Types of Medical Equipment & Tools (A Comprehensive List)

Medical equipment can be grouped as diagnostic, treatment, surgical, laboratory, life-supporting, and durable medical equipment. These have been discussed in this article.

Diagnostic Medical Equipment

Diagnostic equipment is a device that aids in the diagnosis of diseases. Diagnostic equipment may include X-ray, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging devices.

For example, an electrocardiogram (ECG) records changes in voltage to track and diagnose heart health. The diagnostic equipment we use for diagnosing disorders is a key component of the modern practice of medicine.

The mere act of perceiving with our senses is not enough, and healthcare providers rely on an array of technologies to determine when and how to intervene.

Some of the diagnostic medical equipment include the following.

X-ray Machine

An X-ray machine is a piece of medical imaging equipment used to image the inside of an object. It projects electromagnetic energy, typically in the form of x-rays, through a one-sided barrier onto a digital detector or photographic film and records the result.

The essential principle of X-ray imaging is that different tissues on an object appear as distinct on images when seen by X-rays because each absorbs x-rays to some degree at different rates.

These differing effects are also known as a contrast between tissues and allow trained practitioners called radiologists to diagnose specific diseases in various organs within a human body or other objects via these devices.

MRI Scan

MRI stands for Magnetic-resonance imaging. The MRI scanner produces strong magnetic fields which align the spins of water molecules in body tissues.

Unlike X-rays, which often create too much tissue contrast (contrast in brightness), an MRI scan only allows a very small amount of radiofrequency energy to flow through tissue and so clearer images can be created.

MRI scans show the fat and water content of different tissues in the body, as well as some organs.

MRI scans can show which areas are not performing optimally without an invasive procedure like a biopsy or surgery.

Areas with fatty deposits are usually related to constricted blood vessels due to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), inflammation from trauma or injury, and cancers that grow slowly or quickly.

CT Scan

CT scans (Computed Tomography) use X-rays to produce images of the human body. A CT scan takes a series of spiral projections, or axial slices, of the patient’s body and turns them into cross-sectional images that build up a 3D picture.

The computer uses a negative contrast agent in order to highlight subtle differences between tissue types by applying varying degrees of grayscale as it rotates through each cross-section. As the scanning continues, more consecutive segments are generated.

Analogous biomedical datasets obtained from other imaging modalities (such as MRI) can then be overlaid onto these virtual slides to provide functional contrasts so that physicians can detect any significant anatomical variations in their patients’ health status.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a name for a type of medical imaging equipment that uses high-frequency sound to create images. It makes use of properties of the human body – such as bone density, organ densities, and water content within tissues – to formulate an image.

Ultrasounds are harmless if properly used by trained operators with appropriate safety standards in place because people cannot hear it, but they can feel it as a slight vibration on their skin or just see the moving shadows on their stomach.

Sphygmomanometer

The sphygmomanometer is a device used for measuring blood pressure by feeling the pulse on an artery.

The device contains mercury or aneroid manometer to measure the pressure of the arterial column and has a cuff that fits snuggly around an arm or leg.

Echocardiography Scan

Echocardiography is the process of examining a person’s heart using ultrasound, also known as sonography.

This type of scan can be performed on baby or adult patients and can detail any abnormalities that may exist in regions such as the chambers, valves, and (most importantly) blood flow.

In order to perform this procedure correctly and produce an accurate image of the organs which make up a heart a physician requires equipment in their office for performing ultrasound scans known as an “echocardiography.”

One such piece of equipment would be either a transducer (for use with hydrosonography), or what is called a linear array sheathed-tip transducer if it is being used for cardiac imaging.

Stethoscope

A stethoscope is a diagnostic tool that is used to listen to heart, lung, and other internal body sounds. It can also be used to measure breath sounds, bowel sounds, and blood pressure in patients.

There are two types of stethoscopes: the traditional type and the electronic type. The traditional type uses diaphragms connected to earpieces with tubes that carry sound vibrations from patient’s bodies or tissue back through the tube into the listener’s ear.

Electronic stethoscopes amplify these sounds using piezo-electric disc transducers which saves time as you don’t need to press your ears against a patient for each sound; you just need to hold it up for 20-30 seconds near as they breathe out.

Dopplers

They are used to visualize pulsations of arteries, veins, and other blood vessels in real-time.

Dopplers measure the frequency variations of sounds emitted by moving sources while they transmit through various media.

A doppler probably wouldn’t show unless you were on a scan move fast enough for it to pick up anything but the slightest motion.

If it’s slow enough, still pictures or video likely would be more effective than sound waves because sound can only detect things when they move, so if there wasn’t any movement nothing would come up via this technology.

Pulse Oximetry

Pulse oximetry is a simple, non-invasive procedure that takes advantage of the fact that different colors of light penetrate tissue at different rates.

It is based on the principle that pulse oximeters measure two light absorption parameters called oxygen saturation and heart rate from pulsing blood vessels within peripheral tissues.

Oxygenated blood absorbs more red (oxyhemoglobin) and less infrared (OHb) than deoxygenated blood which has a higher concentration of blue-green (deoxyhemoglobin).

Pulse oximeters use algorithms to combine these two absorption values to estimate SpO2, continuously updating every second or less throughout a patient’s normal breathing range.

Patient Scales

In hospitals, scales are usually the oldest and most durable pieces of equipment.

There are many types of weighing scales in hospitals, which can be broken down into three categories: Mechanical, Electromechanical, and Electronic.

Included among them is the Pi weigher scale which is considered to be the industry standard for large Hospitals. Patient scales are medical equipment used to measure people’s weight or body mass index (BMI).

The patient scales may be small enough for home use, operated by the patient, or often larger ones that require a technician. Sizes of some types of scales can range from 90kg up to 600kg capacity and can have an accuracy of half a kilogram.

Medical Laboratory Equipment

Blood Gas Analyzer

A blood gas analyzer excels in the testing of reactive metabolic acidosis. This is calculated by measuring bicarbonate, hydrogen ion (pH), and carbon dioxide levels in a blood sample.

A positive test is exhibited when the pH level remains low or if the bicarbonate levels are not on par with what they should be.

Portable blood gas analyzers are also perfect for anyone staying overnight during a hospital stay as they provide quick results that can make a difference to treatment decisions while patients remain hospitalized and even post-discharge from care facilities like hospitals or nursing homes where it is more difficult to ascertain information such as electrolytes and metabolic changes due to their chronicity.

Chemistry Analyzers

A chemistry analyzer is a specialized type of instrument that measures the concentration or quantity of chemical substances in a sample, such as human serum or an environmental contaminant.

The chemical analysis covers many analytical techniques including potentiometry, titrimetry, and spectrometry.

The results produced by electrical measurement (potentiometric measurements) are expressed electrically with millivolts (mV).

In measuring pH this way, the probe most commonly used is one designed to measure mV proportional to pH; that is called an ion-selective electrode.

Electrolyte Analyzers

An electrolyte analyzer is a medical laboratory device that quantitatively determines the level of various electrolytes in a solution.

It works by first creating an electric field, and then passing the applied voltage to each electrode in turn. The fractional electric charge on each electrode is proportional to its distance from the particular electrode.

This fractional charge is referred to as electrocoulometry (EC), and it’s used because pH value (p) can change when the product has been diluted before measuring it.

For accurate measurements, EC values are typically recorded at intervals of four minutes or less during a measurement hour.

Microbiological Systems

Microbiological systems are used in the medical industry for a number of purposes, including environmental monitoring and disposal.

The primary function of the microbiological system is to help disinfect its surface on contact by using steam vaporized from water or through ultraviolet irradiation.

The system boils water to produce an autoclave that sterilizes all surfaces within it by flashing at a temperature higher than 100 degrees Celsius.

It then retains heat at about 120 degrees Celsius so that surfaces are sterilized even after they have been cleaned with detergent solutions such as peracetic acid or sodium hypochlorite (bleach

Differential Counters

Differential counters are medical lab equipment used for counting white blood cells in suspensions of bodily fluids such as serum, plasma, and whole blood.

Differential White Cell Counters record the number of cells recorded per liter (or mL) to detect and analyze potentially dangerous abnormalities.

Drug Testing Analyzers

Drug testing analyzers are used in medical laboratories to detect illegal substances.

Drug testing quantitative analysis systems have been designed to meet three major goals:

  • The identification of drugs,
  • Measurement of drug quantity
  • The evaluation for therapeutic use and drug rehabilitation.

They offer measurements in both weights (wet or dry), as well as % purity.

A number of detectors, such as flame ionization, ultraviolet fluorescence, enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique (EMIT TM), radioimmunoassay, thin-layer chromatography or mass spectrometry may be employed depending on the specific system type and the type(s) of drug(s)/metabolite(s).

Coagulation Analyzer

An automated coagulation analyzer is a type of instrument used to measure different factors in the blood that indicate how well it is clotted.

It can be used to measure platelet count, prothrombin time (PT), plasma fibrinogen level, and others. A patient with a lot of sugar or junk food intake will need more sugar or salt to enjoy foods.

Hematology Analyzers

These are used to obtain information about what is going on in your body by detecting blood clotting times to measure platelet function; hemoglobin level for diagnosis of anemia; white cell count for their role in infection, inflammation, parasites, or cancer detection.

Medical lab equipment such as hematology analyzers has taken significant leaps forward in recent years. They are now more sensitive and accurate than ever before, and they provide quick, precise data so that a diagnosis can be made easily.

Urinalysis Analyzers

Urinalysis analyzers are medical lab equipment used to analyze various components of urine.

Urinalysis is typically conducted with the intent to help discover abnormalities in a patient’s kidneys, liver, and other features that might indicate dysfunction or pre-clinical disease states.

Treatment, Medical Action & Surgery Equipment

Infusion Pumps

An infusion pump is a small device that is used in hospitals and nursing homes to deliver medical fluids – mostly vein medications, dextrose solutions, antibiotics, drugs with an intravenous route of administration or concentrated electrolytes and nutrition.

Infusion pumps are now often battery-powered devices as well and have a pre-programmed basal rate in order to deliver the solution at a steady rate over time.

Not only do they help prevent patient accidents from administering needles which can be difficult for someone weak due to illness but also helps avoid medication errors from human error.

Plaster

Medical plaster is commonly referred to as “plaster of Paris” and is a soft, malleable mineral substance that can be mixed with water or other substances to make a paste used in building up molds for casts. It was originally known as “lutum” or “saflum”.

Gauze Cloth

The purpose of gauze cloth is to provide a sterile way for doctors and nurses to collect blood and other bodily fluids in the event of an internal injury or a surgical procedure.

This sterile material is also used by many homeowners as an easy way to wrap cuts, scratches, burns, insect bites, bee stings, blisters, or any type of skin infection.

Gauze cloth can be easily cut into small individual pieces to protect wounds on the hands from dirt while being able to quickly reach over and grab the objects that they need out of their trunk or glove compartment.

It is extremely durable but always needs sterilization before it can be reused. And if you’re going camping this summer you’ll want some handy because it’s the perfect protection

Colostomy Bag

The Colostomy Bag often referred to as an ostomy appliance, contains absorbent pads and is worn over the abdomen on a belt or fitted under clothing after a colostomy.

It prevents digestive waste from leaking through an area that cannot absorb nutrients and creates a reservoir for the temporary storage of feces prior to disposal.

The bag should be changed whenever necessary and disposed of individually after each use in accordance with disposable packaging instructions.

Speculum

A medical device used by gynecologists and other physicians for a variety of purposes, the speculum is inserted into the vagina to dilate it. More specifically, it is placed in order to visualize the cervix (or womb) or take samples.

This device allows doctors or nurses to collect specimens from the uterus or vagina by inserting a spatula through one of two tubes at either end of the tool.

These specimens are then usually analyzed with a microscope for various health reasons such as infertility diagnosis, sexually transmitted infection (STI), pregnancy testing, ectopic pregnancy diagnosis, and so forth.

Medical Lasers

Medical lasers have the ability to produce an intense beam of coherent light and heat. They are used in medicine as a surgical device for cutting, vaporizing, or coagulating tissue.

The primary uses of lasers in medical practices are laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and laser angioplasty procedures.

Lasers also have multiple other clinical applications, such as:

  • Laser dentistry for teeth whitening or removal of tartar build-up on teeth;
  • Cosmetic surgery for sculpting body parts like breasts or abdomens;
  • Treatments for reducing wrinkles and skin defects like stretch marks or scars.

Durable Medical Equipment

Pressure Mattresses

Pressure mattresses are, according to the Mayo Clinic, a type of equipment designed specifically for people who have difficulty transitioning between their sitting and sleeping positions.

They’re typically used in care facilities where nurses must leave residents at night without turning them or disturbing their sleep.

Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs are leading medical equipment that helps people with disabilities to achieve their fullest potential. Wheelchairs are used in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and homes.

Wheelchairs provide mobility and independence for some people who would otherwise not be able to attend work or school, live independently, or participate in physical activity.

Mobility devices allow people with disabilities to explore the world around them and take part in activities they might not otherwise have been able to do before.

Using a wheelchair can also reduce the risk of pressure sores which can lead to other health problems for individuals with severe disabilities.

Crutches & Walkers

Crutches are medical equipment designed to provide support while weight is placed on the unaffected foot or leg.

Pain and discomfort in the affected limb may result from injury or illness, such as an inflamed knee, ankle sprain, strained back muscle, or fractured ankle.

While crutches can help reduce pain by decreasing pressure on the injured limb and giving it a rest; they should not be used for people who have any kind of balance problem since they could make balance worse.

Nebulizers

Nebulizers are medical equipment that can be used to administer medicines. They turn a liquid into fine mist and your doctor will prescribe them if they think you need them.

Compared to vaporizers, nebulizers require less heat, more expensive, have parts that come apart easily. They put medicine in water which turns it liquid then needs air which compresses it and comes out as droplets or aerosol.

Patient Lifts

A patient lift is usually two separate pieces-usually two slings (a sliding sling and hanging sling) which can also attach together through clips or carabineers.

They are mainly used for patients who are paralyzed and cannot move their limbs in order to help them into showers/tubs and beds without straining themselves.

Insulin Pumps

An insulin pump consists of three components, a reservoir that can hold insulin and an infusion set with a small needle or cannula.

The third component is either an external control unit worn on the body or, in newer models, a telephone app carried by a smartphone.

A controller within the pump sends appropriate levels of insulin to cover glucose needs according to pre-programmed settings as determined by daily blood sugar tests and food intake data input by the patient.

Patients require basal rates for an overnight while sleeping and for times when they are sedentary during daytime hours, but there is still a need for much higher boluses to manage meal carbohydrate loads.

Breast Pumps

Breast pumps are essential breastfeeding equipment that will help mothers express milk and feed their babies.

They mainly come with:

  • A pump,
  • Storage bottles for pumping,
  • A set of breast shields (for both left and right breasts),
  • A battery-powered electric adapter or several disposable batteries,
  • Three large nipple rings in varied sizes to fit different nipple shapes and voltages (110v-120v).

Oxygen Concentrators

An oxygen concentrator allows users suffering from breathing disorders to operate in a normal manner without the need for an external source.

These devices use air or another breathable gas and separate out its oxygen molecules from those which are not.

Users place the device over their mouth like a mask and breathe normally as the device filters the air into two streams, one with oxygen molecules that are diverted into your lungs, and one with non-oxygen molecules which are exhausted away.

This process creates a continuous flow of high-quality, purified air supply during inhalation so long as there is sufficient power available to maintain operation.

The concentrator does typically require power however it draws its current from an internal battery system allowing for use in remote areas.

Oxygen Tanks

Oxygen tanks provide a person with the much-needed oxygen because his lungs cannot. Oxygen contributes to all the metabolic processes in the body.

It is mainly used by people with end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other respiratory illnesses, which limits their ability to take in sufficient oxygen.