmeters are not a substitute for rotameters as they are not accurate enough. They can be out of spec by as much as 20 per cent. A rotameter is designed for anaesthetics with fine adjustment detail as it is a precise measuring device. If you have a therapy flowmeter on your machine, VetQuip can convert it to a precision rotameter.

The oxygen flush valve is used to bypass the vaporiser and delivers oxygen only to the common gas outlet. Poor quality flush valves are a common cause of leaks as they use inferior Schroder Valves. If you have a low volume flush valve on your machine, VetQuip can convert it to a high volume unit.

Is your anaesthetic machine safe?

Your anaesthetic machine should be serviced every 12 months. Manufacturer recommendations and OH&S standards require yearly leak and output checks and safety inspections. VetQuip offers on-site anaesthetic service, repairs, inspections and a vaporiser exchange program.

Your current service provider should be doing the following:

  •  Vaporiser calibration check—leak and output (Riken Analyser)
  • Calibration/certification certificate (peace of mind your machine is SAFE)
  • Full leak and pressure test of anaesthetic machine and vaporiser
  • Full evaluation of system
  • Parts replacement as required (cost of parts additional)
  • Written report

Your anaesthetic machine is one of your most important investments—actually generating income for your practice. If you invest in good quality equipment and maintain it correctly, it will last for years and easily pay for itself with less downtime, happier staff and better patient outcomes.

If you would like to learn more, contact VetQuip by phone on 1300 888 427 or by email:

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