Physics & Devices

Physics and Devices Made Simple for the Anesthesia Written Board Exam

Mechanics, Gases

  • Pressure Measurement of Gases, Liquids
  • Transducers, Regulators, Medical Gas Cylinders
  • Viscosity-Density, Laminar-Turbulent Flow
  • Flowmeters: Rotameter
  • Principles of Doppler Ultrasound
  • Diffusion of Gases
  • Solubility Coefficients
  • Relative and Absolute Humidity
  • Vapor Pressure and Calculation of Anesthetic Concentrations
  • Vaporizer Types and Safety Features
  • Uptake and Elimination Curves; Effect of Ventilation, Circulation, Anesthetic Systems
  • Concentration Effect
  • Second Gas Effect
  • Nitrous Oxide and Closed Spaces


  • Resistance, Turbulent Flow, Mechanical Deadspace, Rebreathing, Dilution, Leaks,
    Gas Mixtures, Humidity, Heat
  • Connectors, Adaptors, Mask, Endotracheal Tube, Reservoir Bag Unidirectional
    Valves, Corrugated Breathing Tubes, Laryngeal Mask Airways, Airway Pressure Relief
  • Circle Systems: Closed and Semi-Closed; Adult; Pediatric
  • Non-Circle Systems: Insufflation; Open; Semi-Open
  • Portable Ventilation Devices (Self-Reinflating, Non-Self-Reinflating), Non-Rebreathing
  • CO2 Absorption: Principles, Canisters, Efficiency
  • Toxicity: Compound A, Carbon Monoxide
  • Oxygen Supply Systems: FiO2
  • Waste Gas Evacuation Systems
  • Safety Features (Proportioning Devices, Rotameter Configuration, Pressure Fail-Safe)
  • Design/Ergonomics of Anesthesia Machines

Monitors, Instruments

  • Neuromuscular Function: Nerve Stimulators, Electromyography (Emg)
  • Ventilation: Respirometers, Inspiratory Force, Spirometry, Flow-Volume Loops
  • Temperature
  • Oximetry, Co-Oximetry, Pulse Oximetry
  • Arterial and Venous Blood Gases: Electrodes for pH, PO2, PCO2, Calibration, Temperature
    Corrections, Errors
  • Gas Concentrations: Infrared Absorption, Mass Spectrometry, Raman Scatter Analysis
  • Pressure Transducers: Resonance, Damping
  • Non-Invasive Blood Pressure (BP) Measurement: Doppler, Oscillometry, Korotkoff Sounds,
  • Blood Warmers, Autotransfusion Devices
  • Body Warming Devices: Forced Air, Heating Lamps, Insulation Devices, Warming Blankets,
    Water-Flow “Second Skin” Devices
  • Ventilator Classifications: Flow Generation vs. Pressure Generation
  • Ventilator Principles of Action: Assistors, Controllers, Assist-Control; Pressure-Limited, Volume-Limited; FiO2 Control; Periodic Sigh, Inverse Ratio, High Frequency Ventilation, Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation (IMV), Synchronized IMV, Pressure Support, Airway Pressure Release Ventilation (APRV), Pediatric Adaptation, Non-Invasive Techniques: Biphasic Positive Airway Pressure (BIPAP), Others
  • Monitors; Pressure (Plateau, Peak), Oxygen, Apnea, Inspiratory/Expiratory Ratio, Dynamic
    Compliance, Static Compliance
  • Alarms and Safety Features: Operating Room, Electrical, Anesthesia Machine, Ventilators,
    Capnometer, Oxygen, Hemodynamic Monitors
  • Defibrillators: Automatic Internal, External, Implantable; Energy, Cardioversion, Types of
    Waveforms (Monophasic, Biphasic); Paddle Size and Position; Automated External
    Defibrillators (AEDs)

Electrical, Fire

  • Fire and Explosion Hazards; Basic Electronics
  • Source of Ignition; Static
  • Prevention: Grounding, Isolation Transformers
  • Macro and Micro Current Hazards
  • Safety Regulations; National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards
Physics & Devices
Course Information
Dr. Michael Ho
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