Overview of oxygen connector types

Contributors: Michael Lipnick, MD, MD, Sky Vanderburg

Date last updated: Nov 26, 2022

Thorpe flowmeter configurations

Thorpe tube flowmeter with (a) pressure regulator and outlet connector (e.g. DISS) (male). Connector (DISS or other convention) can be connected to (b) a barbed “Christmas tree” connector for oxygen tubing or (c) a humidifier bottle. Also shown is (d) an example of a dual flowmeter from a single wall source for use with two patients.
Source: WHO-UNICEF technical specifications and guidance for oxygen therapy devices. Geneva: World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2019 (WHO medical device technical series). License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

How to read a Thorpe tube flowmeter with ball or bobbin mechanism (4 LPM)

A ball float style flowmeter is read from the center of the ball (a), whereas a bobbin style flowmeter is read from the top of the bobbin (b). In the illustration above, both flowmeters depict 4 LPM.
Source: WHO-UNICEF technical specifications and guidance for oxygen therapy devices. Geneva: World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2019 (WHO medical device technical series). License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

Barbed oxygen connector ('Christmas tree' adapter)

Source: The Open Critical Care Project, Creative Commons SA, Attribution, NC v4.0. Download this and other free images in the OCC Image Library.

Examples of smooth bore oxygen tubing

Flow splitting via flowmeter station and y-splitters

Source: The Open Critical Care Project, Creative Commons SA, Attribution, NC v4.0. Download this and other free images in the OCC Image Library.

Improvised oxygen delivery setups

Source: Robert Neighbour

Summary of high pressure oxygen hose and terminal connectors around the world

Click to download the entire visual of all oxygen connector type.

High pressure oxygen hose and terminal connector types

Intermediate pressure reinforced oxygen hose

Source: The Open Critical Care Project, Creative Commons SA, Attribution, NC v4.0. Download this and other free images in the OCC Image Library.

Oxygen ecosystem: from source to bedside

In this image, unregulated high pressure refers to oxygen sources at >137bar (200 psi), and regulated high pressure (i.e. intermediate pressure) refers to ~3.5bar (50PSI).
Source: The Open Critical Care Project, Creative Commons SA, Attribution, NC v4.0. Download this and other free images in the OCC Image Library.

Flowmeter attached to pressure gauge for oxygen delivery to patients

The cylinder valve wheel (top right) allows pressure to leave the cylinder toward the regulator (red, center). The Bourdon gauge (green, above the regulator) measures pressure directly in the cylinder and can be used to estimate remaining cylinder content. The regulator decreases pressure (usually to 3-4 bar, ~50PSI). Flow leaves the regulator and goes to the flowmeter (left) which allows the user to adjust output from 1-15LPM. Different range flowmeters may be used. The output from the regulator may also be connected directly to some medical devices that are able to (and often require) an intermediate pressure (3-4bar/50PSI) oxygen source.)
Source: Sky Vanderburg

Inner Components of a Pressure Regulator

Source: http://www.frankshospitalworkshop.com/equipment/medical_gas_supply_equipment.html

Bourdon gauge

Source: WHO-UNICEF technical specifications and guidance for oxygen therapy devices. Geneva: World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2019 (WHO medical device technical series). License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

Dial/click meter

Source: WHO-UNICEF technical specifications and guidance for oxygen therapy devices. Geneva: World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2019 (WHO medical device technical series). License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

Pin index/Yoke valve

Source: BOC Healthcare (https://www.boconline.co.uk/wcsstore/UK_BOC_Industrial_Ntl_Store/pdf/downloads/Cylinder-Data-Medical-Gas.pdf)

Pin-index/Yoke valve, side spindle

Source: BOC Healthcare (https://www.boconline.co.uk/wcsstore/UK_BOC_Industrial_Ntl_Store/pdf/downloads/Cylinder-Data-Medical-Gas.pdf)

Bullnose valve

Source: BOC Healthcare (https://www.boconline.co.uk/wcsstore/UK_BOC_Industrial_Ntl_Store/pdf/downloads/Cylinder-Data-Medical-Gas.pdf); magnified image by Sky Vanderburg

Bullnose connector

Source: Sky Vanderburg

Handwheel valve

Source: BOC Healthcare (https://www.boconline.co.uk/wcsstore/UK_BOC_Industrial_Ntl_Store/pdf/downloads/Cylinder-Data-Medical-Gas.pdf)

Handwheel valve, side outlet

Source: BOC Healthcare (https://www.boconline.co.uk/wcsstore/UK_BOC_Industrial_Ntl_Store/pdf/downloads/Cylinder-Data-Medical-Gas.pdf)

Oxygen connector leaks

Soapy water applied lightly to connector to examine for leaks.
Source: Robert Neighbour

Oxygen connector leaks

There are many potential causes of oxygen leaks. Some are obvious like improvised connections.
Source: Robert Neighbour

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