Title:
Systems and methods for ventilation of a surgical table
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for ventilating an area surrounding a patient is disclosed. The system includes an air exchanger configured to induce an air flow, and an outer duct disposed in communication with the air exchanger, and having an airway aperture configured to selectively induce an air flow at a location along the outer duct. The system further includes an inner duct disposed in communication with the air exchanger and disposed inside the duct, the inner duct being configured to selectively induce an air flow at a location along the inner duct. A method of ventilating an area surrounding a patient is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Valentino, Joseph A. (Media, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/382417
Publication Date:
09/17/2009
Filing Date:
03/16/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
454/333, 454/338
International Classes:
F24F13/10; F24F7/007
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HERZFELD, NATHANIEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FINNEGAN, HENDERSON, FARABOW, GARRETT & DUNNER (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for ventilating an area surrounding a patient, the system comprising: an air exchanger configured to induce an air flow; an outer duct disposed in communication with the air exchanger, and having an airway aperture configured to selectively induce an air flow at a location along the outer duct; and an inner duct disposed in communication with the air exchanger and disposed inside the outer duct, the inner duct being configured to selectively induce an air flow at a location along the inner duct.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the outer duct is a cloth covered, plastic tube.

3. The system of claim 1, further comprising a flow control valve disposed inline with the outer duct.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the outer duct is mounted above an operating table or bed.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the outer duct is mounted below an operating table or bed.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the outer duct is split into left and right sides configured to be positioned on left and right sides of the patient, respectively.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the outer duct comprises a plurality of airway apertures, and at least one of the airway apertures is selectively opened and closed by a sliding door.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein the outer duct comprises a plurality of airway apertures, and the opening of at least one of the airway apertures is covered by a filter.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein the air exchanger is mounted below an operating table or bed.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein the inner duct is disposed in communication with an air vent.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein the air vent is selectively positioned on an operating table or bed.

12. The system of claim 10, wherein the air vent comprises a control lever configured to adjust air flow through the air vent.

13. The system of claim 1, wherein the inner duct is disposed in communication with two air vents, each air vent being selectively positioned on an opposite side of an operating table or bed.

14. A method of ventilating an area surrounding a patient, the method comprising the steps of: inducing a first air flow through an aperture of an outer duct; inducing a second air flow through an aperture of an inner duct disposed inside the outer duct; and filtering or heating one of the first and second air flows induced by the outer duct and the inner duct, respectively.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the first and second air flows are induced by drawing a vacuum through both the outer and inner ducts.

16. The method of claim 14, wherein the first and second air flows are induced by supplying pressurized air through both the outer and inner ducts.

17. The method of claim 14, wherein the first flow is induced by drawing a vacuum through the outer duct and the second flow is induced by supplying pressurized air through the inner duct.

18. The method of claim 14, wherein the first flow is induced by supplying pressurized air through the outer duct and the second flow is induced by drawing a vacuum through the inner duct.

19. A system for ventilating an area surrounding a patient, the system comprising: an air exchanger configured to induce an air flow; an outer duct disposed in communication with the air exchanger, and having a plurality of airway apertures configured to selectively induce air flows at locations along outer the duct; an inner duct disposed in communication with the air exchanger and disposed inside the outer duct, the inner duct being configured to selectively induce an air flow at a location along the inner duct; and an air vent disposed in communication with the inner duct at the location along the inner duct.

20. The system of claim 19, wherein the outer duct is positioned above or below a surface of an operating table or bed.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of priority of provisional patent application No. 61/064,632, filed on Mar. 17, 2008, by Joseph A. Valentino, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to ventilation around patients, and more particularly, to systems and methods for providing an air flow around a surgical table or bed using a vacuum or pressurized air.

DISCUSSION OF THE RELATED ART

In the fields of medicine, nursing, and hospice care, there have long been many problems associated with a lack of sufficient ventilation surrounding a patient. There is often a need for higher than average air flow, due to certain patient conditions and medical procedures occurring in these fields.

For example, during surgery, a number of hazardous and explosive gases, such as oxygen, anesthesia gases, and cleaning chemical fumes, often collect around the patient's body and under the patient's bed sheets or surgical drapes. When these gases build up, they increase the risk of fire and/or explosion around the patient. Ignition may occur when any of these gases come in contact with a spark source, such as an electrocautery surgical device. This device may be especially likely to cause a spark and a resulting fire if there has been a build up of explosive gases. There are many similar risks of fire to patients in operating rooms if safety precautions are not followed by the surgical teams. Hundreds of people are injured every year when these types of surgical fires take place.

In addition, patients and doctors have long suffered from offensive odors occurring as a result of surgery. For example, during certain surgical procedures, such as those involving use of an electrocautery device, the patient's flesh may be burned, which causes an objectionable odor for the operating room personnel. In addition, cleaning chemicals, patient bodily gases, and other odors may often be present in the operating room. Often, the only source of air movement in the operating room is the standard HVAC system, which is designed to change the air around 3 or 4 times per hour. With insufficient ventilation, offensive odors may build up around a patient's surgical table or recovery bed.

As related to hospital and nursing home patient rooms, unpleasant odors may often be associated with very sick or elderly patients. Therefore, hospital personnel and visitors are exposed to a variety of odors and chemicals. In addition, air flows having these odors can possibly carry various kinds of viruses and bacteria that could contribute to others getting sick as a result of working around or visiting hospital patients. Additionally, patients with airborne types of diseases can spread them by coughing and breathing heavily.

Accordingly, there is a need for improved techniques for ventilating operating rooms, surgical tables, and patient beds, using ventilation systems and methods. The systems and methods of the present disclosure solve one or more of the problems set forth above.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

In accordance with one disclosed exemplary embodiment, a system for ventilating an area surrounding a patient is disclosed. The system includes an air exchanger configured to induce an air flow. The system further includes an outer duct disposed in communication with the air exchanger, and having an airway aperture configured to selectively induce an air flow at a location along the outer duct. The system further includes an inner duct disposed in communication with the air exchanger and disposed inside the duct, the inner duct being configured to selectively induce an air flow at a location along the inner duct.

In another exemplary embodiment, a method of ventilating an area surrounding a patient is disclosed. The method includes inducing a first air flow through an aperture of an outer duct; inducing a second air flow through an aperture of an inner duct disposed inside the outer duct; and filtering one of the first and second air flows induced by the outer duct and the inner duct, respectively.

In another exemplary embodiment, a system for ventilating an area surrounding a patient is disclosed. The system includes an air exchanger configured to induce an air flow. The system also includes an outer duct disposed in communication with the air exchanger, and having a plurality of airway apertures configured to selectively induce air flows at locations along outer the duct. The system further includes an inner duct disposed in communication with the air exchanger and disposed inside the outer duct, the inner duct being configured to selectively induce an air flow at a location along the inner duct. The system further includes an air vent disposed in communication with the inner duct at the location along the inner duct.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the disclosure in detail, it is to be understood that the disclosure is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The disclosure is capable of embodiments in addition to those described and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate certain embodiments of the disclosure, and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the disclosure.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for designing other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present disclosure. It is important, therefore, to recognize that the claims should be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a pictorial representation of a surgical table equipped with an exemplary ventilation system;

FIG. 2 illustrates an end view of a surgical table equipped with an exemplary ventilation system;

FIG. 3A illustrates a top, perspective view of a surgical table equipped with an exemplary ventilation system; and

FIG. 3B is a detail view of a sliding door for one of the airway holes of the exemplary ventilation system of FIG. 3A.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference will now be made in detail to the present embodiments of the disclosure, certain examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

A system is disclosed for preventing operating room fires when a patient is on an operating table during surgery. In addition to mitigating the risk of fires, the system may at least partially vent any unwanted odors occurring in the operating room or the patient's recovery room. The system may have additional uses besides fire and odor mitigation, both in the operating room and the patient's recovery room.

Referring now to FIG. 1, the ventilation system 100 may include an air exchanger 102 in communication with a movable duct 104. In one embodiment, the movable duct 104 may be connected to an exhaust or vacuum system (e.g., via the air exchanger 102), which may cause a negative pressure and air flow around the patient's bed, surgical table, or operation site 110. The air exchanger 102 may either be portable or installed, and designed for individual use or large scale use. In the case of the individual use version, the unit 102 may be designed to be very quiet in operation and also have filters and inert gases introduced into the room exhaust to dilute explosive gases. As shown in FIG. 1, the individual use version of air exchanger 102 could be positioned below a surgical table 110, either fixed below the table or in a portable module on wheels. Alternatively, the installed version of air exchanger 102 could be mounted in the ceiling or hallway of the operating room or hospital wing, using an appropriately sized duct to suction the correct volume of air for that location, and exhausting the odors and gases to the outside of the building. Larger scale systems could be installed so as to exhaust multiple rooms on each level of the patient hospital floors.

In one embodiment, the movable duct 104 may include a soft, cloth-covered plastic boom or hose, which may be placed around the perimeter of a hospital bed, an operating table, or a patient's body. The movable duct 104 may be provided in many shapes and sizes depending on the configuration of the surgical table or hospital bed. The movable duct 104 may have adjustable airway holes 108 along its surface, so as to create an air flow under the surgical drapes or bed sheets of a patient's hospital bed or surgical table 110. The movable duct 104 may have an adjustable flow control 106 adjacent to the airway holes 108, such as near the air exchanger 102, so as to adjust for suction at the airway holes 108.

The suction of the air exchanger 102 and movable duct 104 may create air movement through, in, and around any airway holes 108 that are left open by the surgeons or nurses. Therefore, in the case of surgery, the areas around the oxygen mask, hose, head, surgical tent, and opening where the surgeon will perform the operation, may become the air intake for the system. This may allow dangerous oxygen, anesthesia, and chemical gases to be safely removed from under the surgical drapes or bed sheets, thereby mitigating the threat of surgical fires. In addition, the odors created as a result of the surgery itself may be greatly reduced as a result of this exhaust air movement around the body.

The movable duct 104 may be attached to the surgical table or hospital bed 110 by various means for easy installation and removal. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, the movable duct 104 may be built into the surgical table or hospital bed 110 as part of a new or permanent installation, or it may be portable and small enough to be placed next to the patient's body under the surgical drapes or sheets 114, while being connected to the air exchanger 102. Thus, the movable duct 104 may be mounted above the table around the patient's body (as shown by ducts 104A), or alternatively, mounted below the table (as shown by ducts 104B). In either embodiment, the movable duct 104 may be mounted in such a way that gases 112 collecting below the surgical blankets 114 may be drawn by the vacuum through the airway holes 108 in the movable duct 104. In one embodiment, washable or disposable covers may be used over the movable duct 104 to allow for sterile conditions to exist. These covers may act as a filter for larger particles, such as dust, skin cells, blood, etc., that might otherwise be suctioned into the duct. The system may capture some or all of these airborne particles to make for a cleaner and safer environment. Patients with various types of diseases may have a special configuration of the exhaust duct placed in and around the head area to increase the removal of these particles.

As described above, the movable duct 104 may be connected to the main exhaust or vacuum via air exchanger 102, and have a flow control valve 106 disposed inline with its connection. The flow control could be adjusted to the desired exhaust flow by the doctors or nurses so as not to create excessive airflow around the patient, which may cause the patient's body temperature to drop or cause them to feel cold. In one embodiment, a source of heated air may be connected to the air exchanger 102 so as to prevent the patient's body temperature from dropping. There may also be a safety valve to protect the exhaust flow if all of the airway holes 108 are closed and the exhaust unit is unable to intake air from the movable duct 104.

As shown in the embodiment of FIG. 3A, the movable duct 104 may be divided into a left movable duct 104L and right movable duct 104R, which can be positioned to the left and right of a patient, respectively. As described above, each of the left and right movable ducts 104L, 104R may include a plurality of airway holes 108.

The movable duct 104 may also have an inner tube 114 disposed therein. The inner tube 114 may also be disposed in communication with the air exchanger 102, such that it may draw a separate vacuum via one or more apertures at its end. As shown in FIG. 3A, the inner tube 114 may be disposed in communication between the air exchanger 102 and a plurality of air scoops 118 disposed on either side of a surgical table or hospital bed 110. In one embodiment, the inner tube 114 may be split between the left and right movable ducts 104L, 104R, extend up inner tube extensions 116, and connect to the air scoops 118. The air scoops 118 may be vents that provide for a relatively localized airway between the inner tube 114 and surgical table or hospital bed 110. The air scoops 118 may either be intake vents for the inner tube 114, or outlet vents, depending on the direction of air flow through inner tube 114. The air scoops 118 may be selectively positioned at any location along the surgical table 110 so as to allow selectively higher air flow at specific locations, as desired, for example, by a surgeon or nurse. As depicted in FIG. 3A, each of the air scoops 118 may also be provided with flow control levers 120 configured to selectively open and close vents in the air scoops 118. As a result, the air flow through the airway holes 108 may be affected by the amount of suction applied through the air scoops 118.

In addition to the embodiments described above in which negative pressure is applied to both the movable duct 104 and inner tube 114, positive pressure may also or alternatively be applied. In one embodiment, positive pressure may be applied to the movable duct 104, while negative pressure is applied to the inner tube 114. In the alternative, negative pressure may be applied to the movable duct 104, while positive pressure is applied to the inner tube 114. In yet another embodiment, positive pressure may be applied to both the movable duct 104 and inner tube 114. For example, positive pressure may be provided by a pressurized air source provided in communication with air exchanger 102. Thus, users may be able to selectively draw in or blow out air from the air scoops 118 and airway holes 108, as desired.

In addition, as illustrated in the detailed view of FIG. 3B, each of the airway holes 108 in the movable duct 104 may have a slidable door 122. For example, each airway hole 108 in the movable duct 104 may have a sliding door 122 that can be individually and selectively opened or closed. As a result, a user may customize the level of air flow occurring at various locations around the table 110. In one embodiment, as sliding doors 122 are closed over the airway holes 108, the level of air flow through the air scoops 118 may increase. Conversely, as sliding doors 122 open the airway holes 108, the proportion of air flow through the air scoops 118 may decrease.

In one embodiment, each airway hole 108 may have a filter disposed across the opening. For example, each airway hole 108 could be covered by a HEPA filter, or any other type of filter suitable for removing particulates or contaminants from the air in a hospital environment. In one embodiment, one or more sliding doors 122 may be include such a filter in the door 122 itself.

The many features and advantages of the disclosure are apparent from the detailed specification, and thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the disclosure which fall within the true spirit and scope of the disclosure. Further, since numerous modifications and variations will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the disclosure to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the disclosure.