Community, Healthcare

Preston Memorial Hospital puts three new state-of-the-art anesthesia machines into service

KINGWOOD – Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital – a rural 25-bed critical access hospital – has acquired three new high-end anesthesia gas machines to improve care and outcomes for surgery patients.

The machines are Mindray A8 machines and are in use in Preston Memorial’s two operating rooms and its endoscopy room.

Harriman and Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Nestor.

Mindray, a New Jersey-based medical device manufacturer and supplier, offers five types of anesthesia machines; the A8 and A9 are its top of the line.

Teresa Harriman, chief nurse anesthetist, explained some of the features that set it apart.

The A8 recycles the vaoporizing gases used to put people to sleep so that nothing escapes into the air. “It’s a nice feature,” she said.

Some features make it more cost effective. Anesthesia machines scrub gases with soda lime. With their previous machines, they had to change the lime once a week. Now it’s every two to three weeks. This conserves air, materials and supplies, and reduces emissions, said Jennifer Nestor, Preston Memorial’s chief nursing officer.

The A8 has a volume exchanger, which Mindray describes as “an innovative breathing system that delivers extremely precise and reliable ventilation to optimize patient safety during anesthesia.” It can deliver minute volumes for neonatal procedures or high volumes with a high flow nasal cannula for situations ICU-like situations, or like COVID, where patients need a lot of oxygen.

The cannula, Mindray says, is especially useful for patients with poor oxygen saturation such as bariatric, pediatric, critically ill, or those with a difficult airway.

Nestor said surgical combustion is always a risk in surgeries form the neck up because of the high oxygen concentration – 30% oxygen – and the possibility of igniting it. But the A8 has a gas blender that allows for precise blending and reduces risk.

The A8 has inside oxygen sensor so that instead of an external sensor that has to be changed periodically – at about $200 apiece – this one is permanent, Harriman said.

And the old machines had to be checked every day to make sure they were ready to run correctly, she said. That took 15 minutes each morning. But the computer in this one allows it to be pre-set each night so it runs its own self-check in the morning – taking all of a minute.

If the self-check identifies a problem, she said, the A8 alerts her so she can fix it. “The safety features are amazing.”

How did they choose these over all of the machines available? Nestor said, “It’s really important that the direct care staff get to pick their equipment … what’s best and most useful in the clinical field.”

The certified registered nurse anesthetist team researched various machines and found this was the best fit, she said.

And at about $30,000 apiece, Harriman said, it was cheaper than most.

Nestor then did all the paperwork and advocating with the health system leadership to get the new machines. They arrived at the end of May. “If it wasn’t for Jennifer, we wouldn’t have these,” Harriman said.

An additional benefit, they said, was that Preston Memorial uses Mindray monitors all around the hospital, so it qualified for a steep discount. And Mindray is always just a phone call away for questions.

Tweet David Beard @dbeardtdp Email