US 3575170 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  lnventor James L. Clark Milwaukee, Wis.
 BREATHER ASSEMBLY FOR A SEALED 3,429,314 2/1969 Ericson 3,439,677 4/1969 Bonfils Primary ExaminerCharles F. Rosenbaum Attorneys-John W. Michael, Gerrit D. Foster. Bayard H.
Michael, Paul R. Puerner, Joseph A. Gemignani, Andrew 0. Riteris and Spencer B. Michael ABSTRACT: A breather assembly for a sealed container such as a bedside drainage bag comprising a breather element of woven fiberglass fabric material with a teflon coating adapted to permit free passage of gas therethrough and to resist passage of liquid therethrough. The breather element also acts to filter out bacteria in the air to thus prevent its entrance into the container. The breather element is mounted in a circular opening in a retaining ring member and permanently retained therein by a pair of outer housing members sealed by electronic welding to the retaining ring member. The assembly is then mounted in the wall of a container such as a bedside drainage bag with the breather element positioned in alignment with a flow opening in the wall of the container.
llltll tlEA'llllllEll t ASSEMBLY FOR A SEALED CONTAINER BACKGROUND OF INVENTION 1. Field of Invention This invention relates to a breather assembly for a closed container and more particularly to a specially designed breather assembly for use in a bedside drainage bag of the type used in a closed catheter system.
2. Description of Prior Art In a so-called closed catheter system, the catheter is adapted to be passed through the urethra into the bladder of a patient and when so positioned forms an essentially closed or airtight system with respect to the drainage bag used to collect the liquid flowing from the patient. Drainage bags of the type used in such a system are generally made from a plastic material and when put into use there is generally little or no air in the bag at the beginning of the drainage operation. Thus, as drainage of liquid into the bag occurs the flexible walls of the bag will be bulged outwardly thereby increasing the volume of air space inside the bag. This expansion of the bag in a closed system will tend to create a vacuum within the system which condition may be very detrimental to the user due to the possibility of resultant serious injury to the bladder. It is important, therefore, that some means be provided to prevent such a vacuum condition from occurring in the patient's bladder. The purpose of this invention, therefore, is to provide an improved breather assembly for a drainage bag which permits the free flow of air into the bag and at the same time resists the flow of liquid out of the bag. Another object is to.
provide a breather assembly which functions to filter bacteria out of the air flowing into the bag.
A further object of this invention is to provide a breather assembly which can be produced economically on a mass production basis.
Other objects and advantages will be pointed out in, or be apparent from, the description which follows and in the appended claims.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION A breather assembly for a sealed container comprising a breather element adapted to permit free passage of gas therethrough and to resist passage of liquid therethrough. Such element also filters bacteria from the air flowing therethrough. Such assembly further includes a breather element retaining ring having a breather element retaining opening therethrough adapted to receive said breather element therein. Said ring is preferably made from a nonporous plastic material. The assembly further includes a pair of housing members also of nonporous plastic material positioned on opposite sides of said breather element and sealed to said retaining ring to thereby retain said breather element in said breather element retaining opening. Such housing members each have at least one opening therethrough positioned opposite said breather element to thus permit free passage of air through the assembly. A further characteristic of the assembly is that the openings in the housing members are substantially concentric with the breather element and of smaller cross-sectional area than said element so that the housing members will overlie the breather element in the area immediately surrounding said openings in the housing members. The breather element is adhered to the housing members in the areas where the housing members overlie the breather element to thereby prevent any tendency of liquid to flow around the edges of the breather element when in assembled position.
DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. l is a perspective view of a bedside drainage bag incorporating the present invention;
HO. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view of the breather assembly of this invention taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the breather assembly only, prior to its incorporation into the drainage bag; and
FIG. 4 is an exploded view showing the various components of the breather assembly.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings in detail, FIG. I shows a bedside drainage bag I0 designed for use in a closed catheter system. Bedside drainage bag 10 is preferably made from two sheets of polyvinyl chloride plastic 12, 14 which are sealed to each other around the peripheral edges thereof as at 16 preferably by an electronic welding procedure to provide a sealed container.
The drainage bag is provided with an inlet fitting 118 having a tube 20 connected thereto for conducting the flow of fluid into the bag. Fitting l8 and tube 20 are also preferably made from polyvinyl chloride material. Attached to tube 20 is a socalled retention" type catheter (not shown) of any suitable design.-
The bag 10 is also provided with a drainage assembly 22 designed for periodically draining the bag of its contents. The drainage assembly 22 does not form a part of this invention, and, therefore, a detailed description of such assembly will not be made herein. The bag 10 is also provided with a supporting cord 24 for hanging the entire unit on the rail of a hospital bed.
The catheter attached to tube 18 is adapted to be passed through the urethra into the bladder of a patient and when so positioned forms an essentially closed or airtight system with respect to the drainage bag It). Plastic drainage bags of the type shown herein when put into use are generally in a flat condition with the walls 12 and 14 thereof in close contact with each other. Thus, when the bag is put into use there is generally little or no air in the bag at the beginning of the drainage operation.
It will be appreciated, therefore, that as drainage of liquid through tube l8 into the bag occurs the flexible walls of the bag will be bulged outwardly thereby increasing the volume of air space inside the bag. This expansion of the bag in a closed system will tend to create a vacuum within the system which condition may be very detrimental to the user due to the possibility of resultant serious injury to the bladder. It is essential therefore that some means be provided to prevent such a vacuum" condition from occurring.
Such a means is provided by a specially designed breather assembly 26 mounted in the upper portion of the bag as shown in FIG. ll. As will be explained thereinafter, breather assembly functions to allow free passage of air in and out of bag 10 while at the same time prevents flow of liquid therethrough under normal circumstances. The breather assembly also functions to filter out bacteria from the air flowing into the bag to prevent such bacteria from reaching the patients bladder.
As shown in FIG. 4, the breather assembly is comprised of four major components namely a filter element 28, a filter element-retaining ring 30 and a pair of outer housing members 32 and 34.
Filter element-retaining ring 30 (preferably of polyvinyl chloride material) is of circular shape and has a central filter element-retaining opening 36 therein.
The breather element 28 is preferably made of a material comprised of a woven fiberglass fabric with a teflon coating, which material is adapted to freely allow the passage of air therethrough while, at the same time, resisting the passage of liquid therethrough. Such material also functions to filter out bacteria in the air flowing therethrough. The breather material, however, is not subject to electronic welding as is the polyvinyl chloride material used in the other parts of the drainage bag.
The breather element 28 is of circular shape having a diameter slightly less than that of the breather-retaining opening 36 in ring member 30. It is also noted that the thickness of breather element 28 is also slightly less than the thickness of retaining ring 32. This means, of course, that the breather element 28 will fit within the breather-retaining opening 36 when the parts are in assembled position as shown in FIG. 3.
The outer housing members 32 and 34 are also comprised of nonporous flexible material such as polyvinyl chloride having the characteristics of receiving an electronic weld. Housing members 32 and 34 are provided with centered openings 38 and 40 of smaller diameter than that of breather element 28. The breather assembly is completed as shown in H0. 3 by positioning breather element 28 in retaining opening 36 and then completing the assembly by positioning housing members 32 and 34 on opposite sides of retaining ring 30 with openings 38 and 40 concentrically arranged with respect to breather element 28. The breather element 28 is permanently retained in the assembly by a circular electronic weld as indicated by reference numeral 42. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, weld 42 extends around the outer periphery of breather element 28 and provides a continuous seal between housing members 32, 34 and the retaining ring 30.
As indicated previously, the material of breather element 28 is not susceptible to electronic welding, however, the heat and pressure produced by weld 42 will cause the inner faces of housing members 32 and 34 which overlie breather element 28 to become adhered to the adjacent faces of breather element 28 in the areas indicated by reference numerals 44 and 46. Such adhesive areas will serve to securely seal the breather element 28 in the overall assembly to thus prevent any tendency of liquid to flow around the edges of the breather element in the completed assembly.
As described, the breather element 26 can be completely subassembled independently of the drainage bag thus lending itself to mass production methods of manufacturer. After it has been subassembled as shown in FIG. 3, it can then be readily mounted in the front face 12 of the drainage bag 10 by first cutting a circular flow opening 48 in front face 12 and then electronically welding the breather assembly to the front face 12 by means of an electronic weld indicated by reference numeral 50 in FIGS. 1 and 2.
The breather assembly 26 thus assembled in the bag 10 functions to permit the free passage of air from the atmosphere into the inside of the bag as the bag expands due to flow of fluid therein through tube from the patient. Thus, any tendency of a vacuum to be created in the closed system will be alleviated. Also as indicated previously, breather assembly 26 functions to filter out bacteria in the air flowing into the bag. It will also be appreciated that any tendency of liquid inside the bag to flow out through the breather element will be prevented. This may be a problem when handling the filled bag for drainage thereof of for other reasons.
Although but one embodiment of the present invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention or from the scope of the appended claims.
l. A breather assembly for a sealed container comprising:
a breather element adapted to permit free passage of gas therethrough and to resist passage of liquid therethrough, said breather element comprising a woven fiberglass fabric having a Teflon coating thereon;
a breather element-retaining ring having a breather element-retaining opening therethrough adapted to receive said breather element therein, said ring being made from nonporous plastic material; and
a pair of housing members positioned on opposite sides of said breather element and sealed to said retaining ring to thereby retain said breather element in said breather element-retaining opening, said housing members being made from nonporous plastic material and each having at least one opening therethrough positioned opposite said breather element.
2. A breather assembly according to claim 1 in which said breather element is circular in shape and said openin in said retaining ring is also circular in shape and has a rameter slightly greater than said breather element.
3. A breather assembly according to claim 2 in which said housing members are sealed to said ring by a continuous circular weld positioned slightly beyond the outer periphery of said breather element.
4. A breather assembly according to claim 3 in which said openings in said housing members are circular and are substantially concentric with said circular breather element and of smaller diameter than said element so that said housing members will overlie said breather element around said circular openings in said housing member, said breather element being adhered to said housing members in the areas where the housing members overlie said breather element.
5. A breather element according to claim 1 in which the thickness of said breather element is slightly less than the thickness of said breather element-retaining ring.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE Certificate Patent No. 3,57 5,17 0 Patented April 20, 1971 James L. Clark Application having been made by James L. Clark, the inventor named in the patent above identified, and Plastronics, Inc., Milwaukee, Wis, a corporation of Wisconsin, the assignee, for the issuance of a certificate under the provisions of Title 35, Section 256, of the United States Code, adding the name of Frank K. Villari as a joint inventor, and a showing and proof of facts satisfying the requirements of the said section having been submitted, it is this 22nd day of October 1974, certified that the name of the said Frank K. Villari is hereby added to the said patent as a joint inventor with the said James L. Clark.
FRED W. SHERLING, Associate Solicitor.