Title:
Therapeutic support pillow
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a pillow including a top layer, a middle layer and a bottom layer. The top layer includes a front neck supporting buttress, a back neck supporting buttress and a cavity connecting the front neck supporting buttress and the back neck supporting buttress. The cavity is configured to accommodate a facial mask. The middle layer is connectable to the top layer and includes at least two inserts. Removal of at least one of the inserts provides for customized angulations of the pillow. The bottom layer is connectable to one of the top layer or the middle layer.



Inventors:
Frydman, Larry G. (Toronto, CA)
Application Number:
12/654854
Publication Date:
07/07/2011
Filing Date:
01/06/2010
Assignee:
Ortho Support Inc. (Toronto, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C20/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
SANTOS, ROBERT G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POLSINELLI PC (Kansas City, MO, US)
Claims:
1. A pillow, comprising: a top layer including a front neck supporting buttress, a back neck supporting buttress and a plurality of lateral cavities connecting the front neck supporting buttress and the back neck supporting buttress along a plane substantially perpendicular to the breadth of the pillow and thus being configured to accommodate a facial mask; at least one middle layer connectable and temporarily affixed to at least the top layer and including at least two inserts, wherein removal of at least one of the inserts allowing the top and bottom layers to become affixed by an interlocking means and thereby provides for customized angulations of the pillow; and a bottom layer connectable to one of the top layer or the at least one middle layer.

2. The pillow of claim 1, wherein a diameter of a contour of the back neck supporting buttress is about half an inch larger than a diameter of a contour of the front neck supporting buttress.

3. The pillow of claim 1, wherein the at least one middle layer is used to increase a height of the pillow.

4. The pillow of claim 1, wherein a height of the pillow is customizable by removal of at least one of the middle layer and the bottom layer or part thereof.

5. The pillow of claim 1, wherein an angle of the front neck supporting buttress and the back neck supporting buttress is customizable by removal of at least one insert of the at least one middle layer.

6. The pillow of claim 1, wherein each of the top layer, at least one middle layer, and bottom layer is extended to provide a stabilizing strut to increase surface contact between the pillow and a surface on which the pillow is placed.

7. The pillow of claim 6, wherein the stabilizing strut is attachable to one of the front neck supporting buttress or the back neck supporting buttress.

8. The pillow of claim 1, wherein the cavity further includes at least one concave bridge to support a head of a user and ribbing between multiple concave bridges, between a first concave bridge and the front neck supporting buttress, and between a last concave bridge and the back neck supporting buttress.

9. The pillow of claim 1, wherein each insert of the at least one middle layer includes an extension that is connectable to a corresponding opening in the bottom of the top layer.

10. The pillow of claim 1, wherein bottom layer includes extensions, each of which is connectable to a corresponding opening in one of the top layer or the at least one middle layer.

11. The pillow of claim 1, wherein each of the back neck supporting buttress or the front neck supporting buttress is for supporting the neck of a user.

12. A pillow, comprising: a top layer including a front neck supporting buttress, a back neck supporting buttress and a plurality of lateral cavities connecting the front neck supporting buttress and the back neck supporting buttress along a plane substantially perpendicular to the breadth of the pillow and thus being configured to accommodate a facial mask; and a bottom layer connectable to the top layer, wherein at least one angulation insert includes an extension which is inserted in an opening in the bottom of the top layer and an extension of the bottom layer is inserted in an opening in the bottom of the at least one angulation insert thereby affixing the at least one angulation insert to both the top and bottom layers to resist the angulation insert from being freely dislodged, the at least one angulation insert being configured to customized angulation of the pillow.

13. A pillow, comprising: a top layer including a front neck supporting buttress, a back neck supporting buttress and a plurality of lateral cavities connecting the front neck supporting buttress and the back neck supporting buttress along a plane substantially perpendicular to the breadth of the pillow and thus being configured to accommodate a facial mask; wherein at least one angulation insert is inserted in an opening in the bottom of the top layer, the at least one angulation insert being configured to customized angulation of the pillow.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of medical devices, and more specifically, to an adjustable height therapeutic support pillow designed to accommodate users with breathing assistive masks.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A pillow is typically used during sleep to position the head of a user to a certain orientation and, in some medically necessary situations, to prevent obstruction of the user's airway. Pillows may be used for comfort and/or to provide assistance to users of certain medical devices that are required to be worn during sleep. For example, users diagnosed with clinically significant Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) may be prescribed breathing assistive masks for use during sleep. These breathing assistive masks may be connected to an airflow generator with a hose to provide a positive air stream and maintain an open air passageway while the user is asleep.

One drawback to these masks involves keeping the mask sealed on the user's nose and mouth during sleep. A “normal” pillow is usually rectangular in shape, with a horizontal surface on which the user's head may rest during sleep. Sleeping on the “normal” pillow may tend to dislodge the seal around the user's nose/mouth because the face and nose are constantly in contact with the surface of the pillow. When the seal around the user's nose and/or mouth breaks, air pressure may be lost through the resulting leak, which in turn may alter the prescribed therapeutic pressure.

Thus, it can be seen that there is a need for an apparatus that facilitates the use of a pillow where the user must wear a facially oriented medical device, such as a breathing assistive mask.

SUMMARY

An embodiment of the present invention is directed to a pillow including a top layer, a middle layer and a bottom layer. The top layer includes a front neck supporting buttress, a back neck supporting buttress and a cavity connecting the front neck supporting buttress and the back neck supporting buttress. The cavity is configured to accommodate a facial mask. The middle layer is connectable to the top layer and includes at least two inserts. Removal of at least one of the inserts provides for customized angulations of the pillow. The bottom layer is connectable to one of the top layer or the middle layer.

Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a pillow including a top layer including a front neck supporting buttress, a back neck supporting buttress and a cavity connecting the front neck supporting buttress and the back neck supporting buttress. The cavity is configured to accommodate a facial mask. The pillow also includes a bottom layer connectable to the top layer. An extension of at least one angulation insert is inserted in an opening in the bottom of the top layer and an extension of the bottom layer is inserted in an opening in the bottom of the angulation insert. The angulation insert is configured to customized angulation of the pillow.

Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a pillow including a top layer including a front neck supporting buttress, a back neck supporting buttress and a cavity connecting the front neck supporting buttress and the back neck supporting buttress. The cavity is configured to accommodate a facial mask. An extension of at least one angulation insert is inserted in an opening in the bottom of the top layer. The angulation insert is configured to customized angulation of the pillow.

Details of various embodiments of a pillow for use by an individual wearing a breathing assistive mask are provided below. It is to be understood that variations can be made to these embodiments and still fall within the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention that together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention, wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an adjustable height therapeutic support pillow embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a top perspective view of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates top and side perspective views of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate side perspective views of the adjustable height therapeutic support pillow in use with a full face mask, according to preferred embodiments of the current invention;

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate side perspective views of the adjustable height therapeutic support pillow in use with a user lying in a supine position; and

FIG. 6 illustrates side perspective views of the adjustable height therapeutic support pillow in two positions, each position being used to illustrate a different embodiment of the inventive pillow.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Embodiments of the present invention are directed to an adjustable height therapeutic support pillow possessing symmetrical cavities designed to accommodate breathing assistive masks. The adjustable height therapeutic support pillow may reduce pillow contact pressure on the mask, adding comfort for a user when lying in either the side or supine position. In embodiments of the invention, pillow height adjustments may allow for proper height clearance for varying sizes of masks. The height adjustments may also allow for customization of the pillow to fit the end user by maintaining the neck and upper back in straight alignment; thus, anatomically reducing stress on the user's spine and simultaneously normalizing the alignment of the neck and upper back which reduces airway resistance and allows the user to breathe more freely.

In embodiments of the present invention, the height of the pillow may be adjustable such that it can be individually customized for an end user in either the side-lying or supine positions. Embodiments of the invention may include removable inserts, removal of at least one of the inserts may result in customized angulations of the pillow for support of the user's head and neck, particularly for a user lying in the supine position. Variable angulations of the pillow to support the user's head and neck while the user is lying in the supine position minimize airway resistance by maximizing the opening of the oropharyinx. In addition, proper angulations of the pillow for support of the head and neck may anatomically provide for gentle traction of the head and neck.

FIGS. 1-3 illustrate perspective views of the inventive pillow used in embodiments of the invention. Referring to FIG. 1, pillow 100 may include a top layer 4 connectable to a middle layer 5 or to a lower layer 6. Each of the middle layer 5 and bottom layer 6 includes an extension that can be inserted into the layer directly above. Each layer, except the bottom layer 6 includes an opening into which the extensions from the layer below may be inserted. It should be noted that although the inventive pillow is shown in FIG. 1 with only one middle layer, a pillow incorporating embodiments of the invention may be assembled with multiple middle layers. Such pillows are, therefore, within the scope of the present invention. Furthermore, it should be noted that the layers of the present invention may be connectable my other methods.

Middle layer 5 is shown to include angulation/wedging facilitating inserts 11 which may be used for added angulations of the pillow. Pillow 100 may also include a division point 10 of the middle layer 5, wherein the division point 10 is created when at least two wedging facilitating inserts 11 are used in the middle layer.

Top layer of pillow 100 may also include front and back contour neck support buttresses 7 and 2. In an embodiment of the invention, the diameter of the contour of the back neck support buttress 2 is approximately half an inch larger than that of the contour of the front neck support buttress 7. The wedging facilitating inserts 11 can be used together to form the middle layer 5 or they can be used separately to allow for angulations of the buttresses 2 and 7. Each of top layer 4, middle layer 5 and bottom layer 6 may be extended to include a stabilizing strut 1 which increases surface contact with a surface on which the pillow is placed, for example a bed, thus prevent the pillow from flipping over, as is best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. In an embodiment not shown, the stabilizing strut 1 may be removable and may be attached to either the front or back contour neck support buttresses 7 and 2. Top layer of pillow 100 may also include a cavity 3 between front and back contour neck support buttresses 7 and 2 to accommodate facial masks; at least one concave bridge 8 to support the user's head; and ribbing 9 between the concave bridges, between a first concave bridge and the front neck support buttress, and between a last concave bridge and the back neck support buttress. The ribbing 9 may allow air flow, as is best shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4A illustrates an embodiment of the adjustable height therapeutic support pillow assembled with only two layers, that is, with only the top layer 4 and the bottom layer 6. The inventive pillows shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B are being used by an individual lying in the side position. As shown in FIG. 4A, the user's neck is supported with Buttress B. The removal of middle layer 5, as illustrated in FIG. 4A, may enable adjustments to the height of the inventive pillow, such that the height of the pillow can be individually customized for the user in either the side lying or supine positions.

FIG. 4B illustrates another embodiment of the adjustable height therapeutic support pillow assembled with all three layers. Similar to the illustration of FIG. 4A, FIG. 4B show that the user's neck is also supported by Buttress B. The assembly of the layers of inventive pillow may therefore be individualized to support the size of the user. For example, a larger individual may typically require a pillow with a relatively greater height to support the user's neck, and may therefore use the pillow illustrated in FIG. 4B. On the other hand, a smaller user may use the pillow illustrated in FIG. 4A because of the height of the pillow. The assembly of the inventive pillow may also be individualized to support the size of the mask being worn by the user. It should be apparent to one skilled in the art that there may be other reasons for a user to customize the height of the inventive pillow.

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate side perspective views of the adjustable height therapeutic support pillow in use with the user is lying in the supine position. As shown in FIG. 5A, middle layer 5 may include only one wedging facilitating insert 11 to provide for customized angulation of buttress B, which support the user's neck. Proper angulations of the buttress supporting the user's neck may minimize airway resistance by maximizing the opening of the oropharyin and may anatomically provide for gentle traction of the head and neck.

FIG. 5B contrasts angulations of the inventive pillow with that of a “normal” pillow. Without the proper angulation of the pillow supporting the user's neck, as shown in 5B-A, the area of resistance may be narrowed, and may in turn, restrict air flow when the user is sleeping. As shown in FIG. 5B-B, with the proper angulation of the pillow supporting the user's neck, the area of resistance may be opened to allow for proper airflow.

FIG. 6 illustrates side perspective views of the adjustable height therapeutic support pillow in two positions. Positions 1 and 2 illustrated in FIG. 6 are 180 degrees from one another in the horizontal plane. Each position is shown in four embodiment of the invention. The buttress A or B used in either position 1 or 2 may be dependent of various factors, for example the size of the user or the mask being used by the user. For example, larger individuals may be required to use a thicker pillow and would thus choose to use the buttress A for neck support. Smaller users who require less thickness in the pillow may use buttress B for neck support. As shown in FIG. 6, three layers of adjustable height along with two sizes of neck buttresses provides for at least eight possible height positions of the inventive pillow, as shown in embodiments 1-4 of FIG. 6.

Embodiments 1-4 of FIG. 6 illustrate that the height of the inventive pillow may be adjustable depending on assembly of the layers. For example, in embodiment 1, the top 4, middle 5 and bottom 6 layers are used, thereby resulting in a pillow with a higher height relative to that of the pillows illustrated in embodiments 2 and 3. In embodiment 2, only the top 4 and bottom 6 layers are assembled, resulting in a relatively higher pillow than that illustrated in embodiment 3. In embodiment 3, only the top layer 4 is used. As previously noted, the inventive pillow may include multiple middle layers 5. Thus, depending on the number of middle layers 6 assembled in the inventive pillow, the height of the pillow may vary from that shown in embodiment 1. It should be noted that although the embodiments shown in FIG. 6 illustrate pillows wherein the heights and widths of each layer appear to be uniform in the various embodiments shown, the heights and widths of each of the top 4, middle 5 and bottom 6 layer may vary.

Middle layer 5 is bifurcated into wedging facilitating inserts 11 which can be used together to form middle layer 5, as shown in embodiment 1 of FIG. 6, or they can be used separately to allow angulations of the buttresses A or B, as shown in positions 1 and 2 of embodiment 4 of FIG. 6. In addition, the height difference between buttress A and buttress B may allow for variable angulations of the head and neck, particularly when the user is lying in the supine position, thus minimizing airway resistance by maximizing the opening of the oropharyinx.

The foregoing description has been directed to specific embodiments of this invention. It will be apparent; however, that other variations and modifications may be made to the described embodiments, with the attainment of some or all of their advantages. Therefore, it is the object of the appended claims to cover all such variations and modifications as come within the true spirit and scope of the invention.