Carbon dioxide, or CO2 is not something humans typically inhale because they exhale it instead. However, there are special medical circumstances whereby your doctor would prescribe and administer CO2. Three of those special circumstances follow.
Balloon/Air Bubble Surgery
Many of the latest surgical procedures, such as a laparoscopy and an endoscopy use CO2 to inflate the areas of the body where surgery is performed. The CO2 creates a large air bubble that moves adipose and muscle tissue out of the way so that the camera scopes that are inserted into the surgical sites can see better and move around inside the body easier. Although you do not inhale the gas in this particular instance, the gas may still be expelled through your body's orifices or your surgeon may expel the CO2 sooner by lightly pressing on the air bubble/balloon pocket until all of the gas has left through the incisions.
Increasing Blood Flow to the Brain
Brain surgery and neurological procedures require a slowing of blood to the brain so that a patient does not bleed out of his or her skull during the operation. Once the procedure is complete, your surgeon orders a temporary increase of CO2 because it jumpstarts and stimulates the body to move more blood to the brain. This aids in healing and diminishes any potential for cellular damage that may occur from decreased blood and oxygen supply. As soon as the blood flow to the brain has returned to normal, the CO2 is turned off.
Stimulating Breathing and Increasing Depth of Breathing
Many people suffer from pulmonary conditions and diseases which decrease their ability to breathe effectively or breathe deeply enough to get enough oxygen into the bloodstream. If you suffer from frequent panic attacks that result in hyperventilation or chest spasms that make it difficult to draw a breath, then you might be prescribed CO2 as a way to get your body the oxygen it needs. The CO2 is an artificial means of breathing regulation that makes your body breathe more deeply than you currently do, thereby increasing your natural oxygen intake. It replaces the need for an iron lung, which has now become an outdated means of artificial breathing.
Getting the CO2 Tanks for Your Medical Use
If you are prescribed more regular use of CO2 for breathing difficulties, the hospital nearest you may have them. Otherwise industrial supply companies frequently provide the tanks with medical grade CO2 to home healthcare stores and clinics. Usually your doctor will send your first tank home with you and then refer you to a location where you may trade in your current tank or get fresh tanks.
To learn more about CO2, contact a company like Terry Supply Co.