Title:
Patient support table provided with a wiring guiding means
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The apparatus (10) arranged for enabling a patient handling according to the invention is provided with an electronic unit (2) arranged to enable a suitable patient examination. The patient to be examined is positioned on a patient support table. The patient support table comprises a table top (4a) which can be translated with respect to a table base (4b). In order to operate the apparatus a control means (12) is provided. The control means (12) is electrically connected to a table base connection box (6) by means of a suitable wiring. The apparatus according to the invention is provided with a table top connection box (4c), which is attachable to the table top (4a), preferably at the foot portion of the table top. The wiring to the control means is directed from the table base connection box (6) via the table pedestal (4b) under the table top (4a) to the table top connection box (4c), which is provided with second connection means (4d) providing suitable connectors. The wiring running from an exit point in the table pedestal to the table top connection box is housed in the guiding means, which can be a suitable hollow container which is arranged to keep the individual cables in place during the translation of the table top (4a) and is selected with a suitable length to match the translation of the table top. Preferably, the guiding means are fixated to a two static fixation points, for example a table pedestal (2b) and a table top connection box (4c). In order to accommodate the wiring running from the table top connection box (4c) to the control means (12) a set of hooks (5) can be arranged on the rails (not shown) of the table top (4a).



Inventors:
Verhoeven, Marjolein Kristel Dorinda (Eindhoven, NL)
Application Number:
10/555938
Publication Date:
10/12/2006
Filing Date:
05/06/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B13/00; A61B5/055; A61B6/00; A61B6/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CONLEY, FREDRICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PHILIPS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & STANDARDS (Valhalla, NY, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus arranged to enable a patient handling, said apparatus comprising an electronic unit arranged to carry-out said handling, a translatable patient support table and control means arranged to control said apparatus, said apparatus further comprising a wiring to the control means, said wiring being at least partially housed in a substantially flexible guiding means arranged to substantially match a displacement of the patient support table.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the patient support table comprises a table-top with a front surface for supporting the patient and a rear surface, the guiding means being positioned in a direct vicinity of the rear surface of the table-top substantially parallel to a plane of the table-top.

3. The apparatus according to claims 1, wherein the guiding means comprises an assembly of interconnected segments, said assembly being movably arranged substantially directly beneath a table top of the patient support table.

4. The apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the patient support table is arranged with a border portion for steering a movement of the guiding means.

5. The apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the assembly is bendable with a minimum radius of 15 cm.

6. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said apparatus is arranged to enable an X-ray examination of the patient.

7. A patient support table for use in the apparatus according to claim 1.

8. A patient table for a medical imaging system comprising: a table-top for supporting a patient; one or more control means for adjusting the position of the table-top; a table base connection box which connects to one or more remote locations; a table top connection box which is connected to said table base connection box via a plurality of cables under the table-top, wherein said table top connection box also connected to said one or more control means.

9. The patient table of claim 8 further comprising a flexible guiding means for housing connection wires between said table top connection box and said control means.

10. The patient table of claim 9, wherein said flexible guiding means is arranged to substantially match a displacement of the table-top.

11. The patient table of claim 10 further comprising one or more border portions for steering the movement of the guiding means.

12. A patient table for a medical imaging system comprising: a table-top for supporting a patient; one or more control means for controlling the position of the table-top; a wiring to the control means, said wiring being at least partially housed in a substantially flexible guiding means arranged to substantially match a displacement of the table-top.

13. The patient table of claim 12, wherein said guiding means is substantially housed by the table-top.

14. The patient table of claim 12 further comprising one or more border portions for steering the movement of the guiding means.

Description:

The invention relates to an apparatus arranged to enable a patient handling, said apparatus comprising an electronic unit arranged to carry-out said handling, a translatable patient support table and control means arranged to control said apparatus, said apparatus further comprising a wiring to the control means.

The invention still further relates to a patient support table.

The apparatus as is set forth in the opening paragraph is known in the art of medical diagnostic equipment. An example of an embodiment of the known apparatus is an X-ray diagnostic unit arranged to enable an X-ray examination of a patient. For this purpose the patient is put on a patient support table, which is translatable in a plurality of directions, most commonly in three orthogonal x-, y-, z-directions and is rotateable about an axis. In conventional apparatus the patient support table is rotateable about a vertical axis, however in more sophisticated apparatus also a rotation about a horizontal axis is foreseen. The X-ray examination unit further comprises a gantry on which an X-ray source and an X-ray detector are mounted. Conventionally, the X-ray source and the X-ray detector are mounted on a C-shaped gantry which can be rotated about a horizontal axis. In order to examine the patient, the patient support table is positioned in an x-y-z-space so that the X-rays emanating from the X-ray source intercept a target area of the patient. The known X-ray apparatus further comprises a control means arranged to control the X-ray source, the X-ray detector and the translation of the patient support table. The control means is replaceably arranged, so that its position on the patient support table can be changed for an operator's convenience as the operator frequently changes his place with respect to the patient support table for a procedure of the patient handling. It is a common general practice to provide a wiring to the X-ray examination apparatus, which runs to a remote location, where a remote computer is located. Most commonly, a path of the wiring is divided into two sub-paths. A first sub-path covers for a distance between the remote location and the patient support table. The first sub-path is terminated at a first connection means, commonly called a table-base connection box. The second sub-path covers for a distance between the table-base connection box and the control means of the apparatus. The wiring of the second sub-path is of such a length that it does not obstruct a translation and rotation of the patient support table to its maximum range. The wiring of the second sub-path is most frequently arranged so that it partially lies on the floor or hangs nearby the table due to it having a superfluous length.

It is a disadvantage of the known apparatus that the wiring, comprising a plurality of individual cables, is running free in the area of the patient handling, which causes tangling of the wiring and it's hooking about the patient support table. In addition, when the cables are substantially bended, they get easily damaged limiting the durability of the apparatus as a whole.

It is an object of the invention to provide the apparatus for a patient handling with an improved cabling durability.

For this purpose in the apparatus according to the invention a wiring is at least partially housed in a substantially flexible guiding means arranged to substantially match a displacement of the patient support table. It has been long sought in the field of patient handling apparatus for a solution to arrange the wiring so that several criteria are met: i) the wiring allowing an unobstructed translation of the patient support table to its maximum range; ii) minimum superfluous cable length in the area of patient handling; ii) limited bending and torsion of the wiring during a translation of the table top.

Different approaches aiming to meet at least some of these criteria are known in the art. Firstly, the individual cables are arranged as individual spirals, which are stretched during the translation of the table top. This approach causes even bigger problems when individual spirals are tangled and twisted around each other. When the loops of the individual spirals are twisted around each other in a vicinity of the table top a longitudinal translation of the patient support table may be obstructed. Bending and torsion of the individual cables is still possible. Also, the elasticity of the twisted cables reduces with time, when they are often pulled on. Secondly, it is tried to select a unique position of the control means with respect to the table top. This approach is not welcome in the field of medical profession as it implies that all operators of an apparatus must select a unique position to operate the apparatus. For cardiac intervention procedures, for example, this solution is objected as the operator is constantly changing his position with respect to the patient Finally, it has been proposed to put all cables into a single tube which is running from a foot-end of the patient support table to the table base. This solution is disadvantageous as still the tube is in the way hindering the accessibility of the patient support table. Also the body of the tube can still be bend over a considerable angle causing a damage of the housed cables. In addition, it is known in the art of medical profession, that a plurality of additional meters is applied to the patient during a procedure of the patient handling. The tube can be an obstacle to the wiring of the additional meters.

The technical measure of the invention is based on the insight that it is advantageous to further sub-divide the second sub-path of the wiring. By providing a substantially flexible guiding means for housing the cables, said guiding means matching the displacement of the patient support table, the cables do not change their position with respect to each other and do not experience torsion during a translation and rotation of the table top. The material and construction of the guiding means can be suitably selected so that sharp bending of the resulting assembly is avoided. Due to this technical measure the wiring is protected from damage thus increasing its durability. It is further advantageous to arrange the first connection means and the second connection means at the respective ends of the guiding means, in order to ease a reconnection of the wiring. As the control means can be arranged to be mountable on the side rails of the patient support table, it is found to be further advantageous to provide cable accommodation means on a side surface of the patient support table to accommodate a path of the cable between the control means and the second connection means. An example of a suitable cable accommodation means is a hook In an embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention the patient support table comprises a table-top with a front surface for supporting the patient and a rear surface, the guiding means being positioned in a direct vicinity of the rear surface of the table-top substantially parallel to a plane of the table-top.

This technical measure has the advantage that due to the spatial arrangement of the guiding means according to the invention, the plate of the table-top serves as a protective member to the guiding means. Therefore, no obstruction for the wiring of supplementary equipment is caused. When the table-top is translated in a vertical direction, the guiding means move as a whole together with it, and is not exposed to the environment In the field of interventional application this leads to a surprising advantageous effect that the cables stay free from contamination, for instance blood, during the patient handling.

In a further embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention the guiding means comprises an assembly of interconnected segments, said assembly being movably arranged substantially directly beneath a table top of the patient support table. Those skilled in the art will understand that by selecting the guiding means of a suitable length and by movably attaching the guiding means beneath the table top the longitudinal translation of the table top to its maximum range is enabled. Suitable flexible hollow chains built up of a plurality of segments are known per se. An e-chain carrier system, available on the market under a trade name Igus® is a suitable example of an embodiment of the hollow chain. An application of this assembly for housing cables for apparatus for patient handling results in an surprisingly elegant solution meeting the criteria, as are set forth above. When the assembly is attached to two non-movable fixation points, for example a foot of the table top and a table pedestal, the assembly demonstrates a sliding movement between a slide-in position and a slide-out position of the table top, while being substantially horizontally oriented in space. The assembly can be arranged to have a sole degree of freedom in a horizontal direction. In this case it does not sag under the action of the gravity force, which is advantageous as no extra fixating means to hold the assembly in a position is required.

In a still further embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention, the patient support table is arranged with a border portion for steering a movement of the guiding means. It is found to be advantageous to arrange the patient support table with a border portion which limits space taken by the guiding means. This technical measure is particularly advantageous for guiding means allowing a curving in a horizontal plane beyond the width of the table top. It is found to be particularly advantageous to limit the bending radius to about 15 centimeters to reduce cabling damage due to sharp bending radii.

These and other aspects of the invention will be discussed in more detail with reference to figures.

FIG. 1 shows a schematic view of an embodiment of conventional apparatus arranged for patient handling, as is known in the art.

FIG. 2a shows a schematic view of an embodiment of an apparatus providing with the guiding means according to the invention.

FIG. 2b shows a schematic view of an embodiment of a first fixation point of the guiding means.

FIG. 2c shows a schematic view of an embodiment of a second fixation point of the guiding means.

FIG. 3 shows a schematic view of a patient support table provided with the guiding means according to the invention.

FIG. 1 shows a schematic view of an embodiment of conventional apparatus arranged for patient handling, as is known in the art. The apparatus 1 is an X-ray diagnostic unit comprising an electronic unit 2 arranged to enable the X-ray examination. The electronic unit 2 comprises an X-ray source 2a and an X-ray detector 2b. The patient to be examined is positioned on a patient support table 4. The patient support table 4 comprises a table top 4a which can be translated with respect to the table base 4b. The table top 4a is limited by a table head 4e and a table foot 4e′. In order to operate the apparatus 1 a set of control means 12a, 12b, 12c, 12d and 12e are provided. All control means 12a, 12b, 12c, 12d, 12e are electrically connected to the table base connection box 6 by means of a wiring 8. The control means 12 comprises necessary user interfaces enabling the operator to carry out the patient handling. It must be noted that the control means 12 can comprise a plurality of independent units, positioned at different locations around the table-top 4a. The table base connection box 6 is connected with a remote location by means of a wiring, which most commonly runs under a floor. During a handling of the patient, the table top 4a is being positioned in a x-y-z-space so that an X-ray beam emanating from an X-ray source 2a is intercepted by the target area of the patient. For oblique orientations for the X-ray beam, the table top can be rotated about a vertical axis (not shown), which is preferably located substantially midway of the table top. In order to be able to view different parts of the patient, the position of the X-ray beam with respect to the patient is optimized by means of a suitable positioning of the table top 4a and a suitable rotation and angulation of the unit 2. In order to achieve the suitable position the operator of the apparatus 1 uses the control means 12c. It must be noted, that the control means 12 are frequently placed at different positions at the table top 4a in order to mninimize the X-ray exposure to the operator and improve the ease of operation. As the control means 12 is provided with a wiring 8, which can tangle and hook at the table foot 4e′, a replacement of the control means is not easy. Next to this, during tangling and hooking behind the table foot and due to the operators pulling the wiring to untangle them, and due to a repetitive displacement of the table top 4a, the wiring 8 can be bended and can experience torsion, which leads to a damage of the wiring 8.

FIG. 2a shows a schematic view of an embodiment of an apparatus providing with the guiding means according to the invention. The guiding means (not shown) is positioned in a direct vicinity of a rear surface of the table-top 4a, substantially parallel to a plane of the table-top. As a result, the guiding means is protected by the table-top, thus yielding a compact structure which does not require additional space to accommodate it Next to this, when the table-top 4a is translated in a vertical direction, the guiding means moves with it as a whole, still being substantially housed by the table-top 4a. This feature is particularly advantageous for interventional applications, where the cables and the guiding means may not be contaminated, for example by blood. Additionally, for sterility purposes the table-top 4a together with the guiding means can be easily covered by a protective cloth. The apparatus 10 is provided with a table top connection box 4c, which is attachable to the table top preferably at the foot portion of the table top. The wiring (not shown) is directed from the table base connection box 6 via the table pedestal 4b, under the table top 4a to the table top connection box 4c, which is provided with second connection means 4d providing suitable connectors to the wiring (not shown) running to the control means 12a to 12e. A profile 7 is preferably provided at a foot end flange of the table top whereto the control means can be mounted. The wiring running from the table pedestal exit point to the table top connection box is housed in the guiding means 16, an embodiment thereof being shown in detail in FIGS. 2b (in direction B to the table head) and FIG. 2c (in direction A to the table foot). Preferably, all necessary wiring to the control means 12 is accommodated in a single guiding means, leaving freedom to displaceably arrange the control means 12, or any one of its modules at any location on the patient support table for operator convenience. This is enabled due to the fact, that there is the second connection means 7, the relatively short path of the wiring emanating from the second connection means 7 runs free in space, enabling any desired displacement of the control means 12 or any one of its modules along the table top. The guiding means 16 can be a suitable hollow container which is arranged to keep the individual cables in place during the displacement of the table top 4a and is selected with a suitable length to match the maximum displacement of the table top. Preferably, the guiding means are fixated to two static fixation points, for example a table pedestal 4b and a table top connection box 4c. During a translation of the table top 4a the guiding means 16 slide under the surface of the table top 4a thus matching the movement of the table top. The construction and material of the guiding means can be selected from per se known products. An example of a suitable guiding means is a tube of a suitable diameter and a suitable rigidity to avoid sharp bending radii. In this case the tube must be fixated to the rear surface of the table top to prevent its sagging. Next to this a chain built up of a plurality of segments can also be used as the guiding means. In case the chain has a sole degree of freedom in a horizontal plane, it does not sag under the influence of the Earth's gravitational field. In order to accommodate the wiring running from the table top connection box 4c to the control means 12 a set of hooks 5 can be arranged on the rails (not shown) of the table top 4a.

FIG. 2b shows a schematic view of an embodiment of a first fixation point of the guiding means. In this embodiment a chain 16 comprising interconnected segments is selected as the guiding means. The dimensions of the chain 16 are selected so that the wiring 8 is accommodated in the volume of the chain, whereas during a sliding movement of the chain no sharp bending of the wiring 8 occurs and no torsion to the wiring is induced. The chain 16 at it's first end 16″ is fixed to the pedestal 4b in a direct vicinity of the rear surface 4f of the table-top. In this way the wiring together with the guiding means do not obstruct the translation of the table and do not tangle with wiring of supplementary medical equipment (not shown). FIG. 2c shows a schematic view of an embodiment of a second fixation point of the guiding means 16 in direction to the table foot. The guiding means 16 are fixated at its second fixation point 16′ to the table top connection box 4c, the electrical connections to the control means being provided by a suitable electronics unit 18.

FIG. 3 shows a schematic view of a patient support table provided with the guiding means according to the invention. For ease of understanding, the table top is removed revealing the guiding means 16 over its complete length. The guiding means 16 comprise a plurality of interconnected segments 16a which are preferably arranged to allow a sole degree of freedom of the overall assembly in the horizontal direction, schematically shown by an arrow H. When the table top takes a slide-in position, the guiding means 16 exhibit a O-like structure. Due to the fact, that the guiding means are fixed to the first fixation position 16′ and to the second fixating position 16″ the guiding means slides and extends as the table top is translated in a longitudinal direction along the arrow T. The table top connection box 4c is provided with a plurality of connectors 4d to enable an electrical connection of the wiring in the guiding means 16 to the wiring of the control means (not shown). It is advantageous to provide the patient support table with a border portion to limit the width of the O-like structure. In this embodiment a plurality of border portions 19 is shown, which are preferably distributed along a path of the guiding means 16.