Title:
Patient supporting table
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A patient supporting table that includes a supporting device having a table column with a vertical axis, and a table top for supporting a patient, the table top supported by the table column and arranged to move back and forth in the longitudinal direction of the table top between a retracted and an extended position, and further arranged to rotate back and forth about the vertical axis between a first and a second pivot position. The table top can be detached from the supporting device in at least one pivot position.



Inventors:
Stolze, Dirk (Saalfeld, DE)
Hopfe, Peter (Ludwigsstadt, DE)
Georgi, Falk (Unterwirbach, DE)
Application Number:
10/739990
Publication Date:
10/14/2004
Filing Date:
12/18/2003
Assignee:
STOLZE DIRK
HOPFE PETER
GEORGI FALK
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61B6/04; A61G13/02; A61G7/10; A61G13/06; (IPC1-7): A47B13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SPAHN, GAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FISH & RICHARDSON P.C. (BO) (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A patient supporting table comprising: a supporting device comprising a table column having a vertical axis; and a table top for supporting a patient, the table top supported by the table column and arranged to move back and forth in the longitudinal direction of the table top between a retracted and an extended position, and further arranged to rotate back and forth about the vertical axis between a first and a second pivot position, wherein in at least one pivot position the table top can be detached from the supporting device.

2. The patient supporting table of claim 1, wherein in an extended position the table top projects by a length of at least 1.5 m away from the supporting device.

3. The patient supporting table of claim 1, wherein the table top is placeable in its extended position on a trolley.

4. The patient supporting table of claim 3, wherein the trolley is height-adjustable.

5. The patient supporting table of claim 3, wherein the table column is height-adjustable.

6. The patient supporting table of claim 1, wherein the table top is fixed with respect to rotation to the supporting device, and wherein the supporting device can be rotated about the vertical axis of the table column.

7. The patient supporting table of claim 1, wherein the table top can be rotated with respect to the supporting device.

8. The patient supporting table of claim 1, wherein the table top can be rotated through at least 90 degrees about the vertical axis of the table column.

9. The patient supporting table of claim 1, wherein the supporting device comprises a table top receptacle that constrains the table top with respect to lateral motion, and the table top receptacle is fixed to the table column at an offset to the vertical axis of the table column.

10. The patient supporting table of claim 9, wherein the table top receptacle constrains the table top at longitudinal sides of the table top receptacle.

11. The patient supporting table of claim 10, wherein the table top receptacle can be tilted about a tilting axis that is transverse to the longitudinal axis of the table.

12. A method comprising: transporting a patient on a table top located on a trolley; securing the table top in a first pivot position to a supporting device of a patient supporting table; retracting the table top, thereby removing the table top from the trolley; rotating the table top to a second pivot position that aligns with a therapeutic or diagnostic medical device having a working space; extending the table top to move the patient into the working space of the medical device; performing a therapeutic or diagnostic procedure on the patient; retracting the table top; rotating the table top to the first pivot position; extending the table top onto the trolley; detaching the table top from the supporting device; and transporting the patient away from the medical device using the trolley.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein securing the table top in the first pivot position to the supporting device comprises raising the supporting device to contact and lift the table top from the trolley.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein detaching the table top from the supporting device comprises lowering the supporting device to lower the table top onto the trolley.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein securing the table top in the first pivot position to the supporting device comprises lowering the trolley to rest the table top on the supporting device.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein detaching the table top from the supporting device further comprises raising the trolley to contact and lift the table top from the supporting device.

17. The method of claim 12 further comprising tilting the table top along a tilting axis that is transverse to the longitudinal axis of the table top.

18. The method of claim 12, wherein the supporting device is a table column.

19. A patient supporting system comprising the patient supporting table of claim 1 and a trolley.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention relates to patient supporting tables.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0002] This application claims the benefit of the filing date of German application No. 102 61 759.7, filed Dec. 19, 2002, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety and for all purposes.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Patient support tables commonly position a patient during treatment or examination in medical therapy or diagnosis. For example, patient support tables can position a patient during an imaging procedure such as magnetic resonance and computer tomography. To examine the patient, patient support tables allow a table top (holding the patient) of the patient support table to be placed in the longitudinal direction of the table between a retracted position and an extended position. In the extended position, the front end of the top is further from the supporting device than in the retracted position. The table top can also be pivoted about the vertical axis of the table column between a first pivot position and a second pivot position. In a first pivot position, the table top can be taken up for examining the patient. In a second pivot position, the patient resting on the table top can, for example, be subjected to additional therapies or diagnosis. In the second pivot position, the patient can also be picked up from the table top and transferred to a trolley for transportation.

SUMMARY

[0004] In one aspect, the invention features a patient supporting table that includes a supporting device having a table column with a vertical axis, and a table top for supporting a patient, the table top supported by the table column and arranged to move back and forth in the longitudinal direction of the table top between a retracted and an extended position, and further arranged to rotate back and forth about the vertical axis between a first and a second pivot position, wherein in at least one pivot position the table top can be detached from the supporting device.

[0005] Embodiments may include one or more of the following. In an extended position, the table top projects by a length of at least 1.5 m away from the supporting device. The table top is placeable in its extended position on a trolley. In some cases, the trolley is height-adjustable. In some cases, the table column is height-adjustable. The table top is fixed with respect to rotation to the supporting device, and the supporting device can be rotated about the vertical axis of the table column. The table top can be rotated with respect to the supporting device. The table top can be rotated through at least 90 degrees about the vertical axis of the table column. The supporting device includes a table top receptacle that constrains the table top with respect to lateral motion, and the table top receptacle is fixed to the table column at an offset to the vertical axis of the table column. In some cases, the table top receptacle constrains the table top at longitudinal sides of the table top receptacle. In some of these cases, the table top receptacle can be tilted about a tilting axis that is transverse to the longitudinal axis of the table.

[0006] In another aspect, the invention features a method that includes transporting a patient on a table top located on a trolley, securing the table top in a first pivot position to a supporting device of a patient supporting table, retracting the table top, thereby removing the table top from the trolley, rotating the table top to a second pivot position that aligns with a therapeutic or diagnostic medical device having a working space, extending the table top to move the patient into the working space of the medical device, and performing a therapeutic or diagnostic procedure on the patient. The method also includes retracting the table top, rotating the table top to the first pivot position, extending the table top onto the trolley, detaching the table top from the supporting device, and transporting the patient away from the medical device using the trolley.

[0007] Embodiments may include one or more of the following. Securing the table top in the first pivot position to the supporting device includes raising the supporting device to contact and lift the table top from the trolley. Detaching the table top from the supporting device includes lowering the supporting device to lower the table top onto the trolley. Securing the table top in the first pivot position to the supporting device includes lowering the trolley to rest the table top on the supporting device. Detaching the table top from the supporting device further includes raising the trolley to contact and lift the table top from the supporting device. The method further includes tilting the table top along a tilting axis that is transverse to the longitudinal axis of the table top. The supporting device is a table column.

[0008] In another aspect, the invention features a patient supporting system that includes the patient supporting table of claim 1 and a trolley.

[0009] These and other embodiments may have one or more of the following advantages. The transfer of a patient from a table top of a patient supporting table off or onto a trolley can be simplified. The patient resting on the table top can be examined by an imaging procedure, e.g., magnetic resonance or computer tomography.

[0010] The details of one or more embodiments of the invention are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0011] FIGS. 1 and 2 are a schematic side view and a schematic plan view, respectively, of a patient supporting table in combination with a magnetic resonance installation, with the table top of the patient supporting table in its first pivot and extended position.

[0012] FIGS. 3 and 4 are a schematic side view and a schematic plan view, respectively, of the patient supporting table of FIGS. 1 and 2, with the table top in its first pivot and retracted position.

[0013] FIGS. 5 and 6 are a schematic side view and a schematic plan view, respectively, of the patient supporting table of FIGS. 1 and 2, with the table top in its second pivot and retracted position.

[0014] FIGS. 7 and 8 are a schematic side view and a schematic plan view, respectively, of the patient supporting table of FIGS. 1 and 2, with the table top in its second pivot and extended position.

[0015] FIG. 9 is a schematic perspective illustration of a patient supporting table, with the table top in its first pivot and extended position.

[0016] FIG. 10 is a schematic perspective illustration of the patient supporting table of FIG. 9, with the table top in its second pivot and extended position.

[0017] Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] Referring to FIGS. 1 to 8, a patient supporting table 10 is used for examining a patient 12 in a magnetic resonance installation 14. The patient supporting table 10 includes a table top 16 on which the patient 12 rests, and a supporting device in the form of a table column 18 that supports the table top 16. The table top 16 can be made of a material having a high degree of transparency for X-ray radiation. The total length of the table top 16 preferably exceeds 2.0 meters, in particular, 2.3 meters. This ensures that the patient can be examined over the total length of his body by an imaging procedure. This also ensures that a reliable holding of the table top 16 in its extended position is guaranteed, with the table top 16 being held on the table column 18 for displacement in the longitudinal direction over a length of at least 2.0 meters.

[0019] The table column 18 allows the table top 16 to be displaced in the longitudinal direction of the table top 16, so that the table top 16 can be moved back and forth between a retracted position shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, and an extended position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The retracted position of the table top 16 is selected such that the center of gravity of the patient coincides approximately with the vertical axis 20 of the table column 18. The extended position of the table top 16 is selected to enable introduction of the patient 12 on the table top 16 into the magnetic resonance installation 14 for at least partial transillumination. Table column 18 includes linear guides (not shown), such as electric servomotors, to move the table top 16 on the table column 18 in the longitudinal direction. The linear guides can be controllable by a central control unit of the magnetic resonance installation 14 using standard techniques. The linear guides can be used to move the table top 16 in and out of the magnetic resonance installation 14 under control of the central control unit, or by conventional control switches generated by a user. The linear guides are positioned such that they are located as far as possible from the magnetic resonance installation 14. The linear guides can be made of materials which do not significantly affect magnetic fields. Such materials include high-grade or stainless steels and ceramics. Thus, the magnetic fields of the magnetic resonance installation 14 are not significantly affected by the linear guides.

[0020] The table top 16 is fixed with respect to rotation on the table column 18, and the table column 18 can be pivoted back and forth about the vertical axis 20 between a first and a second pivot position. In the first pivot position, shown in FIGS. 1 to 4, the longitudinal axis of the table top 16 is in parallel alignment with the axis of symmetry 22 of the magnetic resonance installation 14. In the second pivot position, shown in FIGS. 5 to 8, the table top 16 is pivoted such that the longitudinal axis of the table is aligned perpendicularly to the axis of symmetry 22 of the magnetic resonance installation 14. The table top 16 can be pivoted manually or by additional rotational servomotors. The table top 16 can be locked into either the first or second pivot position using the rotational servomotors. In some examples, brakes can be used to hold the table top 16 in the first or second pivot position. Locking the table top 16 into a pivot position is either done manually using a foot pedal or by using the electric controls for the servomotors.

[0021] Referring to FIGS. 5 to 8, in the second pivot position, the table top 16 can be moved back and forth between its extended position and its retracted position. In this second pivot position, it is possible to move the table top 16 relative to the table column 18 to such an extent that a trolley 24 can be positioned below the longitudinal portion of the table top 16 projecting over the table column 18. The trolley 24 can be a manual cart with wheels for transporting patients. The height of the trolley 24 can be adjusted under manual control using hydraulic cylinders and a manual pump.

[0022] The table column 18 can be adjusted in its height. In some examples, servomotors (not shown) are used to adjust the height of the table column 18 under manual or automatic control. In other examples, this adjustment is done using a manual crank. After the trolley 24 has been positioned below the projecting portion of the table top 16, the table top 16, in its extended position, can be placed and fixed on the trolley 24. The table top 16 can be subsequently detached from the table column 18 by lowering the table column 18 downwards until the table top 16 is fully released from the table column 18 and seated on the trolley 24, so that the table top 16 can be removed together with the trolley 24. Subsequently, the patient can be rolled to another location without moving the patient from the table top 16.

[0023] The patient 12 can also be brought in on the table top 16 on the trolley 24. The table top 16 can be attached to the table column 18 by raising the lowered table column 18 upwards until the table top 16 is fully released from the trolley 24 and then securing the table top 16 to the table column 18. Then the trolley 24 can be removed.

[0024] Referring to FIGS. 9 and 1O, a patient supporting table 40 is used for positioning a patient during an examination in a magnetic resonance installation 42. The patient supporting table 40 includes a table top 44. The table top 44 can be introduced into the magnetic resonance installation 42 over the entire length of a patient's body from at least 1.5 meters to over 2.0 meters. The table top 44 can be held on a table top receptacle 46 which embraces the table top 44 at the longitudinal sides thereof. The table top receptacle 46 is held on a height-adjustable table column 48. The table top 44 can be made of a material having a high degree of transparency for magnetic fields and/or X-ray radiation. The total length of the table top 44 preferably exceeds 2.0 meters, in particular, 2.3 meters. This ensures that the patient can be examined over the total length of his body by an imaging procedure, e.g., by the magnetic resonance installation 42. This also ensures that the table top 44 in its extended position is reliably held on the table top receptacle 46 for displacement in the longitudinal direction over a length of at least 2.0 meters.

[0025] The table top receptacle 46 is arranged at an offset to the vertical axis 50 of the table column 48 and has an approximately C-shaped cross section in the longitudinal direction of the table top 44. The vertical axis 50 of the table column 48 forms an axis of rotation for the table top 44 and the table top receptacle 46. However, the axis of rotation of the table top 44 is positioned laterally outside the table top 44. Such an alignment has the advantage that the pivoting behavior of the table top 44 and the table top receptacle 46 can be adapted to the respectively prevailing spatial conditions. The table column 48 can be manually or automatically rotated by servomotors and fixed to two different pivot positions using brakes or the servomotors. The first pivot position occurs with the longitudinal axis of the table top 44 being parallel to the axis of symmetry of the magnetic resonance installation 42, as shown in FIG. 9. The second pivot position occurs with the longitudinal axis of the table top 44 being perpendicular to the axis of symmetry of the magnetic resonance installation 42, as shown in FIG. 10.

[0026] Referring to FIG. 10, the table top 44 can be moved to its extended position and released from the table top receptacle 46. The table top 44 projects quite considerably in its extended position beyond the table top receptacle 46. Thus, the table top 44 can be held in a cantilever manner on the table top receptacle 46. By lowering the height-adjustable table column 48, the projecting portion of the table top 44 can be placed on a trolley (e.g., 24; not shown) which is positioned below the projecting portion of the table top 44. Subsequently, the table top 44 can be disengaged from the table top receptacle 46 and the patient can be transported to another location.

[0027] The patient 12 can also be brought in on the table top 44 on the trolley. The table top 44 can be attached to the table top receptacle 46 by raising the lowered table column 18 upwards until the table top 44 is fully released from the trolley and the table top receptacle 46 holds the table 44. Then the trolley can be removed.

[0028] A number of embodiments of the invention have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the table top can hold a patient for various treatments or diagnosis that are different from MRI such as X-ray imaging. In this example, the table top and column are designed to operate with the radiation from the various treatments or diagnosis. In another example, another embodiment includes raising a trolley up to the table top with the patient and then removing the table top from the table column rather than lowering the table column. In another example, another embodiment includes a table top that can be rotated relative to the table column rather than fixing the orientation of the table top to the table column. In another example, another embodiment includes a table top receptacle that is held on the table column such that the table top receptacle is tiltable about a tilting axis aligned transversely to the longitudinal axis of the table. The tilt of the table top can be used in the various treatments or diagnosis of the patient. Accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the following claims.