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When stepping into an operating room, you are entering an area of machines and equipment. Most ORs have the same standard equipment, but this can vary depending on the surgery that will take place. Each OR is staffed with a team of people who know how to use the equipment and machines in the room.

While there may be some variation in how each institution refers to different pieces of equipment, we hope you will get a good idea of the general items you will find.


Regular air won’t do for our patients in the operating room—premium gases are piped in through ceiling mounts (Figure 10.1). Air and oxygen are the two most common. Remember the colors: air is yellow (Figure 10.2) and oxygen is green.


OR lines from the ceiling. (Photo used with permission from Diane Tyler, University of Utah.)


Air line up close. (Photo used with permission from Diane Tyler, University of Utah.)


An anesthesia supply cart (Figure 10.3) holds many of the supplies needed for every surgery. A well-stocked cart keeps equipment, from syringes to intubating equipment, at the anesthesiologist’s fingertips.


Fully stocked anesthesia cart. (Photo used with permission from Diane Tyler, University of Utah.)


The anesthesiologist has the important role of keeping the patient asleep and keeping the patient’s pain under control during the surgery. The anesthesia machine (Figure 10.4) is the mechanical workhorse of administering anesthesia during the surgery. The anesthesiologist uses it to keep the patient safe, sleeping, and comfortable during the surgery. The anesthesia machine gives breaths to the patient while it delivers the appropriate mixture of oxygen and anesthetic gas. Until it is time to reduce the medications and wake the patient at the end of the surgery, the anesthesia machine sends information to the anesthesiologist to interpret and use.


Anesthesia machine. (Photo used with permission from Diane Tyler, University of Utah.)

Although the anesthesia machine looks complicated, it’s really not that scary (Figure 10.5). The three canisters in the center are the different gases used to keep the patient asleep. The gauges provide information about oxygen and air delivery while the patient is having mechanical breaths given by the ventilator. The bellows mimics the movement of the lungs as it pushes air in and allows it to come back out. ...

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