US 3705576 A
An incubator has a reflecting plastic sheet overlying the transparent plastic dome of an infant sheltering chamber which has a clear plastic bottom that defines a partition wall for an underneath irradiation chamber that is environmentally isolated from the rest of the incubator and in which a bank of fluorescent lamps is operatively disposed so as to irradiate the infant sheltering chamber from below with the irradiation chamber being continually flushed with fresh air to dissipate heat from the lamps and eliminate explosion hazards.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 151 3,705,576 Roth [4 1 Dec. 12, 1972 i541 INCUBATORS FOR INFANTS FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1 lnvemon Wilfred Roth, Burlington. 1.094.444 11/1953 France ..l28/l B  Assignee: Research Corporation, New York,
NY. Primary Examiner-Richard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-G. F. Dunne  led: 1970 Attorney-Stowell & Stowell ] Appl. No.: 75,571
 ABSTRACT  U.S. Cl. ..l28l1 B, l28/37l, 250/51 An incubator has a reflecting plastic sheet overlying  Int. Cl. ..A61m 16/02, A6ln 5/01 the transparent plastic dome of an infant sheltering Field of Search l chamber which has a clear plastic bottom that defines l28/ 5, 51, 77 a partition wall for an underneath irradiation chamber that is environmentally isolated from the rest of the in- Rem'mces cubator and in which a bank of fluorescent lamps is UNITED STATES PATENTS operatively disposed so as to irradiate the infant sheltering chamber from below with the irradiation Ott et al chamber being coxninually flushed with fresh air to 2,822,476 2/1958 Osgood ..250/5l dissipate heat from the lamps and enminate exp|osion 2,559,654 7/1951 Netteland ..l28/37l x 2,662,52l 12/1953 Armstrong et a1. ..l28/1 B 3,447,892 6/1969 Watson et al ..250/5l X 10 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTEU BIC 12 1922 SHEET 1 BF 3 INVENTOR WI LF RED ROTH BY W W ATTORNEY! PATENTEDBEBIZ m2 3705576 SHEEI 3 OF 3 m as w E g i; g
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INVENTOR W ILFRED ROTH BY jjfz/ 551M ATTORNEY;
INCUBATORS FOR INFANTS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention generally appertains to new and novel improvements in incubators and, more particularly, is directed to a new and novel incubator that is particularly constructed and adapted for the sheltering and care of prematurely born infants.
2. Description of the Prior Art In accordance with commonly practiced obstetric and pediatric practices a prematurely born infant is placed in an incubator as a routine matter of precautionary care because in such sheltered area the infant can be kept under controlled conditions especially with regard to atmosphere, humidity and temperature. However, in many instances premature infants have medical conditions that must be handled on different bases and these present problems. One such conditions is the presence in premature infants of bilirubinemia which, in its milder form, is a jaundice producing liver condition.
It has been discovered that a reduction in bilirubinemia in premature infants can be realized when the infant is irradiated with light from fluorescent lamps. In present practice, an infants incubator, such as a conventional "isolette" incubator, is positioned on the nursery floor so that it underlies a standard ceilingmounted fluorescent lamp fixture. In this way the fluorescent lamp irradiates the infant from above with the light rays passing down through the transparent plastic dome or top enclosure of the incubator.
Such an arrangement is a make-shift one that is cumbersome since the incubator has to be placed at a particular place on the floor of the nursery so that it is directly beneath the fluorescent fixture. Further, since the light level on the infant has to be high, on the order of 300 to 400 foot candles, the general illumination around the incubator from the fluorescent lamp fixture must also be high.
In addition, the entire procedure depends upon the existence of fluorescent light fixtures and the physical ability to maneuver the incubator into proper position beneath the fluorescent lamp and even then only part of the infant-s body can receive the illumination.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION With knowledge of the medicinal value of irradiating premature infants with light rays from fluorescent lamps and with recognition of the difficulties of accomplishing such under present conditions, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an incubator wherein the infant's entire body surface can be bathed with fluorescent lamp illumination in a safe and continual manner with the incubator itself serving as a source area for the fluorescent illumination.
Generally considered, the infants incubator is constructed so that it houses a plurality of fluorescent lamps that irradiate the main incubator section or infant sheltering chamber. The lamps are disposed in a coplanar bank in an irradiation chamber beneath the infant sheltering chamber and environmentally isolated therefrom so that the temperature, relative humidity and oxygen percentages of the infant sheltering chamber or main incubator section can be controlled in the conventional manner.
The two chambers are separated by a clear plastic fluorescent ray permeable partition on which a waffletype clear plastic fluorescent ray permeable mattress is disposed. The plastic mattress is formed so that it resembles a plastic waffle in which each projection is filled with air. The waffle-type plastic mattress generally permits the free circulation of air about the skin of the infant and the mattress.
The high level of fluorescent illumination produced by the lamps is multiply-reflected within the main incubator section or infant sheltering chamber into which it freely passes through the plastic mattress and partition by virtue of a reflecting plastic sheet which entirely overlies the conventional clear plastic dome of the incubator. Because of the multiply-reflecting arrangement within the infant sheltering chamber and the primary illumination source below such chamber, I00 percent of the infants surface will continually receive illumination.
In order to dissipate heat from the multiplicity of fluorescent lamps mounted coplanary within the irradiation chamber, a motor driven fan is disposed in a cabinet below the irradiation chamber and the fan is connected to air conduits that open into one end of the irradiation chamber with the opposite end having an air exhaust opening. Thus, the irradiation chamber is continually flushed with fresh air not only to dissipate the heat from the lamps but also to eliminate high oxygen concentrations that might otherwise constitute an explosion hazard.
Within the bottom cabinet that has servicing openings closed by doors, storage compartments for transformers and starters for the lamps are provided with the thusly stored transformers and starters being connected by sheathed wiring to the lamp sockets.
Accordingly, a further important object of the present invention is to provide a safe and accident free arrangement whereby the entire body surface of a sheltered infant can receive illumination from florescent lamps.
A still further important object of the present invention is to provide a simple, compact and relatively inexpensive incubator wherein infants can be irradiated with light from a primary source of fluorescent rays conveniently and expeditiously carried by the incubator.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view of an infants incubator constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view thereof with portions of the dome removed to illustrate interior constructions relating to the lamp arrangement and the air flow directing means.
FIG. 3 is a horizontal cross-sectional view taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary detailed sectional view of the dome and overlying reflecting plastic sheet and is taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 2 and illustrating the mattress on the plastic partition.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now more particularly to the accompanying drawings, the infant incubator comprises a rectangular box-like base cabinet or housing 12 having a bottom wall 14 provided with caster wheels 16. The base cabinet 12 has opposing end walls 18, a back wall 20 provided with a screened vent 22 and a front wall 24 provided with access openings 26 that are adapted to be closed off by hinged doors 28. The base cabinet 12 serves as a movable base support for the main incubator section 30 and as a storage area for purposes and in a manner to be described.
The base cabinet 12 has a top wall 32 which is formed with a large centrally disposed rectangular opening 34. The opposing ends of the opening are bounded by end sections 36 of the top wall and vertical plates 38 upstand from the end sections perpendicular to the opening 34 and define in their longitudinally spaced parallel relation vertical abutment plates at the ends of the opening 34. Socket bars 40 and 42 are mounted along the opposing side edges of the opening so as to receive and support fluorescent tubes 44 that are arranged in a coplanar horizontal bank within the opening with the tubes being disposed transversely of the opening and in longitudinally spaced apart parallel relation.
A clear plastic flat rectangular panel 46 overlies the tubes 44 and closes off the opening so that it serves as a bottom wall for the infant sheltering chamber 48 and as a top wall for the underlying irradiation chamber 50 in which the lamps 44 are positioned. The opposing ends of the partition panel 46 engage the vertical plates 38 so that the infant sheltering chamber 48 is environmem tally isolated by the top wall 32 and its sections 36 and by the panel 46 from the irradiation chamber whereby the temperature, relative humidity and oxygen percentages of the infant sheltering chamber 48 can be controlled in the usual manner.
The partition panel 46 is of suitable transparent fluorescent ray permeable plastic material and forms the bottom wall of the infant sheltering section 48 which is enclosed by a rectangular shell-like dome 52 formed of relatively hard clear plastic material, such as clear acrylic resin, Lucite or the like transparent material. The open bottom of the dome 52 is sleeved over the top portion of the base cabinet 12 which has its end, front and rear walls formed with a stop shoulder 54 on which the lower edges of the side and end walls of the dome seat, as shown in FIG. I.
The dome has its front wall 56 formed with circular apertures 58 of a size to accommodate the hands and arms of attendants with conventional transparent closures 60 being provided for closing off the openings. The dome may also be provided with and carry or support the usual control arrangements and treating devices for an infant within the sheltering chamber 48.
The base cabinet 12 is provided with shelves 62 that support a bank of transformers 64 and a bank of starters 66 which are connected by wires 68 to the sockets for the tubes 44. Suitable cables 70 are sheathed over the wiring and are connected to a large vertically arranged conduit 72 which conveys the wires to the socket bars 40 and 42. A toggle on-off switch 73 is connected to the wiring and mounted on the end wall, as shown in FIG. 2.
In order to dissipate heat from the lamps 44 and to eliminate high oxygen concentrations, means are provided for continually flushing the irradiation chamber 50 with fresh air and for directing such ambient air across and over the lamps 44 from one end of the chamber 50 to the other end. Such air flushing and directing means includes a fan and motor 74 arranged in the bottom of the base cabinet adjacent one end thereof. The fan is connected to a vertically disposed air duct 76 which has its upper end opening into an air inlet 78 below one end of the bank of fluorescent tubes, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The other end of the irradiation chamber is provided with an air exhaust aperture 80 opening through the upper portion of the rear wall of the base cabinet with the rear wall of the dome having an opening in registry with the aperture 80.
The high level of fluorescent illumination produced by the lamps 44 and passing through the fluorescent ray permeable partition 46 into the infant sheltering chamber 48 is multiply-reflected within the sheltering chamber 48 by virtue of a reflecting plastic sheet or film 82 placed over the outside or on the inside of the dome 52. Thus, although the illumination within the infant sheltering chamber 48 is high, only a small portion, approximately 18 percent. of this is transmitted through the dome to the outside. By virtue of the mul tiply-reflecting process within the infant sheltering chamber 48 and the primary illumination source below such infant sheltering chamber 48, I00 percent of the surface of an infant lying within the sheltering chamber 48 will be bathed with illumination. Satisfactory results may be obtained using, for example, Scotch-tint solar control film which provides for high reflectivity in a transparent plastic film.
To assure maximum illumination of the underside of the infant, a waffle-type clear plastic material mattress 84 is placed on the partition panel 46 to directly support the infant. The mattress is formed so that it resembles a plastic waffle in which each projection is filled with air. The mattress can have different waffle sizes so that the resilience of the mattress can be controlled. Since air can circulate freely between the projections, it can be appreciated that the skin of the lying infant will not be adversely affected.
It is believed, in the light of the foregoing description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, that the manner of use and operation of the incubator or infant treating device 10 will be obvious so that a detailed description of such use and operation will not be given.
However, it is to be understood that various changes may be made. For example, instead of using the tubes 44 as the fluorescent light source, ring-type fluorescent illuminating lamps may be used. Further, as a replacement for the reflecting plastic film, the dome itself can be made reflecting by, for example silvering or half-silvering the outside or the inside surface. Thus, the invention is only to be limited by the scope and spirit of the appended claims and is not to be restricted by the description, Abstract of the Disclosure or the drawings.
What is claimed is:
I. An incubator for treating newborn infants afflicted with bilirubin by disintegrating the same from the in- IOIOSl 046 fants blood stream with fluorescent light rays comprising an infant sheltering chamber having a bottom wall of fluorescent ray permeable material, a top wall and vertical wall means connecting the bottom and top walls. means for controlling the environment within said infant sheltering chamber, means underlying the bottom wall of said infant sheltering chamber for producing a high level of fluorescent illumination within said infant sheltering chamber and means surrounding the top and vertical wall means of said infant sheltering chamber for multiple-reflecting within the infant sheltering chamber for fluorescent illumination so that the entire surface of the body of an infant within the sheltering chamber is continuously and thoroughly bathed with fluorescent illumination rays.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein a waffle-type air mattress of fluorescent ray permeable material is positioned on the bottom wall of said infant sheltering chamber to directly support the body of the infant in a way so that the fluorescent light rays pass therethrough into the infant sheltering chamber and so that air can circulate freely around the lying infant.
3. The device of claim 1 wherein said means for producing the fluorescent illumination includes a bank of fluorescent tubes disposed in a coplanar horizontal arrangement below the bottom wall of the infant sheltering chamber.
4. The device of claim I wherein an irradiation chamber underlies the infant sheltering chamber and is environmentally isolated therefrom and in which the means for producing the fluorescent illumination is enclosedly housed, said bottom wall of the infant sheltering chamber providing a top wall for the irradiation chamber and air tightly separating said chambers so that separate and distinct conditions can exist in the chambers.
5. The device of claim 4 wherein said means for producing the fluorescent illumination includes a mul tiplicity of fluorescent tubes operatively housed in the irradiation chamber in an enclosed manner below the bottom wall of the infant sheltering chamber.
6. The device of claim 1 wherein said top wall and vertical wall means of the infant sheltering chamber are transparent and said reflecting means includes a reflecting transparent plastic sheet completely overlying and covering the top wall and vertical wall means.
7. The device of claim 5 wherein means is provided for continually flushing the irradiation chamber with fresh air.
8. The device of claim 7 wherein said chambers are mounted on a base cabinet having ground engaging wheels.
9. The device of claim 8 wherein said air flushing means includes a fan and motor mounted within the base cabinet and means in communication therewith for establishing a flow path for air across and over the fluorescent tubes.
10. The device of claim 8 wherein transformers and starters for the fluorescent tubes are housed in the base cabinet and means is provided for connecting them with the tubes.