US 3701173 A
An inflatable body support having sequentially expandable first and second banks of cells which comprise transversely extending fingers. Each of the finger cells have substantially the same effective diameter with a center to center distance, between a cell from the first bank and a cell from the second bank, which is less than said effective diameter.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Whitney 51 0ct.3l, 1972  INFLATABLE BODY SUPPORT  Inventor: John K. Whitney, Lenneys Lane, Orchard Park, NY. 14210 Filed: May 22, 1970 Appl .No.: 39,661
US. Cl ..5/349, 128/33 rm. Cl ..A47c 27/08 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 7/1965 Johnson ..l61/139 8/1965 Grant ..5/349 Field of Search ..5/348, 349, 350, 60, 61; I
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,516,124 1/1968 France ..5/348 Primary Examiner-Bobby R. Gay
Assistant Examin'er-Andrew M. Calvert Attorney-William 1-1. McNeill and Robert E. Strausser  ABSTRACT An inflatable body support having sequentially. expandable first and second banks of cells which comprise transversely extending fingers. Each of the finger cells have substantially the same effective diameter with a center to center distance, between a cell from the first bank and a cell from the second bank, which is less than said effective diameter. y
6 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PRESSURE SYSTEM PATENTEDUBW m 3701.173
SHEET 2 OF 2 INVENTOR.
JOHN K. WHITNEY AGENT INFLATABLE BODY SUPPORT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to therapeutic mattresses and more particularly to such mattresses having alternately expandable cells actuated by a pressure system.
Persons required to lie in bed for extended periods of time suffer the discomforts of general fatigue, muscular pains, and in some instances, decubitus ulcers, or pressure sores. In order to relieve these conditions, it has been proposed that multiple cell fluid or air mattresses be employed with a pressure system to alternately shift the body support pressure areas from one location to another. Although such prior mattresses have reduced the discomforts of the user, they have not satisfied the prerequisites required to adequately insure against tissue degeneration, nor have they been particularly effective in reducing decubitis ulcers which form on the heels. A further condition for which the prior pads have been relatively ineffective is leg rotation. This condition develops in patients lying for long periods and is a result of the weight of the legs resting on the heels which then become pivots allowing the feet to rotate outwardly towards the mattress.
In addition to the heels, the remaining bony parts of the bodysuch as the shoulders are prone to become sore during convalescence. This is true even with pressure mattresses if the pressure in the cells exceeds the capillary pressure at those points of the body thus inducing a cut-off of circulation thereat.
Furthermore, in prior art mattresses, the size of the air cells was limited to small diameters in order to maintain an acceptable distance between inflated cells. The small diameters of these prior art cells provided a relatively small surface area in contact with a patients body and required relatively high internal pressures. Additionally, the small diameter cells inherently provided only a small differential between the inflated and deflated states, thus further increasing the pressure.
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it'is an object of this invention to obviate the disadvantages of the prior art.
It is another object of the invention to enhance the characteristics of alternating pressure pads.
It is another object of the invention to provide a pad which helps to alleviate the condition known as leg rotation.
Yet another object of the invention is an increase in cell diameter with a concomitant decrease in pressure.
Still another object of the invention is the provision of a pressure pad providing greater patient excursion.
These objects are achieved in one aspect of the invention by the provision of an inflatable mattress having first and second banks of sequentially expandable cells each having a longitudinal section and a plurality of transversely extending finger cells. The finger cells from the first and second banks each have substantially the same effective diameter with a center to center distance, between a cell from the first bank and a cell from the second bank, less the effective diameter. This construction allows the cells to operate at reduced pressure; and with a greater excursion during the inflation cycle.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of one embodiment of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic plan view of an alternate embodiment; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3. Y
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT For a better understanding of the present invention together with other and further objects, advantages, and capabilities thereof, reference is made to the following disclosure and appended claims in connection with the above-described drawings.
Referring now to the drawings with greater particularity, there is shown in FIG. 1 an inflatable body support pad or mattress 10 fabricated in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The pad 10 comprises first and second banks of sequentially expandable cells 12 and 14, respectively. The first bank of cells 12 comprises a longitudinally extending cell and a plurality of transversely extending finger cells 12b, each of which fluidly communicates with cell 12a. The second bank of cells 14 also comprises a longitudinally extending cell 14a and'a plurality of transversely extending finger cells 14b, each of which fluidly communicates with cell 14a. The longitudinal cells 120 and 14a are transversely spaced apart with the finger cells 12b extending toward cell 14a and the finger cells 14b extending toward cell 12a. The finger cells 12b and 14b each have substantially the same effective diameter, indicated in the drawing as A. The center to center distance, however is less than A and is indicated as B. In this particular embodiment this result is achieved with the finger cells 12b and 14b being interdigitated. Fluid access connections 16 and 18 are attached to banks of cells 12 and 14 respectively. Fluid pressure is supplied to mattress 10 from pressure system 20, which is in this instance shown only diagrammatically; however, a pressure system and pump which can be utilized with this mattress is shown and described in detail in US. Pat. No. 3,462,778.
More specifically, mattress 10 can be formed from two rectangular sheets of vinyl chloride plastic material 0.008 to 0.020 inches thick having a peripheral contour similar to a typical hospital bed mattress. The sheets are attached to one another by seal joints indicated by ribbons 22 around the periphery. A similar, however, serpentine, seal ribbon 24 forms the fluid impervious joints between banks 12 and 14. I
As indicated in FIG. 1 each of the finger cells has alternately broad and narrow areas 23 and 25 respectively which are so arranged that the broad and narrow areas on cells 12b are interleaved with the broad and narrow areas on cells 14b. The broad areas eflectively increase the diameter of the cells so that the weight of a patients body resting thereon is distributed over a wider area. This allows for a lower pressure to be util- I ized in the cells (of the order of 25 mmHg) and greatly reduces the tendency to from decubitus ulcers. In a preferred embodiment, the ratio of a broad area to a narrow area is about 4: 1
configuration shown in FIG. 2. As can be clearly seen therein the upper and lower surfaces 26 and 28 respectively are undular, presenting high contact points 30 on which the major portion of the body rests, and lower points 32 which do not generally contact the body. It is this undular surface which effectively relieves the condition known as leg rotation since, when the patients legs are placed on the pad, the large, low pressure cells contour to the shape of the leg, providing support over the entire leg. This removes the weight from the heel so it no longer acts as a pivot point.
Plastic tubing 34 can be run around the peripheral edge of the pad on the inside of the cells adjacent seal ribbon 22, this tube maintains an open air passage down each side of the pad to facilitate inflation and deflation.
A further embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Herein a pad 40 is comprised of first and second banks of cells 42 and 44 respectively, each constructed as separate units. The first bank of cells 42 overlies the second bank with the edges 46 of the finger cells 48 of the second bank 44'aligned with the center line of the finger cells 50 of the first bank. With this construction also, the finger cells of both banks have substantially the same effective diameter, again shown as A, while the center to center distance B, between a cell 48 and a cell 50 is less than effective diameter A. The first and second banks of cells are provided with fluid intake and exhaust ports 52 and 54 respectively, which lead to a pressure system, not shown.
The sectional view of FIG. 4 shows clearly the alignment of the cells, but it is to be noted that the semi-inflation of the cells is for'purposes of clarity only and that the cells would ideally operate under the conditions described in the aforementioned patent.
Thus it will be seen that there is here provided a new and novel pressure support mattress. It is more effective in the reduction of decubitis ulcers by virtue of itsv lower operating pressure and greater cell excursion resulting from the increased diameter of the cells, and v because of the contouring undular surfaces of the cells is more effective in the prevention of leg rotation and heel ulcers than previous types of mattresses. In both of the embodiments shown herein advantageous results are achieved from the provision of cells having center to center distances less than the effective diameter of the cells.
While there have been shown and described what are at present considered to be the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
1. An inflatable body support pad comprising: first and second banks of sequentially expandable cells, each of said banks having a common cell and a plurality of finger cells fluidly communicating with said common cell and extending therefrom, said common cells being spaced apart with the finger cells of said first bank extending toward said common cell of said second bank and said finger cells of said second bank extending toward said common cell of said first bank; said finger cells from said first and second banks each having substantial l y the same effective eter wi a center to center stance, between a ce l rom said irst bank and a cell from said second bank, less than said effective diameter, said inflatable pad being rectangular in configuration and said common cells extending along the long sides of said pad and said finger cells extending parallel to the short sides of said pa 2. The invention of claim 1 wherein said center to center distance is achieved by forming said first and second banks of cells as individual units with substantially identical finger cells and overlying said first bank on said second bank; the edges of the finger cells of said second bank lying on the centerline of the finger cells of said first bank.
3. The invention of claim 1 wherein said center to center distance is achieved by interdigitating the finger cells from said first and second banks; each of the individual finger cells having alternately broad and narrow adjacent areas, said broad and narrow areas on said finger cells from said first bank being interleaved with the broad and narrow areas on said finger cells from said second bank; and means for supplying fluid pressure to said first and second banks of cells.
4. The invention of claim 3 wherein said pad comprises two elongated expandable sheets sealed together at their outer edges to provide upper and lower surfaces for said cells and said cells are formed by a continuous serpentine seal ribbon.
5. The invention of claim 3 wherein said broad and narrow areas of said finger cells have a ratio of about 4:1.
6. The invention of claim 4 wherein said-surfaces of said finger cells are undular when expanded.