US 20030093041 A1
A system for treating a patient with a wound comprises a bandage, a receptacle, and a vacuum source. The bandage comprises a cover to seal about the wound and to define a space above the wound in which a vacuum is to be formed. The bandage further comprises a port providing communication with the space. The receptacle is connected to the port to receive exudate from the wound and is provided to be placed below the wound. The vacuum source is spaced apart from the receptacle, is connected to the receptacle, and is effective to provide a vacuum in the receptacle and in the space.
1. A system for treating a patient with a wound, the system comprising:
(a) a bandage comprising a cover to seal about the wound and define a space above the wound in which a vacuum is to be formed, and a port providing communication with the space,
(b) a receptacle to be placed below the wound and connected to the port to receive exudate from the wound, and
(c) a vacuum source spaced apart from the receptacle and connected to the receptacle, the vacuum source being effective to provide a vacuum in the receptacle and in the space.
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16. A system for creating a vacuum above a wound and drawing exudate away from the wound, the system comprising:
(a) a vacuum bandage to place over and seal about the wound on a patient to provide a vacuum space above the wound and a port communicating with the space,
(b) a receptacle configured to be placed below the wound, the receptacle being in communication through the port with the vacuum space, and
(c) a vacuum source positioned away from the receptacle and connected to the receptacle to provide a vacuum in the receptacle and in the vacuum space, thereby subjecting a surface of the wound to vacuum therapy.
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23. A method for treating a wound on a patient, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) sealing a bandage having a port about the wound to define a space above the wound and in communication with the port in which a vacuum can be formed,
(b) placing a receptacle below the wound,
(c) placing a vacuum source spaced away from the receptacle,
(d) connecting the receptacle to the port of the bandage,
(e) connecting the vacuum source to the receptacle, and
(f) operating the vacuum source to evacuate the receptacle and provide a vacuum in the space above the wound.
24. The method of
 This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/328,542, filed Oct. 11, 2002, which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.
 The present invention relates to a wound treatment system and specifically to a vacuum therapy wound treatment system for surface wounds. More specifically, the present invention relates to the drainage and collection of exudate from the wound surface through vacuum therapy.
 Medical professionals, such as nurses and doctors, routinely treat patients having surface wounds of varying size, shape, and severity. It is known that controlling the topical atmosphere adjacent a wound can enhance the healing process. For example, by applying medicinal agents or even water over a wound, dirt and bacteria are either killed or washed away, thereby promoting healing. In addition, applying a negative pressure or vacuum to a wound draws out exudate, which might contain dirt and bacteria, from the wound to further promote healing.
 A vacuum bandage is a bandage having a cover for sealing about the outer perimeter of the wound and under which a vacuum is established to act on the wound surface. This vacuum applied to the wound surface accelerates healing of chronic wounds. Typically, suction tubes are provided for drawing exudate away from the wound. If the cover is a flexible cover, which is typically more comfortable for the patient, a porous packing may be provided under the cover to provide the space in which the vacuum is formed. The following U.S. Patents establish the nature of vacuum treatment bandages and devices: U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,095,992, 6,080,189, 6,071,304, 5,645,081, 5,636,643, 5,358,494, 5,298,015, 4,969,880, 4,655,754, 4,569,674, 4,382,441, and 4,112,947. All of such references are incorporated herein by reference for purposes of disclosing the nature of such vacuum treatment of wounds.
 As shown, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,645,081 (hereinafter the '081 patent), a method of treating tissue damage is provided by applying negative pressure to a wound. The negative pressure is provided in sufficient duration and magnitude to promote tissue migration in order to facilitate the closure of the wound. FIG. 1 of the '081 patent discloses an open cell polyester foam section covering the wound, a flexible hollow tube inserted into the foam section at one end and attached to a vacuum pump at another end, an adhesive sheet overlying the foam section, and tubing to adhere to the skin surrounding the wound in order to form a seal that allows the creation of a vacuum when the suction pump is operating. The '081 patent further teaches use of negative pressure between about 0.1 and 0.99 atmospheres, and that the pressure can be substantially continuous, wherein the pressure is relieved only to change the dressing on the wound. Alternatively, the '081 patent teaches use of a cyclic application of pressure in alternating periods of application and non-application. In a preferred embodiment, pressure is applied in 5 minute periods of application and non-application.
 Various other prior art references teach the value of the vacuum bandage or the provision of vacuum to the surface of a chronic wound. Several Russian language articles exist that establish the efficacy of vacuum therapy. Examples of such prior art articles, each of which discusses the use of application of vacuum to a wound to promote healing, are as follows: “Vacuum therapy in the treatment of acute suppurative diseases of soft tissues and suppurative wound”, Davydov, et al. Vestn. Khir., September 1988 (the September 1988 article); “Pathenogenic mechanism of the effect of vacuum therapy on the course of the wound process”, Davydov, et al. Khirurigiia, June 1990 (the June 1990 article); and “Vacuum therapy in the treatment of suppurative lactation mastitis”, Davydov, et al., Vestn. Khir., November 1986 (the November 1986 article).
 The Russian articles distinguish wound drainage from the use of vacuum therapy for healing. The Russian authors report that vacuum therapy resulted in faster cleansing of the wound and more rapid detoxification than with the traditional incision-drainage method. The November 1986 article describes the vacuum therapy techniques as a reduction of 0.8-1.0 atmosphere for 20 minutes at the time of surgery, and subsequent 1.5 to 3 hour treatments at a reduced pressure of 0.1 to 0.15 from atmosphere, twice daily. These Russian articles teach the use of negative pressure to effect healing. The articles describe using several sessions per day, each lasting up to one hour, with a vacuum of 76-114 mmHg.
 The Russian articles teach using this vacuum method to decrease the number of microbes in the wound. The June 1990 article teaches that vacuum therapy provides a significant antibacterial effect. The June 1990 article describes the stepped up inflow of blood to the zone around the wound, which leads to an increase in the number of leukocytes reaching the focus of inflammation. Subsequent articles and patents further develop the benefits obtained with vacuum therapy. The prior art, therefore, teaches the benefit and value of a vacuum bandage.
 Accordingly, a vacuum therapy system for treating a patient with a wound is provided. The system includes a vacuum bandage comprising a cover to seal about the wound. The cover also defines a space above the wound in which a vacuum is to be formed. The bandage further comprises a port which provides communication with the space. The system further includes a receptacle to be placed below the wound. The receptacle is connected to the port to receive exudate from the wound. Finally, the system includes a vacuum source spaced apart from the receptacle and connected to the receptacle. The vacuum source is effective to provide a vacuum in the receptacle and in the space above the wound.
 Illustratively, the system may comprise one or more of the following features alone or in combination with each other: a first tube coupled to the port of the bandage and the receptacle, a second tube coupled to the vacuum source and the receptacle, a means for attaching the receptacle to a support below the wound, a means for supporting the vacuum source away from the receptacle, and/or a control dominating the vacuum source to establish the amount of vacuum applied to the space and the time when the vacuum is applied to the space.
 Further illustratively, the receptacle of the system may comprise one or more of the following features alone or in combination with each other: an antimicrobial filter, an air vent to allow an inner area of the receptacle to communicate with the surrounding atmosphere, a mounting portion, and an upper portion and a lower portion coupled to the upper portion. The anti-microbial filter may be hydrophobic, and the upper portion of the receptacle may be made of a rigid material while the lower portion pf the receptacle may be made of a flexible material.
 The vacuum source of the system may comprise a vacuum pump and associated controls and/or a flow sensor to be connected to a vacuum line. Illustratively, the flow sensor may be configured to determine the level of vacuum present in the receptacle.
 A method for treating a wound on a patient is also provided including the steps of sealing a bandage having a port about the wound to define a space above the wound in which a vacuum can be formed, placing a receptacle below the wound, and placing a vacuum source spaced away from the receptacle. The method further includes the steps of connecting the receptacle to the port of the bandage, connecting the vacuum source to the receptacle, and operating the vacuum source to evacuate the receptacle and provide a vacuum in the space above the wound. The method further includes the step of controlling the level of vacuum applied to the space and the time of application of the vacuum.
 Additional features and advantages of the apparatus will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed descriptions exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the apparatus as presently perceived.
 The detailed description particularly refers to the accompanying figures in which:
 FIGS. 1-4 are perspective views of a vacuum therapy system and a patient undergoing vacuum therapy treatment showing a vacuum bandage of the system coupled to the patient, a waste drainage container or receptacle coupled to the vacuum bandage by a first tube and a housing including a vacuum source coupled to the receptacle by a second tube, and also showing the receptacle positioned below the wound and spaced apart from housing;
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the housing mounted on a mobile IV pole;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 showing the housing positioned on a bedside cabinet;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view similar to FIGS. 1 and 2 showing the housing mounted to an on-bed IV pole;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view similar to FIGS. 1-3 showing the housing mounted on a footboard of the patient's hospital bed;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view of an illustrative receptacle showing the first tube coupled to an inlet port of the receptacle and showing the second tube coupled to an outlet port of the receptacle and also showing a hydrophobic filter positioned at the outlet port of the receptacle;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another illustrative waste receptacle of the present invention showing a mounting portion of the receptacle for mounting the receptacle to a bed frame of the hospital bed, as shown in FIGS. 1-4; and
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of yet another illustrative waste receptacle of the present invention showing an alternative mounting portion of the receptacle for mounting the receptacle to the bed frame of the hospital bed.
 A vacuum therapy system 10 is provided for use with a wound on a patient 14, as shown in FIGS. 1-4. System 10 comprises a vacuum bandage 16, a waste container or receptacle 18 coupled to the bandage 16, and a housing 20 coupled to the receptacle 18. Housing 20 includes a vacuum source 21 (shown in FIG. 5) for applying negative pressure to the wound to draw exudate from the wound in order to facilitate healing. Receptacle 18 is provided to collect the exudate drawn from the wound and is placed below the wound to facilitate the drainage of exudate from the wound by gravity as well as suction. Housing 20, which includes the vacuum source 21, is spaced apart from receptacle 18 in order to allow a caregiver to place the housing 20 in any convenient location while still benefiting from the gravitational effects gained by maintaining the receptacle 18 at a level below the wound.
 Illustrative vacuum bandages and vacuum and irrigation systems are disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/725,352 to Lockwood, et al. titled “VACUUM THERAPY AND CLEANSING DRESSING FOR WOUNDS”, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/725,666 to Risk et al. titled “WOUND TREATMENT APPARATUS”, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/369,113 to Henley et al. titled “WOUND TREATMENT APPARATUS”. Each of these applications are assigned to the same assignee as the present application and are specifically incorporated herein by reference.
 Vacuum bandage 16 includes a cover 22 to seal about the wound. The bandage 16 operates to define a space above the wound to which negative pressure can be applied to form a vacuum. The bandage 16 further includes a port 23 in communication with the space above the wound. The port 23 is coupled to receptacle 18 by a first tube 24 of the system 10. First tube 24 includes a first end 26 coupled to the port 23 and a second end 28 coupled to the receptacle 18. System 10 further includes a second tube 30 coupled at a first end 32 to the receptacle 18 and coupled at a second end 34 to the vacuum source 21 which may be contained within housing 20.
 Illustrative receptacle 18 of the vacuum therapy system 10 includes a body 40 which forms an interior cavity 42 for collecting exudate 62 (shown in FIG. 5) and fluid drawn from the wound therein. Although receptacle 18 is illustratively shown in FIG. 5, the height, width, and shape of receptacle 18 may take various forms. Body 40 includes an upper portion 44 and a lower portion 46 coupled to the upper portion 44. Upper portion 44 defines an inlet port 48 coupled to the first tube 24, and an outlet port 50 coupled to the second tube 26. In illustrative embodiments, upper portion 44 of the receptacle 18 is formed from a rigid material and the lower portion 46 of the receptacle 18 is also formed from a rigid material and is integral with the upper portion 44, as shown, for example, in FIGS. 5-7. However, it is within the scope of this disclosure to include a receptacle having a lower portion 46 made from a flexible material as well. For example, lower portion 46 may be a flexible bag removably coupled to the upper portion 44 of receptacle 18.
 As shown in FIG. 5, receptacle 18 further includes a hydrophobic filter 60 in communication with second tube 30 and thus the vacuum source 21. Illustratively, filter 60 is a 0.2-micron hydrophobic anti-microbial filter. Upper portion 44 of receptacle 18 further defines an air vent 64 to provide communication between interior cavity 42 of receptacle 18 and the outside atmosphere. Preferably, as shown in FIG. 5, hydrophobic filter 60 is positioned over air vent 64 to prevent bacteria, etc. in the surrounding atmosphere from entering receptacle 18.
 As mentioned above, first end 32 of second tube 30 is coupled to outlet port 50 of receptacle 18 and second end 34 of second tube 30 is coupled to vacuum source 21. Vacuum source 21 may be contained within housing 20 or may be external to the housing 20. For example, most medical facilities have vacuum ports near where patients are treated, such as in-wall vacuum ports, for example. Each port is served by a system vacuum pump to provide negative pressure. Vacuum source 21 is also defined to include any type of mechanism for providing negative pressure such as an electrically operated or manual pump, for example. Housing 20 is configured to be a portable unit allowing a caregiver to move housing 20 to wherever the patient is located within close proximity to the wound or wounds. For example, as shown in FIGS. 1-4, the housing 20 is shown to be coupled to a mobile IV pole 70, positioned on a bedside cabinet 72, coupled to an on-bed IV pole 74, and coupled to a footboard 76 of the hospital bed 78. Each of the mobile IV pole 70, cabinet 72, in-bed IV pole 74, and footboard 76 illustrate an example of a means for supporting the housing 20 and vacuum source 21 away from receptacle 18. The housing 20 and its vacuum source 21 may be placed above, at generally the same level, or below the receptacle 18. Preferably, the receptacle 18 will be placed below the wound.
 In addition to the vacuum source 21, it is also within the scope of the disclosure for housing 20 to include a controller (not shown) for controlling the amount and rate of negative pressure to be applied to the wound, for example. Housing 20 may also include an irrigation system and such other devices and components as disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/725,666, referenced above and incorporated herein.
 As described above, the components of system 10 (vacuum bandage 16, first tube 24, receptacle 18, second tube 30, and vacuum source 21) are coupled to each other in series. The port of vacuum bandage 16 is coupled to the receptacle 18 by first tube 24. First tube 24 is coupled to inlet port 48 of receptacle 18 and receptacle 18 is coupled to the housing 20, or more specifically, to the vacuum source 21, by second tube 30. First end 32 of second tube 30 is coupled to outlet port 50 of receptacle 18 and second end 34 of second tube 30 is coupled to vacuum source 21. By this series configuration, the vacuum source 21 is thus in fluid communication with the receptacle 18 through the second tube 3, and the space above the wound created by vacuum bandage 16 is in fluid communication with receptacle 18 through first tube 24. Therefore, the vacuum source 21 operates to create negative pressure, or a vacuum, in the space above the wound, in the first tube 24, in receptacle 18, and in second tube 30.
 Illustratively, a flow sensor (not shown) may be coupled to second tube 30 between receptacle 18 and vacuum source 21 for monitoring the fluid flow from receptacle 18 to vacuum source 21. The flow sensor may then provide feedback to the controller, for example, located within housing 20. If, for example, the flow sensor detects no fluid flow, the feedback sent to the controller would signal the vacuum source 21 to turn off or cease running.
 In operation, it is possible that at a period of time after negative pressure is created above the wound, system 10 may become relatively static due to a lack of fluid flow through system 10. As mentioned above, this lack of fluid flow could cause the vacuum source 21 to be turned off. However, it may still be beneficial to provide a vacuum above the wound in order to draw blood up to the surface of the wound. Air vent 64 is provided in receptacle 18 in order to maintain a small amount of fluid flow to prevent the flow sensor from detecting a static system. Once system 10 has become relatively static and there is little to no fluid flow from bandage 16 through first tube 24 and to receptacle 18, vacuum source 21 is still able to pull air through air vent 64 thus allowing the flow sensor to detect a fluid flow in order to keep the vacuum source 21 running. Once the level of exudate 62 collected within receptacle 18 reaches air vent 64 and/or outlet port 50, hydrophobic filter 60 will prevent liquid to pass therethrough and the flow sensor will sense that the flow has become static. The flow sensor will send a signal to the controller which will, in turn, tell the vacuum source 21 to turn off.
 In use, receptacle 18 is positioned below the vacuum bandage 16 and the patient's wound to which the vacuum bandage 16 is attached. As shown in FIGS. 1-4, placing receptacle 18 below the wound facilitates the drainage of exudate from the wound through gravity. Therefore, exudate is drawn from the wound through the use of a negative pressure supplied by vacuum source 21 and through the use of gravity. Receptacle 18 is also spaced apart from vacuum source 21 and/or the housing 20, as shown in FIGS. 1-4. As stated above, vacuum source 21 is often provided within housing 20. Therefore, spacing receptacle 18 apart from the vacuum source 21 allows the housing 20 to be placed at any desired location or level while still maintaining use of gravity for the collection of exudate within receptacle 18.
 In illustrative embodiments, receptacle 18 includes a mounting portion 80 coupled to the body 40, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. Mounting portion 80 is provided to allow a caregiver to mount the receptacle 18 to hospital bed 78 below the patient 14 and thus below the wound in order to facilitate the drainage of the exudate from the wound by gravity. Hospital beds 78 often to include a hook (not shown) or a type of mount or support coupled to a bed frame 82 of the bed 78. Urine bags, for example, are often hung by the caregiver from these hooks to facilitate drainage through the use of gravity alone.
 Mounting portion 80 of receptacle 18, as shown in FIG. 6, is in the shape of a handle to define an aperture 84 for receiving the hook or mount coupled to bed frame 82. Mounting portion 80 is coupled to a top wall 86 of body 40 to cooperate with body 40 and form aperture 84. Mounting portion 80 includes a first generally vertical member 88 coupled to top wall 86, a second generally vertical member 90 coupled to top wall 86, and a generally horizontal member 92 spaced-apart from top wall 86 and coupled to and positioned to extend between each of the first and second generally vertical members 88, 90.
 Another illustrative mounting portion 180 is shown in FIG. 7. Alternate mounting portion 180 is hook-shaped and includes a single curved member coupled to the top wall 86 of the receptacle 18 to define a hook-receiving space 182 for receiving a hook or mount of the bed frame 82. Although mounting portion 80 and alternate mounting portion 180 are disclosed and described herein, it is within the scope of this disclosure to include a receptacle having a mounting portion adapted to cooperate with the bed frame of the hospital bed in order to support the receptacle below the wound of the patient being treated.
 Although the invention has been described in detail with reference to certain preferred embodiments, variations and modifications exist within the scope and spirit of the invention.