US 3674007 A
A tube contains a plug of absorbent material saturated with a culture-sustaining liquid. A swabbing unit includes an elongate member carrying a swabbing tip at one end and providing a handle at the other. Intermediate the ends is a sealing member designed to seal against the elongate member and against the inside of the tube. The swabbing unit can be withdrawn from the tube, a culture collected on the tip, and the tip replaced in the tube which is sealed by the sealing member. The liquid moistens the swabbing tip and keeps the collected culture in a live condition until laboratory tests have been performed on the culture.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
. United States Patent Freis 51 July 4, 1972  CULTURE COLLECTING APPARATUS  Inventor: John H. Freis, 3111 Sunnyside Drive,
Rockford, 111. 61111  Filed: June 4, 1970  Appl. No.2 43,361
 US. Cl ..l28/2, 128/269  Int. Cl. ..A6lb 7/24,A6lb 17/42, A6lb 17/50  Field of Search ..128/2, 269
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 705,271 7/1902- Miner 128/269 759,843 5/1904 Adams.... ..128/269 2,261,058 10/1941 Forbis ..l28/269 3,163,160. 12/1964 Cohen ..l28/2 R 3,368,549 2/1968 Barr et a1. ..l28/2-R 3,450,129 6/1969 Avery et al ..l28/2 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS '37,629 3/1936 Netherlands ..l28/269 1,937,021 7/1969 Germany ..128/269 Primary Examiner-Aldrich F. Medbery Attorney-McCanna, Morsbach, Pillote & Muir [5 7} ABSTRACT A tube contains a plug of absorbent material saturated with a culture-sustaining liquid. A swabbing unit includes an elongate member carrying a swabbing tip at one end and providing a handle at the other. Intermediate the ends is a sealing member designed to seal against the elongate member and against the inside of the tube. The swabbing unit can be withdrawn from the tube, a culture collected on the tip, and the tip replaced in the tube which is sealed by the sealing member. The liquid moistens the swabbing tip and keeps the collected culture in a live condition until laboratory tests have been performed on the culture.
3 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUL 4 1972 W N. :fw
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CULTURE COLLECTING APPARATUS BACKGROUND The invention relates to .an apparatus for use by physicians and technicians for collecting a culture for diagnostic purposes. v I
A culture swab is used by the medical profession for obtaining a specimen from a particular area of a patient's body, such as the ears, nose or throat, in order to determine if the patient is infected with certain types of organisms. The specimen, customarily called a culture, is collected on the swab by swabbing the body area with a tip of absorbent material. The swab is then insertedinto a separate container for forwarding to a laboratory for testing. A small amount of liquid is usually added to the container to moisten the swabbing tip and maintain the culture in a live condition until it reaches the laborato- SUMMARY The present invention pertains generally to a diagnostic apparatus and more particularly to an apparatus for Collecting a culture or the like.
It is a general object of the present invention to provide a new and improved culture collecting apparatus which carries its own supply of liquid for moistening the swab. i
be formed of any convenient material such as wood or plastic. Preferably the elongate member 32 is sufficiently long to reach various body areas such as the throat while being held in a physicians hand. In addition, the swabbing tip 34 is of relatively small diameter so that it can reach constricted body areas such as the nose or ear.
A sealing member is formed of an elastomeric material, preferably a surgical-type rubber, and is mounted on the elongate member 32 intermediate the ends thereof. A suitable sealing member can also be formed of urethane foam or like material. The sealing member includes a body portion 36 which has a central opening for the passage of the elongate Another object of the present invention is to provide a culture collecting apparatus which includes a pre-moistened plug and a sealing member for sealing the apparatus both prior to and after the culture is collected thereby preventing loss of the culture-sustaining liquid.
Still another object is to provide a new and improved swabbing unit which carries a sealing member and is so constructed that there is no relative movement between the sealing member and the elongate member on which it is mounted.
These, and other objects'and advantages of the present invention, will become apparent as the same becomes better understood from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an elevational view illustrating a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an exploded view showing the various components prior to assembly;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged longitudinal sectional view through the tube and illustrating the other components in elevation; and
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3 and on a still larger scale.
DESCRIPTION Reference is now made more particularly to the drawings which illustrate the best presently known mode of carrying out the invention and wherein similar reference characters indicate the same parts throughout the several views.
A preferred embodiment of the invention includes a culture swab or swabbing unit, generally designated 10, a container 11, and a plug of absorbent material 12. The container 11 is imperforate and is preferably made of a transparent but generally rigid material such as glass or polypropylene. The container 11 is advantageously cylindrical in shape having a smooth interior surface 22 (see FIG. 3). The container has a wall 23 closing one end thereof and is generally open at the other end 24. The container 11 carries its own sealed supply of liquid and thus does away with the need for pouring a separate moisturizing agent into the container after the culture has been collected. For this purpose, the absorbent material 12 is saturated by a culture-sustaining liquid (not shown) such as distilled water, saline, or other solutions suitable for the purose. p The swabbing unit 10 includes an elongate member 32 which carried a swabbing tip 34 of absorbent material, such as cotton, wound around one end. The elongate member 32 may member. The body portion 36 is generally oblate in shape and has an outer diameter smaller than the inside diameter of the tube or container 11. The body portion 36 seals against the elongate member 32 and prevents relative movement therebetween, thereby securing the sealing member on the elongate member. An annular rim 38, having a diameter slightly greater than the inside diameter of the tube 11, is carried on the body portion for sealing against the inside of the tube. The annular member 38 is relatively narrow in width so that the friction between it and the inside of the tube is substantially less than the friction mounting the body portion 36 on the elongate member 32. v
As indicated above, the plug of absorbent material 12 is saturated with a quantity of culture-sustaining liquid. The sealing member seals the tube so that the liquid is retained therein from the time of initial assembly until the culture reaches the laboratory. In use, a doctor, or other person, withdraws the swabbing unit 10 from the container 11, the sealing member retaining its position on the elongate member 32. A culture is then obtained in the usual manner, and the swabbing unit replaced in the container. The swabbing tip 34 is replaced in contact with the moistened plug 12 to keep the culture moist during shipment to the laboratory. The transparency of the container 11 allows a user to readily observe the proper positioning. The sealing member, of course, can assume any of different positions along the inside of the tube 11 so that the swabbing tip 34 can be positioned against the plug 12.
From the foregoing it is felt that the new and improved culture collecting apparatus is readily understood. It has been seen that the apparatus is more convenient to use than prior arrangements, and yet is relatively simple in use and construction. The apparatus is sanitary, sealing the culture in the Container by virtue of the resealable sealing member. The entire apparatus is compact, low in cost, and disposable. If desired, a suitable label (not shown) can be placed on the container for identification.
While a preferred embodiment of the invention has herein been illustrated and described, this has been done by way of illustration and not limitation, and the invention should not be limited except as required by the scope of the appended claims.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. An apparatus for collecting a culture and the like and for maintaining the culture in a live condition for a period of time after collection, comprising in combination: an impervious cylindrical tube having an open end and an opposite closed end; an absorbent material filling a portion of the tube at the closed end thereof; a culture-sustaining liquid in the tube and absorbed in the absorbent material; a member longer than the tube and having one end disposed in the tube and another end projecting from the open end thereof to provide a handle; a swabbing tip on the one end of the member and adapted for collecting a culture and to be moistened by the culturesustaining liquid; and a resilient sealing member on the member intermediate the ends thereof and including a body portion and an annular portion carried by the body portion for sealing against the inside of the tube, the body portion having a diameter less than the diameter of the annular portion and a length substantially longer than the annular portion, and the body portion sealing against the member and substantially preventing relative movement between the body portion and member during removal of the member from the tube and subsequent resealing.
2. In an apparatus for collecting a culture and the like, the combination of: an elongate member having first and second ends; a swabbing tip mounted at the first end and adapted for collecting a culture; and a resilient sealing member mounted on the elongate member intermediate the ends thereof, the sealing member having a generally oblate body portion, a central opening in the body portion for passage of the elongate member, the central opening and body portion arranged to seal against the elongate member and to substantially prevent movement of the elongate member relative to the sealing member, a relatively narrow annular rim carried by the body portion and adapted to seal against the inside of a culture tube.
3. An apparatus for collecting a culture and the like and storing the same in a live condition for a period of time including: an impervious cylindrical tube formed of transparent plastic material and having rigid walls defining an open end and an opposite closed end; the walls having a smooth interior surface; a material in said tube at the closed end thereof and a culture-sustaining liquid in the material; an elongate member having a length at least twice the length of the tube and with one end disposed in the tube and another end projecting from the open end of the tube to provide an elongate handle for removing the elongate member therefrom; a culture-collecting tip at the one end of the elongate member and adapted to be moistened by the culture-sustaining liquid; and sealing means on the elongate member and closer to the one end than said other end for initially sealing against the interior surface of the walls of the impervious tube, for removal with the elongate member and swabbing tip when a culture is to be collected, and for rescaling against the interior surface of the walls of the impervious tube; the sealing means including a sealing member formed of resilient material and having an annular surface of preselected width for sealing against the interior surface of the walls of the tube, the sealing member including a body portion that surrounds and seals against the elongate member for a distance considerably greater than said width of the annular surface to hold the sealing member securely in position during removal of the elongate member from the tube and during resealing.