Title:
System for determining temperature and respiration rate
United States Patent 3884219


Abstract:
A system for determining the temperature and the respiration rate of a patient comprises an elongate cylindrical probe. A thermistor is supported in the tip of the probe for positioning in the mouth of a patient to generate an output signal indicative of the patient's temperature. A respiration transducer is supported on the probe in the path of air exhaled through the nose of the patient and functions to generate an output signal indicative of the patient's respiration rate. A disposable cover is provided for enclosing the probe during use. The cover includes a plastic body extending to a metal tip which engages the thermistor to promote heat transfer thereto, and a cup-shaped member supported on the body for directing air exhaled by the patient across the respiration transducer.



Inventors:
Richardson, Philip C. (Austin, TX)
Hudspeth, Emmett L. (Austin, TX)
Boger Jr., Allen D. (Austin, TX)
Dykstra, Jerald P. (Austin, TX)
Application Number:
05/346952
Publication Date:
05/20/1975
Filing Date:
04/02/1973
Assignee:
MEDICAL MONITOR SYSTEMS, INC.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
600/549
International Classes:
A61B5/01; A61B5/0205; A61B5/08; A61B5/097; G01K7/00; (IPC1-7): A61B5/00
Field of Search:
128/2R,2C,2H,2M,DIG
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3738173TEMPERATURE SENSING PROBE AND DISPOSABLE PROBE COVER1973-06-12Sato
3605495N/A1971-09-20Krause et al.
3572322N/A1971-03-23Wade
3254533Clinical thermometer1966-06-07Tongret
3232288Respiratory analysis instrument1966-02-01Krobath



Primary Examiner:
Gaudet, Richard A.
Assistant Examiner:
Recla, Henry J.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richards, Harris & Medlock
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. Apparatus for determining the temperature and respiration rate of a patient which comprises:

2. The apparatus for determining temperature and respiration rate according to claim 1 wherein the respiration responsive member is a temperature sensitive device.

3. The apparatus for determining temperature and respiration rate according to claim 1 wherein the respiration responsive member is a moisture sensitive device.

4. The apparatus for determining temperature and respiration rate according to claim 1 wherein the respiration responsive member is a pressure sensitive device.

5. The apparatus for determining temperature and respiration rate according to claim 1 further including a cover extending over said one end of the probe and including a portion having low thermal impedance positioned in engagement with the temperature responsive member so that the temperature responsive member is actuated by heat transfer through the disposable cover.

6. The apparatus for determining temperature and respiration rate according to claim 5 wherein the cover further includes a dish-shaped portion surrounding the respiration responsive member for directing air exhaled by the patient into engagement therewith.

7. Apparatus for determing the temperature and the respiration rate of a patient which comprises:

8. The apparatus for determining temperature and respiration rates according to claim 7 wherein the cover is formed substantially entirely from plastic and includes a metal tip portion comprising the low thermal impedance portion thereof.

9. The apparatus for determining temperature and respiration rates according to claim 8 wherein the air directing means of the cover comprises a dish-shaped member having a central aperture for receiving the respiration responsive member on the probe.

10. The apparatus for determining temperature and respiration rates according to claim 7 wherein the respiration responsive member comprises a temperature sensitive device.

11. The apparatus for determining temperature and respiration rates according to claim 7 wherein the respiration responsive member comprises a moisture sensitive device.

12. The apparatus for determining temperature and respiration rates according to claim 7 wherein the respiration responsive member comprises a pressure sensitive device.

13. For use in conjunction with apparatus for determining the temperature and the respiration rate of a patient of the type comprising an elongate probe, a temperature responsive means positioned at the tip of the probe for positioning in the mouth of the patient, and a respiration responsive means supported on the probe for engagement by air exhaled through the nose of the patient, an at least semi-disposable cover comprising:

14. The disposable cover according to claim 13 wherein the body portion of the deflector means is formed form a plastic material and wherein the tip is formed from metal.

15. The disposable cover according to claim 14 wherein the deflector means comprises a dish-shaped member and cylindrical portion extending form the dish-shaped member for receiving the respiration responsive means.

16. Apparatus for use in the measurement of temperature and respiration rate, which comprises:

17. Apparatus for use in the measurement of temperature and respiration rate as set forth in claim 16 including a deflector member surrounding the respiration responsive means for attachment to said elongate probe to direct air exhaled by the human into engagement with the respiration responsive means.

18. Apparatus for use in the measurement of temperature and respiration rate as set forth in claim 16 including a cover extending over the one end of said probe and including a portion having a low thermal impedance positioned in engagement with the temperature responsive means so that the temperature responsive means is actuated by heat transferred through the portion having a low thermal impedance.

19. Apparatus for use in the measurement of temperature and respiration rate, which comprises:

20. Apparatus for use in the measurement of temperature and respiration rate as set forth in claim 19 including a deflector member surrounding the respiration responsinve means and attached to the elongate probe to direct air exhaled by the human into engagement with the respiration responsive means.

21. Apparatus for use in the measurement of temperature and respiration rate as set forth in claim 19 including:

22. Apparatus for determining the temperature and respiration rate of a patient, which comprises:

23. Apparatus for determining the temperature and respiration rate of a patient, which comprises:

Description:
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to temperature and respiration rate determining systems, and more particularly to an electronic system for simultaneously determining the temperature and the respiration rate of a patient.

At the present time, there is considerable interest in electronic systems for gathering and processing medical data. One factor underlying this activity is the spiraling costs of medical services. Electronic systems typically operate very rapidly and are often adapted for automatic or semi-automatic actuation. By this means the time consuming manual operations which have heretofore been involved in gathering and processing medical data are reduced if not entirely eliminated. This in turn produces a substantial reduction in the costs involved in gathering and processing such data.

Another factor involved in the increasing use of electronic systems in medical data gathering and processing functions involves the accuracy and reliability of the resulting data. Electronic systems are often considerably more accurate than corresponding manual systems, and often are capable of obtaining data which is simply not available from other sources. Moreover, electronic medical data gathering and processing systems are often adapted for use in conjunction with associated electronic computing and/or recording apparatus. By this means the possibilities of error which are always present in manual data gathering and processing procedures are completely eliminated.

The present invention relates to an electronic system for simultaneously determining the temperature and the respiration rate of a patient. In accordance with the broader aspects of the invention, there is provided an elongate probe having suitable dimensions for positioning in the mouth of a patient. A temperature responsive member is mounted at the tip of the probe and is therefore adapted to produce an output indicative of the temperature of the patient.

A respiration responsive member is mounted on the probe at a point displaced from the tip. The respiration responsive member is therefore positioned in the path of air exhaled through the nose of the patient. By this means the respiration responsive member produces an output indicative of the respiration rate of the patient.

In accordance with other aspects of the invention, the probe is enclosed during use by a removable cover which is disposable or at least semi-disposable. The cover includes a plastic body extending to a metal tip which contacts the temperature responsive member. The temperature responsive member is therefore actuated by heat transfer through the disposable cover. A cup-shaped member is supported on the body of the cover and includes a cylindrical portion which receives the respiration responsive member. The cup-shaped member functions to direct air exhaled through the nose of the patient across the respiration responsive member.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the invention may be had by referring to the following Detailed Description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is an illustration of an electronic medical data acquisition system utilizing the invention;

FIG. 2 is an illustration of the use of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a system for determining temperature and respiration rate incorporating a first embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a top view of a system for determining temperature and respiration rate incorporating a second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 5--5 in FIG. 4 in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the first embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged illustration of certain features of the second embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 8 is an enlargement of a portion of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the Drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1 thereof, the present invention is utilized in conjunction with an electronic medical data acquisition system 10. The data acquisition system 10 includes a data display and recording unit 12 comprising a plurality of control keys 14 and a data display screen 18. A temperature and respiration rate determining system 20 incorporating the present invention is connected to the display and recording unit 12 by a cable 22. Similarly, a pulse rate determining system 24 is connected to the display and recording unit 12 by a cable 26.

In the use of the data acquisition system 10, the temperature and respiration rate determining system 20 is utilized to generate signals indicative of the temperature and the respiration rate of the patient. These signals are fed to the display and recording unit 12 through the cable 22. At the same time, the pulse rate determining system 24 is utilized to generate signals indicative of the pulse rate of the patient. These signals are fed to the display and recording unit 12 through the cable 26.

Within the display and recording unit 12 the signals generated by the temperature and respiration rate determining system 20 and by the pulse rate determining system 24 are converted to temperature, respiration, and pulse rate information. This information is stored within the data display and recording unit 12, and is displayed on the display screen 18 thereof either automatically or by actuating appropriate control keys 14. The data display and recording unit 12 is further adapted to transfer the stored data to associated computing and/or recording equipment, whereby the data may be further processed, etc.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 6, there is shown a temperature and respiration rate determining system 30 incorporating a first embodiment of the invention. The system 30 comprises an elongate probe 32 including a holder 34. A barrel 36 is slidably received in the holder 34 and is biased outwardly by a spring 38. A tube 40 extends rearwardly from the barrel 36 to a handle 42 having a cap 44 received therein. The component parts of the probe 32 other than the tube may be formed from a suitable plastic such as "Delrin," "Lexan," polystyrene, etc., and the tube 40 may be formed from stainless steel, or the like.

As is best shown in FIG. 8, a first transducer 45 is mounted in the end of the barrel 36 of the probe 32 remote from the handle 42. The transducer 45 is enclosed by a metal cover 46 which projects from the end of the barrel 36 to define the tip of the probe 32. Referring to FIG. 6 a second transducer 48 is mounted in the barrel 36 at a point substantially displaced from the tip of the probe 32. The transducer 48 extends angularly upwardly relative to the remaining components of the probe 32. The transducers 45 and 48 are both connected to a cable 50 extending through the barrel 36, the tube 40, the handle 42, and the cap 44, and serving to connect the transducers 45 and 48 to associated apparatus, for example, the data display and recording unit 12 illustrated in FIG. 1.

The first transducer 45 is preferably a temperature sensitive transducer, and as such may comprise a thermistor or other temperature sensitive component. The second transducer may also comprise a temperature sensitive transducer, if desired. However, as will become more apparent hereinafter, the transducer may also comprise apparatus responsive to the moisture content of the breath, apparatus responsive to pressure exerted by exhaled breath, etc.

The temperature and respiration rate determining system 30 further includes a probe cover 52. The cover 52 is removable, and preferably is disposable, i.e., adapted for one-time use only, or at least semi-disposable, i.e., adapted for use by a single patient only. The cover 52 comprises a body 54 formed from a suitable plastic material such as polystyrene, and having interior dimensions substantially similar to the exterior dimensions of the probe 32. A metal cap 56 is secured to the end of the body 54 corresponding to the tip of the probe 32. The cap 56 is preferably rigidly secured to the body 54, such as by molding material of the body 54 around the cap 56.

The probe cover 52 further includes a spherical disk 58 mounted on the body 54. An aperture 60 is formed in the disk 58 and a cylindrical portion 62 extends rearwardly from the disk. The cylindrical portion 62 receives the second transducer 48 extending from the probe 32.

The disposable cover 52 is positioned over the barrel 36 of the probe 32 prior to the use of the temperature and respiration rate determining system 30. Referring to FIG. 6, the cover 52 includes a slot 64 and the probe 32 is provided with a projection 66 which cooperate to assure proper registration between the second transducer 48 and the disk 58 and the cylindrical portion 62. As the cover 52 is slid into position, the spring 38 is compressed, thereby maintaining an intimate springloaded contact between the first transducer 45 and its surrounding cover 46 and the cap 56 of the cover 52. Such contact is important in assuring a path of low thermal impedance through the cover 52 to the first transducer 45.

The use of the temperature and respiration rate determining system 30 is illustrated in FIG. 2. The tip of the probe 32 as defined by the first transducer 45 and the surrounding portion of the cover 52 is positioned within the mouth of a patient P. By this means the first transducer 45 is actuated to generate a signal indicative of the temperature of the patient. This signal is transferred to associated apparatus through the cable 50.

The positioning of the barrel 36 and the surrounding portion of the cover 52 within the mouth of the patient P automatically positions the second transducer 48 in the path of air exhaled through the nose of the patient. By this means the second thermistor 48 is cyclically actuated in synchronism with the breathing of the patient, and thereby generates a signal indicative of the respiration rate of the patient. This signal is conveyed to associated apparatus by the cable 50. The operation of the second transducer 48 in determining the respiration rate of the patient is facilitated by the disk 58 and the cylindrical portion 62 of the disposable cover 52 which function to direct the air exhaled through the nose of the patient across the second thermistor 48. The disk 58 and the cylindrical portion 62 also prevent extraneous drafts from contacting the second transducer 48.

Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 5, there is shown a temperature and respiration rate determining system 70 comprising a second embodiment of the invention. The system 70 includes a one-piece barrel 72 which may be formed from one of the various plastic materials, such as "Lexan," etc. The barrel 72 includes a handle portion 74 which receives a cap 76. As is best shown in FIG. 7, the barrel 72 further comprises a pair of opposed cover retaining beads 80 which project outwardly from the barrel 72 at points indicated by the line 82 in FIG. 4.

A first transducer 85 is mounted in the end of the barrel 72 remote from the handle 74. Like the transducer 45, the transducer 85 is enclosed by a metal cover 86 which serves to define the tip of the barrel 72. A cable 88 extends from a first transducer 85 through the barrel 72 and through the cap 76 and serves to connect the temperature and respiration rate determining systems 70 to associated apparatus. A second transducer 90 is mounted in the barrel 72 at a point displaced from the tip thereof. The second transducer 90 extends angularly upwardly relative to the remaining components of the barrel 72. Like the first transducer 85, the second transducer 90 is connected to associated apparatus by the cable 88.

The first transducer 85 is temperature sensitive, and therefore comprises a thermistor or similar temperature sensitive component. The second transducer 90 may comprise a temperature sensitive device, a moisture sensitive device, a pressure sensitive device, depending on particular requirements.

It will be appreciated that the positioning of the transducers comprising the temperature and respiration rate determining system 70 with respect to the barrel 72 is substantially identical to the positioning of the transducers comprising the temperature and respiration rate determining system 30 with respect to the probe 32. This fact permits the use of the same probe cover 52 in conjunction with the temperature and respiration rate determining system 70. One difference between the two embodiments of the invention is that in the case of the temperature and respiration rate determining system 70, the cap 56 of the cover 52 is maintained in intimate contact with the cover 86 enclosing the first transducer 85 by means of the beads 80 which receive a groove 92 formed in the interior of the cover 52. It has been found that this construction serves equally as well as the spring loaded construction of the probe 32 to maintain the necessary contact between these component parts.

As is best shown in FIG. 4, the probe 70 includes a ridge 92 which receives the slotted portion 64 of the cover 52. By this means proper registration of the component parts of the cover 52 and the second transducer 90 is assured.

The temperature and respiration rate determining system 70 is used in the same manner as described hereinbefore in conjunction with the system 30 and FIG. 2. The tip of the barrel 72 and the surrounding portion of the cover 52 is positioned in the mouth of the patient. Thereupon the first transducer 85 is actuated to generate an output signal indicative of the temperature of the patient. Actuation of the first transducer 85 is by means of heat transfer through the cap 56 of the cover 52. The output signal from the first transducer 85 is connected to associated apparatus by the cable 88.

The positioning of the tip of the barrel 72 of the system in the mouth of the patient assures the positioning of the second transducer 90 in the path of air exhaled through the nose of the patient. By this means the second transducer 90 is cyclically actuated in accordance with the breathing of the patient, and thereby generates an output signal indicative of the respiration rate of the patient. Again, the disk 58 and the cylindrical portion 62 of the cover 52 functions to direct air exhaled through the nose of the patient across the second transducer and to prevent actuation of the transducer 90 by extraneous drafts.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate the fact that the present invention incorporates numerous advantages over the devices that have heretofore been provided for determining the temperature and the respiration rate of a patient. For example, by means of the present invention, the temperature and the respiration rate of the patient are simultaneously determined with no additional effort over that which would be required to determine temperature only. Another advantage relates to the construction of the probe of the invention, whereby apparatus for determining respiration rate is automatically correctly positioned whenever the probe is utilized to determine temperature. An associated advantage involves the fact that the positioning of the probe in the mouth of the patient to determine temperature forces the mouth of the patient to be closed, whereby breathing must take place through the nose of the patient. Still another advantage involves the fact that securing means such as adhesive tape, straps, clips, etc. are not necessary to the practice of the invention.

Although preferred embodiments of the invention have been illustrated in the accompanying Drawings and described in the foregoing Detailed Description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications, and substitutions of parts and elements without departing from the spirit of the invention.