US 3481327 A
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Dec. 2, 1969 L. G. DRENNEN RESPIRATORY VEST FOR EMPHYSEMA PATIENTS Filed March 6, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet l L/LL/AN G. DRE/V/VEN Dec. 2, 1969 G. DRENNEN RESPIRATORY VEST FOR EMPHYSEMA PATIENTS 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 6. 1967 ZNVENTOR L/LL/A/V a. DRE/V/VE/V III/Ill; I
wwwwwfzz United States Patent 3,481,327 RESPIRATORY VEST FOR EMPHYSEMA PATIENTS Lillian G. Drennen, 310 Royal Palm Drive, Port Richey, Fla. 33568 Filed Mar. 6, 1967, Ser. No. 620,924 Int. Cl. A61h 31/02, 7/00 US. Cl. 128-302 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An inflatable vest for aiding persons to attain normal respiratory action, including full expulsion of spent air from the lungs of emphysema victims, comprising an inflatable, lightweight, air impervious cell-like bladder having band-like securing means for encircling the body and securing the cell-like bladder in place over the upper abdominal area subjacently related to the rib cage, a manual air pump for inflating the cell-like bladder and providing mild exercise, and air release means providing for controlled deflation or instantaneous deflation of the vest in an emergency.
Summary of the invention It, accordingly, is a primary object of this invention to provide an inflatable vest that is inexpensive to manufacture, light in weight, not bulky, and more or less self adjusting to users of different sizes so that persons suffering from emphysema or needing aid to assure adequate and healthful respiratory action may have the benefits of mechanical respiration conveniently and whenever needed.
Another important object of the present invention is to provide an inflatable vest for emphysema patients or others having respiratory defects wherein the deflation of the vest can selectively be controlled through an adjustable valve to assure regular rhythmic expulsion of air from the lungs in accord with the users natural aspiration rate or controlled without a valve simply by the user applying a finger to the end of the air outlet tube thereby assuring prompt deflation of the belt should the user faint or lose consciousness for any other reason.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an inflatable vest comprising an inflatable eel-like main portion of generally wing-shaped configuration of minimal vertical height and lateral length to overlie the upper abdominal wall at the base of the rib cage and narrow securing bands fixed to the lateral ends and extending in opposite directions around the body to be joined together merely by overlapping their free ends and pressing them together.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide an inflatable vest of the type heretofore pointed out wherein the opposite ends of the inflatable cell-like main portion fixedly mount rigid plastic cylindrical fittings of generally C-shaped configuration in cross section and a single piece narrow attachment band having mating rigid plastic fittings of cylindrical rod-like configuration secured thereto by necked in integral tabs is provided to encircle the body between the opposite end fittings of the cell-like main portion.
Brief description of the drawings Further objects will appear from the following description and appended claims when read in conjunction with the attached drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a front elevational view of a preferred form of vest in accord with the present invention with a preferred form of manual pump and air outlet control valve attached thereto;
FIGURE 2 is a sectional view taken substantially on line 22 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a front elevational view of a modified embodiment of a vest embodying the primary features of this invention;
FIGURE 4 is a sectional view taken substantially on line 44 of FIGURE 3 with a simple hand squeeze inflation ball attached thereto;
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view of a user wearing the belt of FIGURES l and 2 with the pump therefor placed on a table in front of the user for convenient hand operation;-
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged detailed view illustrating the construction of the pressure attachment panel employed in conjunction with a close stiff, napped fabric panel to form a self adjusting releasable attachment means for the ends of the securing bands; and
FIGURE 7 is an enlarged longitudinal sectional view through the air outlet valve employed on the vest of FIGURE 1.
Description of preferred embodiment With continued reference to the drawings wherein like reference numerals are employed to indicate the same parts, numeral 10 indicates the preferred form of respiratory vest of this invention. Vest 10 is made up of front and back panels 11 and 12 of neoprene coated nylon fabric of generally oval configuration having a major axis approximately (20") twenty inches in length interrupted along the upper edge by a cut in portion 13 defining, upon assembly of panels 11 and 12 in edge connected relation, a cell-like inflatable bladder of butterfly or wing-like configuration and narrow tying bands 14 and 15 adapted to encircle the users body and be fastened at the back or one side to secure vest 10 in place over the upper abdomen immediately below the rib cage in juxtaposition to the lungs with the solar plexus exposed in the upper edge depression formed by cut in portions 13. To assure an air impervious bladder, the peripheral edges of neoprene coated nylon fabric panels 11 and 12 are preferably thermo vulcanized in well known manner throughout a marginal area 16 about one half inch in width spanned on the inside by a neoprene rubber tape 17 (FIGURES 1 and 2) of approximately one inch in width thermo vulcanized to the panel areas immediately inwardly of marginal area 16.
Front panel 11 in the inner lower quadrants of the wing portions 18 and 19 are provided with through openings 21 (FIGURE 2 where one opening only is shown) serving to mount generally L-shaped air inlet and outlet tubes 22 and 23 of neoprene rubber integrally joined at the free end of their respective short leg 24 (FIGURE 2) to disc-like attachment pads 25 (FIGURES 1 and 2) fixedly attached to the inner panel face defining openings 21 by thermo vulcanizing in well known manner. The long leg of air inlet tube 22 is telescoped over one end of a double ended tubular metal fitting 26 the other end of which is inserted into one end of neoprene rubber or similar flexible air hose 27 of suitable length. The other end of hose 27 is telescoped over a one way outlet valve fitting 28 (FIGURE 1) fixedly mounted in air tight relation in a rigid rubber base 29 of a dome-like air pump 31, the dome-like wall 32 of which comprises a deformable rubber or like air impervious material forming an air chamber. Base 29 adjacent fitting 28 is provided in conventional manner with a one way air inlet valve fitting 32. Pump 31, upon compression of Wall 32, is adapted to force air from its air chamber through outlet valve fitting 28, along hose 27 through fitting 26 into the inflatable bladder formed by vest 10 and, upon release of wall 32, to admit air from the atmosphere through inlet valve fitting 33 into the pump air chamber. Repeated compression and release a u of wall 32 will result in inflation of vest 10, so long as outlet tube 23 is closed off to prevent escape of air to the atmosphere. As best secured in position by attachment bands 14 and 15 is inflated, it will tighten around the users body and press inwardly on the abdominal areas overlying the lungs to expel the spent air in the lungs and completely deflate the lungs assuring full respiratory breathing action upon timed opening of outlet tube 23.
Timed opening of outlet tube 23 in the preferred embodiment of the invention is accomplished manually by the user through an adjustable, normally closed, slide actuated valve adapted to be opened to release air from vest 10 by simply pressing axially inwardly on slide valve member 36. Slide valve member 36 best shown in FIG- URE 7 is slidably mounted in a tubular main body member 37, one end of which is externally configured to provide tapered shouldered portions 38 arranged to spread and interlock with the inner wall of outlet tube 23 when forced axially into the free end of tube 23 and the other end of which is externally threaded at 39 to threadedly receive an adjustable stop sleeve 41 the opposite peripheral end portions of which are preferably knurled as indicated at 42. Main body member 37 approximately midway of its length is provided with an external annular abutment flange 43 disposed to cooperate with one end of stop sleeve 41 to limit its axial movement in one direction and an internal annular flange 44 having a tapered inner passage defining Wall 45 providing a valve seat for a sleeve-like throttling valve insert 46 carried by slide valve member 36 and having a mating tapered nose portion 47 for cooperation with seat 45. Throttling valve insert 46 is preferably formed of wear resisting elastomeric material internally dimensioned to closely receive the inner end of a rod-like carrier member 48 and fixedly seated in an end face opening recess in a metal ring 49 dimensioned to closely fit on a reduced end portion 51 of carrier member 46 and fixed thereto by peening the extreme end of reduced end portion 51 over the end face of ring 49 to clamp the ring against the annular shoulder formed at the juncture of reduced end portion 51 with the main body of carrier member 48. Carrier member 48 at an axial distance from the annular shoulder just described slightly greater than the distance between the threaded end of main body member 37 and the most distant axial face of internal flange 44 is provided with an external annular abutment flange 52. Flange 52 is radially dimensioned to freely enter the open end of main body member 37 and abuttingly engages a coil compression spring 53 the opposite end of which abuts the opposing face of internal flange 44 of main body member 37 to normally bias slide valve member 36 in a direction to seat throttling valve insert firmly against the opposing face of internal flange 44 with its tapered nose portion 47 in full engagement with tapered seat 45. In this position, slide actuated valve 35 completely closes off outlet tube 23 to the passage of air and any build up of pressure in the bladder of vest 10 acts on the exposed end face of carrier member 48 and its associated metal ring 49 to augment the action of spring 53 in firmly seating the valve insert 46 against seat 45 and internal flange 44. It will be appreciated, therefore, that the valve arrangement of slide actuated valve 35 is ideally suited to prevent any escape of air so long as the pressure remains below that which will be sufficient to disassociate main body member 37 from outlet tube 23. Axial disassociation of ring 41 from the end of main body member 37 in the other direction is prevented by an external abutment flange 54 integrally formed on carrier member 48 at a lesser distance axially spaced from external flange 52 than the length of stop sleeve 41. The extreme outer end of carrier member 48 is upset and mounts a rubber sleeve in abutting engagement with flange 54 to form a finished exterior appearance.
As best seen in FIGURE 7, carrier member 48 from its end opposite reduced end portion 51 is provided with a blind bore 55 which extends inwardly well beyond the point where external flange 52 is formed. Slant drilled openings 56 intersect blind bore 55 near its inner end and place blind bore 55 in direct fluid communication with the spring chamber formed in main body member 37. This direct fluid communication assures a full volume air escape path to assure instant deflation of vest 10 as herein after pointed out should the need arise.
It will be appreciated from the preceding description that assembly of carrier 48 with spring 53 in place through the threaded end of main body portion 37 must be effected after sleeve 41 is threaded on the end but before ring 49 with its throttling valve insert 46 is fixed to reduced end 51 of carrier 48 and that once assembled the slide actuated valve 35 cannot be disassembled without its destruction. It, therefore, is not possible for a user to disasemble and then improperly reassemble slide actuated valve 35 so it will not function in the manner intended.
While any suitable means may be employed to fasten the ends of the attachment bands 14 and 15 together so as to secure vest 10 in place on the users body, a simple and relatively inexpensive fastening means providing a wire range of adjustment is contemplated by this invention to enable a single production embodiment to be marketed for users of widely varying girths. In the preferred embodiment, this adjustability is obtained by simply stitching a fabric panel 58 about five inches long having a close stiff napped surface (dotted lines FIGURE 1) to the outer face of the free end of band 14 and stitching a panel of similar length composed of a stiff plastic or like backing sheet 59 (FIGURE 6) fixedly securing a series of side-by-side continuous looped threads 61 of stiff plastic or plastic coated fibre therein with the loops 62 disposed in upstanding elongated relation to one face of backing sheet 59 so that the loops will interlockingly engage in the stiff napping when one band end is overlapped with respect to the other and the overlapped portions of the panels are pressed together by hand. Positive fastening of the threads to the opposite under face of backing sheet 59 and to the passage walls through which the threads pass to assure a desired permanent upstanding series of transverse ribs of loops 62 (see FIGURE 1) is effected either by heating the backing sheet to fuse the plastic threads thereto after the plastic threads are looped tight against the under face or by spraying thermo setting plastic to the looped fabric threads (top and bottom) after the fabric threads are associated with the backing sheet. The actual process for the formation of these panels forms no part of the present invention.
It will be appagent from the description just given that length adjustability of the order of seven or eight inches can be obtained with the press pad fasteners just described. Furthermore, it will be appreciated that this preferred fastening means is readily adapted to provide for fastening at the side under one arm by making one of bands 14 or 15 only slightly longer than its associated fastening panel and the other band long enough to reach from one end to the other end of the vest proper.
The vest of the present invention, due to its light weight and minimal dimensions may be Worn with comfort as the user moves above and as a result can be worn and used on a moments notice in event of a sudden need or even while traveling, particularly in ones own car. Actual use, assuming the vest to be in place, is effected by adjusting stop sleeve 41 to a selected position to permit either throttled outlet of air or full rapid outlet of air and placing pump 31 either on the floor for foot operation or on a table or like surface T (FIGURE 5) for hand operation. Successive compression and release of pump wall 32 inflates vest 10 first causing it to tighten around the body due to bodily shifting outwardly and resulting tensioning of front wall 11 and bands 14 and 15 and thereafter compression of the covered abdominal wall by inward shifting of the rear wall 12 as inflation is continued because of the greater resistance offered to outward movement by tensioned wall 11 and the associated tensioned securing bands. This pumping action, in addition to gradually expelling the spent air from the lungs, affords mild exercise of the leg and arm muscles used to effect the pumping action. When the lungs are sufficiently in the judgment of the user or completely deflated, slide valve member 36 is pressed inwardly to overcome the biasing force of spring 52 and the air pressure on ring 49 and the peened end of reduced portion 51 of carrier 48 and unseat valve insert 46 from annular seat 45 and inturned flange 44 to the extent permitted by stop sleeve 41. The air being expelled from vest will then bleed through valve 35 at a controlled rate gradually reducing the abdominal pressure causing inhalation of fresh air into the lungs in simulation of natural breathing. In event normal respiratory action is not provided by the initial setting of stop sleeve 41, the user may screw stop sleeve 41 in or out as required until a proper setting is obtained. Should undue discomfort or a sense of fainting be experienced during pumping, the user may quickly advance sleeve 41 home against flange 43 and pres slide valve member 36 inwardly to its innermost limit thereby effecting an instantaneous deflation of vest 10 to relieve the discomfort or assure release of abdominal pressure should fainting actually occur.
Alternate embodiment An alternate embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 4 of the drawings. In this embodiment, the vest 10a is made up of front and back panels 65 and 66 of generally rectangular configuration of neoprene or like coated nylon fabric edge connected as heretofore described with a spanning neoprene rub ber tape 17 vulcanized to the panel areas immediately inwardly of the marginally joined edges to assure an air tight connection of the panels. The opposite ends of the resulting bladder-like cell are fitted with C-shaped, tubular connector fittings 67 closed at the lower end and formed preferably of rubber or plastic having an integral axially extending connector rib 68 fixedly secured to the marginally joined ends of panels 65 and 66 in any suitable manner. In the illustrated embodiment, ribs 68 are shown disposed between the marginal edges of panels 65 and 66 and are fixedly secured in place by thermal vulcanization at the time the cell-like bladder is formed. One or the other of the ends of connector fittings 67 may be closed as indicated at 69 in FIGURE 4 by an integral end wall for a purpose to be presently pointed out.
Front wall 65 is provided with air inlet and outlet tubes 22 and 23 in the manner heretofore described and tube 22 is connected to air hose 27 fitted at its free end with a conventional compressible hand bulb 71 similar to that provided for inflating systaltic blood pressure equipment used by physicians. In lieu of the tying bands 14 and of the preferred embodiment, this form of the invention employs a one-piece nylon securing band 72 the opposite ends of which are formed into rod-like terminal formations 73 dimensioned to slidably enter the open ends of connector fittings 67 to fix the ends of securing band 72 to the opposite ends of the cell-like bladder. In this form of the invention, proper sizing of vest 10a can be effected either by providing securing bands 72 of varying length or if desired by providing one face of securing band 72 with adjacently spaced panels 58 and 59 constructed as previously described. Bands 58 and 59 are attached with sufficient space between them to permit return bending the intermediate section of band 72 upon itself to eifect overlapping of panels 58 and 59 over opposite marginal edges to provide maximum and minimal girth dimensions of the vest or any intermediate size. If desired, band 72 may be provided with shoulder straps 74 to aid in holding vest 10a in place.
In using the alternate embodiment, the user merely covers the end of outlet tube 23 with a finger to prevent escape of air from the cell-like bladder and alternately squeezes and releases bulb 71 with the free hand to inflate the vest. Upon complete deflation of the lungs, the user can provide a desired control of the air release from the cell-like bladder by tipping the finger or merely reducing the pressure of the finger on the end of tube 23. In the case of a loss of consciousness, the resulting relaxation of the users muscles will effect an immediate withdrawal of the finger from tube 23 and instant deflation of vest 10a.
The invention may be embodied in other specific forms Without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A respiratory vest and exerciser for aiding emphysema patients in deflating the lungs and providing mild exercise of the limbs and chest muscles to maintain muscle tone comprising a light weight, air impervious, elongated, inflatable, bladder-like cell formed of rubberized fabric dimensioned and shaped to overlay the upper abdominal area closely subjacent the lower rib cage of the patient and including front and rear walls; respectively narrow attachment bands fixed at one end to the opposite ends of said cell, said attachment bands being of a combined length to extend around the trunk of the patient to dispose their free ends for interconnection so the vest can be snugly yet comfortably secured in position on the trunk of the patient with the rear wall in contact with the abdominal area; means for releasably securing the free ends of said attachment bands together; respective air inlet and outlet fittings fixedly secured in the front wall of the cell in air tight relation thereto and including stem portions protruding outwardly from the front wall, said outlet fitting stem comprising means for establishing a selective timed release of air from the cell to simulate normal respiratory inhalation of air by the patient; and an air pump including a deformable wall and a flexible outlet hose interconnecting the stem of the air inlet fitting to the air chamber of the pump, said deformable wall being adapted when pressed inwardly by the patients hand or foot and released to pump ambient air into and inflate the cell when the air outlet is closed off to compress the abdominal area and lungs thereby expelling the used air which the patient is unable by natural respiratory action to expel.
2. The respiratory vest of claim 1 wherein the opposite ends of the cell fixedly mount rigid plastic cylindrical fittings having open upper ends, closed lower ends, and respective axially extending through slots in the cylindrical wall, respective ends of said attachment bands fixedly mount through necked in attachment tabs rod-like plastic fittings dimensioned to slidably fit in said slots and the open end bores of said cylindrical fittings, and said means for releasably securing the free ends of said attachment bands comprise respective identical cylindrical and rodlike mating fittings fixedly mounted on the free ends of said attachment bands.
3. The respiratory vest of claim 1 wherein said front and rear walls of said cell comprise marginal portions disposed in face abutting vulcanized relation to form an air tight marginal flange, said ends of said attachment bands are stitched to said marginal flange at the respective opposite ends of said cell, and the free ends of said attachment bands over elongated terminal areas thereof are provided with self adjusting releasable attachment means in the form respectively of a close, stiif, napped fabric panel and a panel comprising a series of stiff threads fixed in side-by-side undulating relation by a backing sheet to provide a series of stiff upstanding loops adapted to penetrate and interlock with the nap of the fabric panel when pressed against it to secure the vest snugly in place on persons of differing size.
4. The respiratory vest of claim 1 wherein said outlet fitting stem comprises a length of open tubing the free end of which is adapted to be closed off by the user pressing a finger against its end thereby assuring release of the inflating air from the vest and restoration of the patients natural respiratory action should the patient loose consciousness.
5. The respiratory vest of claim 1, wherein said outlet fitting stem comprises a length of open tubing the free end of which is fitted with a normally closed, slide actuated air valve adapted to be manually opened by the user pressing inwardly on the face end portion.
6. The respiratory vest of claim 5 wherein the normally closed, slide actuated, air valve comprises a tubular main body having an inwardly directed annular seat flange intermediate its ends and one end externally formed to fixedly mount a hose thereto, a slide valve member comprising an elongated cylindrical body freely passing through said annular seat flange from the end opposite said one end of said main body and terminating at its inner end beyond said annular seat flange in a reduced diameter stem portion and provided approximately midway of its length with a radially outwardly directed abutment flange dimensioned to freely enter the bore of said main body portion, a compression spring encircling said elongated cylindrical body adjacent said abutment flange and axially inwardly from said reduced diameter stem with its opposite ends abuttingly engaging the opposing faces of said annular seat flange and said abutment flange, an enlarged diameter valve ring fixed to said stem and mounting in one face a compressible seal ring disposed to normally sealingly engage the other face of said annular seat flange under influence of said compression spring to seal the bore of said main body against the passage of air, said cylindrical body having a coaxially extending blind bore opening through its other end and extending axially beyond said abutment flange where it is intersected by generally outwardly directed passages venting the portion of said main body forwardly of said annular seat flange into said blind bore whereby the user by pressing axially on the free end of said slide valve member may unseat said seal ring to interconnect the main body bore at said one end to the portion forwardly of said annular seat flange and allow the air in said cell to escape through said main body bore and said blind bore to the atmosphere to relieve the lung deflation pressure applied to the users body through actuation of said pump.
7. The respiratory vest of claim 6-, wherein the other end of said main body is externally threaded and mounts an internally threaded stop sleeve selectively adjustably positioned thereon to dispose its outer end at varying distances forwardly beyond said other end of said main body and said slide valve member forwardly beyond said abutment flange is provided with a second abutment flange of suflicient diameter to engage the outer end of said stop sleeve to limit the unseating movement of said slide valve member to control the rate of escape of air to approximate a desired rate of aspiration for the particular user.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,253,233 1/1918 Guilford 12864 2,762,366 9/1956 Huxley et a1. 128-30.2 3,027,893 4/1962 Darphin 128-64 3,043,292 7/ 1962 Mendelson 12830.2
LAWRENCE W. TRAPP, Primary Examiner mg UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 1. 7 Dated December 2, 1969 Inventor) L0 G. DRENNEN It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 1, line 46, change "eel-like" to --celllike--.
Column 3, line 3, change "Best" to --vest--.
Column 4, line 23, change "wire" to --wide.
SFGNED AND SEALED JUN 9 1970 Amt: MIM ET'SCIHUYI1ER, JR- Edward Fletcher. Ir. mmissioner of Patents Attesting Officer