Title:
Two-end vial and radiopharmaceuticals dispensing and injection system incorporating the two-end vial
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A two-end vial includes a body with an upper opening at the top and a lower opening at the bottom. The upper opening is sealed with an upper stopper and the lower opening is sealed with a lower stopper, forming a closed chamber for containing a liquid radiopharmaceuticals therein. An air filter means is mounted to the upper stopper. Also, a radiopharmaceuticals supply unit is connected to the upper stopper for supplying the radiopharmaceuticals to the body. The radiopharmaceuticals supply unit may include an inlet tube or a syringe. A radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit withdraws the radiopharmaceuticals from the body via the lower stopper. The radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit may include an outlet tube or a syringe for drawing the radiopharmaceuticals.



Inventors:
Muto, Akio (Shonandai Fujisawa-City, JP)
Hu, Chi-min (Taipei, TW)
Application Number:
11/044067
Publication Date:
08/11/2005
Filing Date:
01/28/2005
Assignee:
MUTO AKIO
HU CHI-MIN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/DIG.3, 220/916, 215/247
International Classes:
A61J1/05; A61J1/06; A61J1/20; B65D1/06; B65D39/00; (IPC1-7): B65D39/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HAND, MELANIE JO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROSENBERG, KLEIN & LEE (3458 ELLICOTT CENTER DRIVE-SUITE 101, ELLICOTT CITY, MD, 21043, US)
Claims:
1. A two-end vial and a radiopharmaceucticals dispensing and injection system incorporating the two-end vial, comprising: a body, which is hollow and formed with an upper opening at the top and a lower opening at the bottom of the body; an upper stopper, which is mounted to the upper opening of the body for sealing the upper opening; a lower stopper, which is mounted to the lower opening of the body for sealing the lower opening, and by sealing the body with the upper stopper and the lower stopper, a closed chamber is formed for accommodation of radiopharmaceucticals therein; and a radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit, which is connected to the lower stopper for withdrawing the radiopharmaceucticals from the body.

2. The two-end vial and radiopharmaceucticals dispensing and injection system incorporating the two-end vial as claimed in claim 1, wherein the two-end vial is further connected with a radiopharmaceuticals supply unit which supplies radiopharmaceuticals to the body through the upper stopper.

3. The two-end vial and radiopharmaceucticals dispensing and injection system incorporating the two-end vial as claimed in claim 2, wherein the radiopharmaceuticals supply unit comprises an inlet tube, in which one end of the inlet tube is provided with a needle for inserting to the upper stopper, and the other end of the inlet tube is connected with a radiopharmaceuticals reservoir.

4. The two-end vial and radiopharmaceuticals dispensing and injection system incorporating the two-end vial as claimed in claim 1, wherein the radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit comprises an outlet tube, in which one end of the outlet tube is inserted to the lower stopper, and the radiopharmaceuticals is conveyed through the other end.

5. The two-end vial and radiopharmaceucticals dispensing and injection system incorporating the two-end vial as claimed in claim 1, wherein the radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit comprises a syringe which includes a needle at the front end for inserting through the lower stopper and drawing the liquid radiopharmaceuticals contained in the body.

6. The two-end vial and radiopharmaceucticals dispensing and injection system incorporating the two-end vial as claimed in claim 1, wherein the upper stopper is further provided with an air filter means which comprises a needle for inserting to the upper stopper.

7. A two-end vial, comprising: a body, which is hollow and formed with an upper opening at the top and a lower opening at the bottom of the body; an upper stopper, which is mounted to the upper opening of the body for sealing the upper opening; and a lower stopper, which is mounted to the lower opening of the body for sealing the lower opening; wherein by sealing the body with the upper stopper and the lower stopper, a closed chamber is formed for accommodation of radiopharmaceucticals therein.

8. A two-end vial as claimed in claim 7, wherein the body has an annular shape configuration, and the diameter of the body is larger than the diameter of the upper opening and the diameter of the lower opening.

9. A two-end vial as claimed in claim 7, wherein the body is made of transparent material.

10. A two-end vial as claimed in claim 7, wherein the outer wall of the body is provided with graduations for indicating the volume.

11. A two-end vial as claimed in claim 7, wherein the upper opening further comprises a lateral flange.

12. A two-end vial as claimed in claim 7, wherein the lower opening further comprises a lateral flange.

13. A two-end vial as claimed in claim 7, wherein at least one of the openings of the body comprises a regular annular shape configuration.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an improved vial, and in particular to a two-end vial and a radiopharmacuticals dispensing and injection system incorporating the two-end vial.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Traditionally, a medical fluid used for medical treatment is stored in a vial. Vial is a closed container generally made of glass or polymeric materials, and provided with an opening at one end for supply and withdrawal of medical fluid. The opening is closed by a stopper made of rubber which provides good sealing. The rubber stopper can be pierced by a needle of, e.g. a syringe, which can keep good sealing even when pierced by the needle. By inserting a syringe to the stopper, the medical fluid is withdrawn from the vial.

When applying the conventional vial, after inserting the needle through the stopper, it is required to place the vial upside-down, so that the medical fluid flows through the needle. After the vial is emptied, it is reversed for replacement. Practically, it is rather inconvenient to use this type of vial.

When using the conventional vials in nuclear medicine, the radioactive compounds in radiopharmaceuticals give off strong radiation, which, if not properly shielded, may cause serious damage to the medical employees, such as technicians and nurses, who are in charge of handling, dispensing, transportation, and injection of radiopharmaceuticals for medical treatment. For example, the medical employee has to place the vial in proper position in order to fill the radiopharmaceuticals through the opening. Accordingly, the medical employees are susceptible to radiation pollution.

To protect the medical employees from radiation pollution, radiation shielding is commonly provided at operation. Conventional arrangement for radiation shielding involves a casing or container to prevent leakage of radiation of the radiopharmaceuticals received or accommodated therein. However, in retrieval, disposition, dispensing, and injection of the radiopharmaceuticals to the conventional vials with one opening in the radiation shielding, it is needed to design and incorporate a driving mechanism which is capable to turn the vials upside-down and to reverse the vials according to operating procedures. Such a driving mechanism is critical to fulfill automated operation. Otherwise, it is inevitable to use manual operation to place the vials in correct positions. Obviously, it enhances the risk of radiation pollution to the medical employees.

Currently, the improvements to medical equipment and accessories mainly focus on delivery systems, radiation shields or operation mechanisms. Surprisingly, no one intends to improve the vial. In fact, despite the medical equipment and accessories are functionally and structurally advanced, the operation efficiency and safety of these medical equipment and accessories are limited by the conventional vial which possesses a single opening.

Thus, it is desired to have a vial with improved structure to solve the aforesaid problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A primary objective of the present invention is to provide a two-end vial which removes the limitation of conventional vial with a single opening.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a vial with two openings, one at the top and one at the bottom of the vial. Hence, the vial can be used widely and flexibly. Medical fluid can be filled to and withdrawn from the vial through either opening. It would be easy for arrangement of tubes, syringes and other accessories to the vial.

A further objective of the present invention is to provide a vial structure that is easy for operation. It is not necessary to turn and reverse the vial.

Yet a further objective of the present invention is to provide a vial structure that allows the automatic dispensing and injection of medical fluid. The vial can be used in automated operation, such that simple driving mechanism can be used to control the vial.

A further objective of the present invention is to provide a medical fluid dispensing and injection system incorporating the two-end vial. The two-end vial is arranged with a radiopharmaceuticals supply unit and a radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit to form a complete radiopharmaceuticals dispensing and injection system.

To achieve the above objects, in accordance with the present invention, there is provided a two-end vial and a radiopharmaceuticals dispensing and injection system. The two-end vial includes a body with an upper opening at the top and a lower opening at the bottom. The upper opening is sealed with an upper stopper and the lower opening is sealed with a lower stopper, forming a closed chamber for containing a liquid radiopharmaceuticals therein. An air filter means is mounted to the upper stopper. Also, a radiopharmaceuticals supply unit is connected to the upper stopper for supplying the radiopharmaceuticals to the body. The radiopharmaceuticals supply unit may include an inlet tube or a syringe. A radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit withdraws the radiopharmaceuticals from the body via the lower stopper. The radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit may include an outlet tube or a syringe for drawing the radiopharmaceuticals.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art by reading the following description of a preferred embodiment thereof, with reference to the attached drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a two-end vial constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the two-end vial;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a schematic view showing a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a schematic view showing a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a schematic view showing a third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a schematic view showing a fourth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a schematic view showing a fifth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a schematic view showing a sixth embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 10 is a sectional view taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to the drawings and in particular to FIGS. 1 to 3, FIG. 1 shows the exploded view of a two-end vial constructed in accordance with the present invention, FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the two-end vial and FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

The two-end vial includes a body 1 which is hollow and formed with an upper opening 11 at the top and a lower opening 12 at the bottom. The body 1 is of annular shape with a cross-sectional diameter greater than that of the upper opening 11 and that of the lower opening 12. In other words, the upper opening 11 and the lower opening 12 are dimensionally narrower than the body 1.

The body 1 is made of transparent material. Graduations 10 are provided at the outer wall of the body 1 for indicating the volume. Thereby, a user can read and control the amount of the medical fluid from the graduations 10.

A stopper 2 is mounted to the upper opening 11 of the body 1 for sealing the upper opening 11. Similarly, a stopper 3 is mounted to the lower opening 12 of the body 1 for sealing the lower opening 12. The stoppers 2, 3 are made of materials with good sealing ability and can be pierced through by a needle, and even when pierced by a needle, the stoppers 2, 3 can provide good sealing to the body 1. In accordance with requirements, the stoppers 2 and 3 can be selectively made of different materials. Take for an example. In the case the vial is used for common medical treatment, the stopper 2 is made of rubber or similar material.

Please refer to FIG. 4 showing a first embodiment of the present invention, in which the two-end vial is incorporated to a radiopharmaceucticals dispensing and injection system. As shown, after sealing with the stoppers 2, 3, the body 1 is formed with a closed chamber for accommodation of medical fluid therein. The medical fluid may comprise a liquid form radiopharmaceuticals 4.

A radiopharmaceuticals supply unit 5 is provided for supplying radiopharmaceuticals 4 to the body 1. In this embodiment, radiopharmaceuticals supply unit 5 includes an inlet tube 51 which is provided with a needle 52 for inserting to the stopper 2. Through the inlet tube 51 and the needle 52, radiopharmaceuticals is supplied from a radiopharmaceuticals reservoir 53 to the body 1.

Also, an air filter means 6 is mounted to the stopper 2 to maintain the air pressure in the body 1. When radiopharmaceuticals 4 is withdrawn from the body 1, ambient air flows in and is filtered through the air filter means 6 to the body 1. Accordingly, the air pressure in the body 1 is maintained.

A radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit 7 is connected to the stopper 3 at the lower opening 12 of the body 1. In the embodiment, the radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit 7 comprises a syringe 71 which includes a needle 72 at the front end. The needle 72 is pierced through the stopper 3 to the body 1 for drawing the radiopharmaceuticals 4 contained therein.

Please refer to FIG. 5, in which a second embodiment of the present invention is shown. In this embodiment, the radiopharmaceucticals dispensing and injection system incorporating the two-end vial is substantially identical to the radiopharmaceucticals dispensing and injection system discussed with reference to FIG. 4, and like reference numerals are used to identify elements that are similar or identical in the two embodiments. The two-end vial includes a body 1, and an upper stopper 2 at the top and a lower stopper 3 at the bottom of the body 1. The body 1 is connected with a radiopharmaceuticals supply unit 5. However, the second embodiment is different from the first embodiment in that the radiopharmaceuticals withdrawal unit 7 comprises an outlet tube 73 and a needle 74. The needle 74 is arranged at the front end of the outlet tube 73 and inserted to the lower stopper 3 for drawing the radiopharmaceuticals 4 from the body 1.

FIG. 6 is a schematic view showing a third embodiment of the present invention. The third embodiment is substantially similar to the first embodiment, and like reference numerals are used to identify elements that are similar or identical in the two embodiments. The third embodiment is different from the first embodiment in that the upper stopper 2 is not provided with any radiopharmaceuticals supply unit. Alternatively, the radiopharmaceuticals 4 is filled in advance to the body 1 before mounting the upper stopper 2 to the body 1. The upper stopper 2 is inserted only with an air filter means 6. The lower stopper 3 is inserted with a syringe 71 for drawing the radiopharmaceuticals 4 from the body 1. By means of the air filter means 6, the air pressure in the body 1 is maintained.

Please refer to FIG. 7 which is a schematic view showing a fourth embodiment of the present invention. The fourth embodiment is substantially similar to the second embodiment of FIG. 5, and like reference numerals are used to identify elements that are similar or identical in the two embodiments. The fourth embodiment is different from the second embodiment in that the upper stopper 2 is not provided with any radiopharmaceuticals supply unit. Alternatively, the radiopharmaceuticals 4 is filled in advance to the body 1 before mounting the upper stopper 2 to the body 1. The upper stopper 2 is inserted only with an air filter means 6. The lower stopper 3 is inserted with a needle 74 connected with an outlet tube 73 for drawing the radiopharmaceuticals 4 from the body 1. By means of the air filter means 6, the air pressure in the body 1 is maintained.

FIG. 8 shows a schematic view showing a fifth embodiment of the present invention. The fifth embodiment is substantially similar to the second embodiment of FIG. 4, and like reference numerals are used to identify elements that are similar or identical in the two embodiments. The fifth embodiment is different from the second embodiment in that the body 1 in FIG. 8 comprises a flat circular bottom 13 with a lower opening 12 of regular annular shape. Hence, the body 1 has a uniform lower part, facilitating the measurement of the fluid volume. The user can directly read the amount of the radiopharmaceucticals 4 from the graduations on the body 1.

FIG. 9 is a schematic view showing a sixth embodiment of the present invention. The two-end vial of this embodiment is substantially similar to that of FIG. 1, and like reference numerals are used to identify elements that are similar or identical in the two embodiments. Please also refer to FIG. 10 which is a sectional view taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 9. The sixth embodiment is different in that the upper opening 11 comprises a lateral flange 14 and the lower opening 12 comprises a lateral flange 15. The lateral flanges 14, 15 facilitate and secure the fastening or engagement of the body 1 to a holder.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiment thereof, it is apparent to those skilled in the art that a variety of modifications and changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention which is intended to be defined by the appended claims.