US 3497175 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 24, 1970 B. K. KOLAND 3,497,175
FLUID REGULATOR AND CLOSURE VALVE Filed Sept. 11, 1967 Barry K. K LflND 5o 81 INVENTOR.
United States Patent 0 3,497,175. FLUID REGULATOR AND CLOSURE VALVE Betty K. Koland, Glendora, Calif.
ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The valve device disclosed herein includes a hollow housing surrounding a portion of a flexible walled, fluid carrying tube and a movable closure means cooperating with a rigid wall of the housing effective to collapse the tube so as to provide a restricted orifice and a positive fluid closure. The closure means may take the form of a sliding member, rotary member, or a cylindrical telescoping member. A scale corresponding to the size of restricted orifice is provided on the stationary housing adapted to be registered with a marker carried on the movable closure means which corresponds, when set to a selected value, to a predetermined orifice closure in the tubing so that fluid therethrough may be metered according to a selected fluid rate.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention relates to fluid regulators, and more particularly to a novel fluid metering device adapted to effect a positive fluid closure and incorporating a movable closure means adapted to control the volume of fluid passing through a restricted tubular orifice at a selected rate.
Description of the prior art In the administration of fluids into the human body system for medical purposes, it is the customary practice to store a quantity of the desired fluid in a container such as a bottle until a physician prescribes the use thereof for a particular patient. In the introduction of the fluid into the body system of the patient, a syringe is normally employed for administering the fluid intravenously which is connected to the container in fluid communication therewith via a flexible plastic tube. Generally, the physician will require that the stored fluid be metered to the patient in terms of a given number of drops per minute. To this end, a valve mechanism is usually employed about a portion of the flexible tube midway between the container and the syringe so that by this mechanism, the
volume and rate of fluid flow through the tube can be controlled.
Conventional valve mechanisms which have been employed for the foregoing medical application may take the form of a simple spring biased pinch valve. However, the closure member employed in such a device either maintains the central tube opening fully opened or fully closed so that the fluid conducting therethrough cannot be metered according to physician instructions.
Another attempt to provide a suitable valve mechanism resides in a device having a housing for surrounding a portion of the tube and including a thumb wheel adapted to be moved rectilinearly on the housing through an elongated slot wherein the periphery of the wheel presses the annular wall of the tube against an opposing inclined, opposite well formed in the housing. The binding of the wheel periphery against a collapsed or partially collapsed tube as the wheel progresses up the inclined wall will not only determine orifice size so as to meter the fluid, but operates as an applied force to prevent the wheel from backing 01f. However, experience with this latter device 3,497,175 Patented Feb. 24, 1970 has proven that the wheel closure member may be readily dislodged from its setting by relatively gentle tugs on the tube normally encountered by inadvertent movement of the patient during the administration of the fluid. Such an occurrence will open the tube orifice completely and permit immediate and rapid dispensing of stored fluid into the patients body system which may be extremely damaging and, particularly in the instance involving infants, may cause death.
Still another conventional valve mechanism incorporates a housing having a rotatable member therein which may be actuated so as to force the closure means to collapse the flexible wall of the tube against the opposing housing wall surface. Therefore, the rotary movement of the member moves the closure means up and down depending upon the direction of rotation so that the orifice may be either completely blocked or restricted so as to meter the flow of fluid therethrough. Although this rotary device obviates the difficulty of inadvertent release due to body movement of the patient, there is no provision for registering the rotation of the closure member to orifice size for fluid metering purposes. Normally, an attendant must closely monitor the dispensing of the fluid through the valve mechanism by counting the drops of fluid and converting the number of drops counted into a time conversion ratio whereby the prescribed number of drops per minute may be permitted to pass through the restricted metering orifice. Obviously, such a procedure is extremely time-consuming, subject to aspects of human error and highly inaccurate for modern day standards.
Another drawback of this type of mechanism resides in the fact that since the closure member is of a rotary type, the closure means cannot be provided with sharp corners or other edges which would cut or otherwise sever the soft material of the tube as the closure member is rotated into position. Consequently, the tip of the closure member is rounded and, therefore, cannot completely close the opening in the tube to effect a positive closure to the fluid passing therethrough. In actual practice, it has been found that the flexible walled tube will substantially bulge around the rounded closure member so that fluid may still continue to flow through the side lobes of the tube although the closure means eflectively collapses the central portion of the tube.
Therefore, a need has long existed to provide a fluid regulator and closure device which will not only provide a positive closure but which will provide a visual indication to the attendant of the rate at which fluid is being dispensed to the patient. Inasmuch as the device is employed for medical purposes, the device should be inexpensive to manufacture and be considered disposable so that the device may be discarded after a single use so as to avoid any contamination problems. Such a device is represented by the novel device of the present invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, the above problems and difficulties are overcome by the present invention which provides, in general, a hollow housing through which the flexible fluid carrying tube passes and which includes a closure means movable in cooperation with the housing to selectively close a portion of the tube so as to restrict flow of fluid being dispensed. An indexing means is provided on the closure means adapted to register with a progressive scale carried on the housing whereby visual indication is given correlated to the amount of restrictive tube closure so that accurate metering of the fluid therethrough is permitted. The closure means is contoured with respect to the cooperating housing wall so that upon complete closure of the tube, absolute cessation of fluid flow is achieved.
In one form of the inventive concept, the device may include a rectilinear closure action while in other forms, rotary action as well as rotary telescopic closure action may be employed.
Therefore, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a novel liquid regulator and metering valve including a closure means for controlling the flow rate of a fluid being dispensed through a flexible tube so that the fluid flow may be metered at an accurate and predetermined flow rate.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel closure valve for use in connection with the administration of medical fluids intravenously into the body system of a patient whereby the flow rate through the valve is under control of the manual closure means which may be selectively set to administer a predetermined quantity of fluid to the body system and which may be employed to completely block or fully restrict the flow of fluid therethrough.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a novel fluid regulator and closure valve which is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, has relatively few component parts, and which may be readily disposed of or discarded after initial use has terminated.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a novel controllable rate valve having a manually operable closure means which when set to a given location cannot be dislodged or upset from that location by the inadvertent tugging of the tube through which the fluid is transmitted.
Still a further object of the present invention is to prvide a novel controllable rate valve having a manually operated closure means adapted to cooperate with the housing thereof to visually indicate the degree of restrictive orifice closure in the tube carrying fluid so that the visual indication is indicative of the orifice opening.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of the novel fiuid regulator and closure valve of the present invention illus trated in a typical medical application for dispensing fluid from a container through a syringe into a patients body system;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged perspective view of the fluid regulator and closure valve shown in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the valve device showing a sliding closure means in its nonrestrictive flow position;
FIGURE 4 is a top plan view of the valve device shown in FIGURE 3;
FIGURE 5 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the valve device as taken in the direction of arrows 5-5 of FIGURE 3;
FIGURE 6 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of another embodiment of the fluid regulator and control valve incorporating the present invention;
FIGURE 7 is a perpective view of still another embodiment of the present invention having a rotary closure means;
FIGURE 8 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the Valve device shown in FIGURE 7 as taken in the direction of arrows 8-8 thereof;
FIGURE 9 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the valve device as taken in the direction of arrows 99 of FIGURE 8;
FIGURE 10 is a perspective view of still another embodiment of a fluid regulator and closure valve employing a cylindrical closure means;
4 FIGURE 11 is a longitudinal sectional view of the valve device illustrated in FIGURE 10; and
FIGURE 12 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the valve device shown in FIGURE 11 as taken in the direction of arrows 1212 thereof.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIGURE 1 a standard medical procedure is illustrated for dispensing a quantity of fluid 10 contained in a bottle 11 into the body system of a patient through a syringe 12. The fluid is transferred via the force of gravity through a flexible, thin-walled plastic tube 13 which interconnects the bottle 11 with the syringe 12. One end of the tube 13 is releasably coupled to the mouth of the bottle 11 by means of an interference-fit coupler 14 while the syringe 12 is secured to the opposite end of the tube 13 by means of a fitting 15. Located midway between the bottle 11 and the syringe 12, there is provided a fluid regulator and closure means in accordance with the present invention as indicated in the general direction of arrow 16 which surrounds a portion of the tube 13. The regulator and closure means 16 is adapted to selectively meter the flow of fluid through the tube 13 so that a prescribed quantity of fluid is dispensed to the patients body system.
As illustrated in FIGURE 2, the fluid regulator enclosure means 16, which incorporates the present invention, includes a hollow housing 17 preferably composed of a disposable plastic-like material and is provided with a rectangular shape in cross section so that a portion of the tube 13 may readily extend through the housing 17. Movably mounted on the housing 17 is a slide member 18 which is preferably knurled so that the member may be readily moved by the thumb of an attendant when it is desired to either meter the fluid through the tube 13 or to provide a positive closure completely blocking the flow of fluid therethnough. The slide member 18 moves through an elongated slot 20 formed in an inclined wall 21 of the housing. The edge marginal regions of the slot 20 opposing each other are formed with a plurality of irregularities so as to provide a plurality of detents 22 adapted to releasably receive and hold the slide member 18 when the member is set to a predetermined location.
The particular location of slide member 18 is determined by the registration of a marker 23 carried on the slide member 18 with a selected one of a plurality of scale indications 24 marked on the exterior surface of wall 21 adjacent each of the respective detents 22. The scale represented by the indications 24 are progressive so as to be related to the restriction of the orifice of tube 13 through which the fluid must pass as determined by the closure of the slide member 18.
Referring now in detail to FIGURE 3, the tube closure means of the present invention is more clearly illustrated in that the slide member 18 includes a shank of reduced size which is adapted to slide in the slot 20 as the member 18 is positioned along the surface of wall 21. It is to be particularly noted that the inclined wall 21 decreases the inner spacing of the hollow of the housing 17 from the right hand side of the housing as shown in the drawing to the left hand side thereof. Furthermore, it is to be noted that the wall 21 is inclined with respect to the opposite wall 26 of the housing 17. The inner surface of the wall 21 functions as a bearing surface against which an element 27 may slide as the member 18 is positioned along the slot 20. The element 27 is enlarged so as to bear against the underside of the wall 21 on the opposing edge marginal regions of the slot 20. The extreme terminating end 28 of the element 27 slidably engages with a movable arm 30 secured in the hollow of the housing 17 by means of a pivot connection 31. The opposite end of the arm 30 from its end pivotally connected to the housing includes a member 32 formed perpendicularly to the major length of the arm 30 and which terminates in a button 33 adapted to engage a predetermined portion of the tube 13. The predetermined portion at which the button 33 engages the tube, determines the closure point of the tube for metering the fluid therethrough depending upon the degree of closure provided by the arm 30 in response to depression or pivotal movement thereof by element 27 as the slide member 18 is moved through the slot 20. The position of the closure button 33 is shown in broken lines when the slide member 18, as indicated in broken lines, is in a midway position between the opposite ends of the slot 20, as indicated in broken lines.
Therefore, it can be seen that as the slide member 18 is moved through the slot 20, element 27 will bear against the movable arm 30 to cause the arm to pivot about its pivot connection 31 as the distance between the opposing wall surfaces of housing walls 21 and 26 decreases. It is also to be noted that the closure of the predetermined location of tube 13 beneath button 33 represents a positive closure in that inadvertent tugs of the tube 13 in either direction will not have a tendency to upset the closure determined by slide member 18. No dislodgement of the button 33 can be inadvertently experienced and the button 33 preferably includes rounded corners so that the tube will not be damaged, torn or cut.
Referring now to FIGURE 4, it can be seen that the slide member 18 may be readily registered with the scale indications 24 by aligning the marker 23 therewith. The slot 20 is so configured so as to provide a plurality of successive and alternate reduced portions and enlarged portions so that a detent action is produced to releasably hold slide member 18 in a desired indicating location. By this means, an attendant may readily select from the progressive scale 24, a desired unit of fluid flow rate through the orifice immediately adjacent to button 33. The scale is so related to the orifice that an accurate metering of the fluid can be achieved by the visual alignment of the marker 23 with the scale indicators 24.
In FIGURE 5, it can be seen that the button 33 may readily restrict the orifice immediately adjacent thereto in tube 13 by the up-and-down pivotal movement of arm 30. The up-and-down movement of arm 30 is under the control and in response to the rectilinear sliding movement of the member 18 having element 27 which bears between the undersurface of wall 21 and the arm 30.
Another embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGURE 6 as indicated in the direction of numeral 34 which includes a housing 35 which is hollow so as to accommodate the passage of tube 13 therethrough. The embodiment of the invention 34 is modified from the embodiment shown in FIGURES 2-5 inclusive in that the housing includes opposite walls 36 and 37 which are substantially parallel in fixed spaced-apart relationship with regard to each other and wherein the opposing side walls 38 include a pair of slots 41 extending in the same plane.
Each of the opposite slots 41 formed in the opposing side walls are configured similarly to the slot 20 in that a plurality of alternate reduced and enlarged areas are provided so as to provide a detent action for a rotatable member 40 as it is moved throughout the length of the slots. The member 40 is a knurled wheel having rotatable axle shaft 42 adapted to be rotated through the slots 41. However, an additional slot 43 is provided in the wall 36 of the housing to accommodate the movement of the body to wheel 40.
The periphery of the wheel 40 rides on a pivoted arm 44 which is similar in construction to arm 30 in the previous embodiment. Therefore, as the wheel 40 is rotated, arm 44 will be pivoted downwardly so that its closure button 45 will depress the flexible wall of tube 13 to form a restricted orifice through which the fluid is metered. The closure action is cooperated with by the internal surface of Wall 37 against which the closure button 45 will ulti- 6 mately press the tube 13. Furthermore, a visual scale is provided in that the axle shafts 42 on the wheel 40 may serve as markers cooperating with visual indicators 46 providing a scale indicative of the orifice closure by button 45. In this embodiment, the closure wheel 40 moves in a rectilinear direction through the slots 41 and 43 while the closure arm 44 pivots in an up-and-down direction in accordance therewith.
Referring now in detail to FIGURE 7, still another embodiment of the present invention is shown as indicated in the direction of arrow 50. The device 50 includes opposite walls 52 and 53 of a housing 51 which are arranged in fixed parallel spaced relationship so as to be separated by the passage of the tube 13 through the hollow of the housing. The device includes a rotary member 54 having a marker 55 adapted to be registered with a selected one of a plurality of scale indications 56 arranged in a circle about the annular member 54.
In FIGURE 8, it can be seen that the rotary member 54 includes a shank 57 in the threadable engagement with a member 58 provided in the wall 52. The extreme terminating end of shank 57 is disposed in a receiver 60 and is connected to an annular flange in grooved arrangement 61 so as to permit the shank to be rotated within the receiver 60 while simultaneously moving a closure member 62 in an up-and-down direction depending upon the direction of rotation of the member 54. Consequently, by means of the coupling 61 between the receiver 60 and the shank 57, the rotary movement of member 54 is translated into a vertical rectilinear movement of the closure member 62. Located immediately beneath the closure member 62 and separating member 62 from the wall 53, is a portion of the tube 13 intended to be collapsed so as to meter the fluid therethrough.
In FIGURE 9, it can be seen that the closure member 62 has its opposite ends slidably mounted in guides provided by projections 63 and 64 carried on the inside surface of the opposite side walls of the housing 51. Therefore, as the closure member 62 moves in an up-and-down direction in response to the rotation of member 54, the member 62 is guided and stabilized so that the closure of the portion of tube 13 forming a restrictive orifice will be positive and not susceptible to dislodgement by inadvertent tugging of tube 13. Although detent means may be provided for the embodiment shown in FIGURES 7-9, it is not considered a necessity inasmuch as the member 58 may be suitably binding in its threadable connection with shank 57 so as to provide the positive action required by the present inventive concept.
Still another embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGURES 10l2 inclusive, as indicated in the general direction of arrow 70, which may be referred to as a cylindrical device having rotary telescopic closure action. The device includes a central sleeve 71 carried in fixed relationship with respect to a base member 72 disposed at one end of the sleeve. At the other end of the sleeve, and in threadable engagement therewith, is a rotating member 73 which includes a marker 74 adapted to be registered or indexed with a selected one of a plurality of visual indications 75 provided on the exterior surface of the sleeve 71 adjacent the rotatable member 73. It is to be noted that the member 73 includes a central opening 76 through which the tube 13 passes. A similar opening is provided in base member 72 so that a portion of the tube 13 is surrounded by the device 70.
In FIGURES 11 and 12, it can be seen that the base member 72 includes a plurality of cantilevered fingered members 77 which project into the hollow of sleeve 71 about the portion of tube 13 enclosed therein and which termintae in arcuate elements 78 that engage about the periphery of tube 13 at a common location representative of the restricted orifice. The cantilevered members 77 are flexible or resilient in that each of the members 77 can be flexed about its connection with the base 72 so that the elements 78 may be moved in unison to converge at the location of the tube .13 to restrict the fluid flow therethrough. The members 77 are moved in unison by means of a shank portion 80 carried by the rotary member 73 wherein the external surface of the shank portion is in threadable engagement with the inside diameter of the sleeve 71 via a plurality of threads 81. The shank p rtion 80 is provided with an internal bore through which the tube 13 is disposed wherein the bore includes a tapered conical surface 82 which engages with the curved portion of the arcuate elements 78 of the members 77. Therefore, it can be seen that as the member 73 is rotated by means of the threadable connection with the sleeve 71, the tapered surface 82 will bear against the members 77 to cause the members to come together about the tube 13 or to resiliently expand about the tube 13 depending upon the direction of rotation of the member 73. It is also to be noted that the plurality of members 77 are arranged in spaced relationship with respect to the annular wall of sleeve 71 so as to accommodate the insertion of the annular body portion 80 as the member 73 is rotated counterclockwise to forcibly urge the arcuate finger elements 78 to restrict the orifice of tube 13 A feature resides in the provision of a recess '83 in the body portion 80 which may be filled with a resilient material 84 adapted to provide a detent action during the rotation of members 73. The material 84 may be of any suitable composition such as plastic, fiber board, elastomeric material or the like which will permit a reduced degree of restriction to the rotation by member 73. Therefore, the setting of the member 73 with respect to sleeve 71 will be maintained regardless of any tugging or adverse dislodgement forces which may be placed on the tube 13.
Therefore, in view of the foregoing, it can be seen that the novel fluid regulator and metering device of the present invention provides an improved closure means for controlling and restricting the flow of fluid through a'flexi-ble thin-walled tube. Once the closure means has been set by the attendant to a particular setting indicated by the marker and scale, dislodgement of the setting member cannot be achieved inadvertently. Dislodgement is repelled by not only the detent means provided on the housing of the device but by the positive closure action of the closure means with the selected portion of the tube to be collapsed. This fail-safe feature of the present invention is not only advantageous to the attendant monitoring the dispensing of fluids to a patient, but more importantly protects the patient from unauthorized and inadvertent dispensing of fluid into the patients system which may be dangerous to the health and life of the patient.
The device of the present invention may be readily used in connection with the dispensing of a fluid such as a liquid medication to a patient by a procedure known by those skilled in the art as the drip method. The regulator and metering device is readily attached to a plastic tube such as may be employed during the administration of intravenous fluids, any irrigating fluids or the like. The regulating device will allow a measured amount of fluid drops to flow through the plastic tubing in a designated period of time. This is readily accomplished by the use of the calibrated scale or visual dial indications from which it is possible to select a number on the dial corresponding to a determined precise measurement of the amount of fluid desired to be passed through the tube in a given time. It is to be understood that the inventive concept is employable in either a dispensing system using gravitational force for dispensing the fluid or using an applied pressurized force therefor.
What is claimed is:
1. A fluid regulator and metering device for controlling the volume of fluid being dispensed through a flexible thin-walled tube comprising: a hollow housing through which a portion of the tube extends and having a pair of opposite wallswherein one wall of said pair is slotted and inclined with respect to the other wall of said pair;
closure means movably carried on said housing and adapted to engage with said tube portion to produce a restricted orifice for controllably metering the flow of fluid therethrough, said closure means including a movable arm pivotally connected to said housing within the hollow thereof, said closure member further including a slide member movably carried on said inclined wall having an element arranged in sliding engagement with said arm where-by rectilinear movement of said slide member forcibly urges a selected end of said arm into and out of engagement with said tube portion so as to vary the opening size of said tube restrictive orifice; and
an indexing means cooperatively carried on said closure means and said housing respectively whereby said closure means may be registered to said housing so that the size of said restricted orifice may be se ected in order to permit a predetermined volume of fluid to pass through said restricted orifice, said indexing means including a marker carried on said closure means and graduated scale indications carried on said housing wherein alignment of said marker with a selected one of said scale indications permits a predetermined number of fluid drops to pass through said restricted orifice.
2. The invention as defined in claim 1 including detent means carried by said housing releasably coupled to said closure means and adapted to maintain said closure means in its set position in selected engagement with said tube portion.
3. A fluid regulator and metering device for controlling the volume of fluid being dispensed through a flexible thin-Walled tube comprising:
a hollow housing through which a portion of the tube extends and having a pair of opposite sidewalls formed with elongated slots lying in the same plane parallel to the tube axis and a top and bottom wall arranged in parallel fixed spaced apart relationship, said top wall being formed with an elongated slot;
closure means movably carried on said housing and adapted to engage with said tube portion to produce a restricted orifice for controllably metering the flow of fluid therethrough including a movable arm pivotally connected to said housing within the hollow thereof and normally biased away from said tube portion to an inclined position relative to the tube axis;
said closure means further including a rotatable wheel disposed to travel through said top wall slot to a selected settable position and having an axle carried on its opposite ends in said pair of sidewall slots so that the periphery of said wheel rides on said movable arm causing said arm to forcibly engage with said tube portion to effect said restrictive orifice in response to travel of said wheel lengthwise said top wall slot; and
an indexing means cooperatively carried on said closure means and said housing respectively whereby said closure means may be registered to said housing so that the size of said restricted orifice may be selected in order to permit a predetermined volume of fluid to pass through said restricted orifice.
4. The invention as defined in claim 3 wherein said lndexing means includes a marker carried on said closure means and graduated scale indications carried on said housing wherein alignment of said marker with a selected one of said scale indications permits a predetermined number of fluid drops to pass through said restricted orifice 5. The invention as defined in claim 3 wherein said closure means and housing include detent means to maintain said closure means non-responsive to move- 9 ment of the tube which would otherwise normally cause dislodgement of said closure means from its engagement with the tube as set by said indexing means. 6. The invention as defined in claim 3 wherein each of said sidewall slots includes successive and alternate reduced widths and widened widths providing detent action in cooperation with said axle to maintain said wheel in its set position.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Miller 251-7 Butler 251--6 Broman 2519 XR Burke 251-9 XR Meyer 24-217 XR Burke 2S18 XR WILLIAM F. ODEA, Primary Examiner RICHARD GERARD, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.