US 3726275 A
Nasal cannulae are formed of two flexible narine tubes which are permanently bent near their outlet ends and fixed together at the bends in a cross-over arrangement that creates a nares entrance unit without use of a bridge member or similar tube holding means. Such nasal cannulae are extremely light and inconspicuous providing maximum comfort during use for administration of oxygen or other gas into the nares of a person.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Jackson et a].
[ 51 Apr. 10, 1973 NASAL CANNULAE  Inventors: Isaac S. Jackson, Hook Road, Greenwich; David S. Sheridan, RFD No. 3, Argyle, both of NY. 12809  Assignee: said Jackson to said Sheridan  Filed: Dec. 14, 1971  Appl. No.: 207,930
52 U.S.Cl. ..l28/206 s1 Int.Cl. ..A61m 15/08  FieldofSearch ..128/206,207,l4ON,
128/348, 350, I98, 199, 200, I85, 250, 342, 142.3, 145.5; 138/111, 112, I13, 114, 115,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,735,432 2/1956 Hudson 128/206 X 2,931,358 4/1960 Sheridan 128/206 3,400,714 9/ 1968 Sheridan 128/206 3,643,660 2/ 1972 Hudson l 28/ 206 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 79 l ,798 l2/ I 935 France 128/206 98,119 2/1940 Sweden 128/ I98 Primary Examiner-Richard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-Lee S. Cohen Attorney-Solon B. Kemon et a1.
 ABSTRACT Nasal cannulae are formed of two flexible narine tubes which are permanently bent near their outlet ends and fixed together at the bends in a cross-over arrangement that creates a nares entrance unit without use of a bridge member or similar tube holding means. Such nasal cannulae are extremely light and inconspicuous providing maximum comfort during use for administration of oxygen or other gas into the nares of a per- 4 Chins, 6 Drawing Figures NASAL CANNULAE BACKGROUND OF THE lNVENTlON 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to nasal cannulae to be used in administering oxygen or other gases to persons via their nostrils. More particularly, it concerns nasal cannulae made of plastic materials that are light, inconspicuous, and inherently form fitting.
2. Description of the Prior Art Certain ailments of people, e.g., lung emphysema, may require inhaling of oxygen by the afflicted person over extended periods of time. Also, there are numerous occasions where bed-ridden patients in hospitals, nursing homes, etc. require extended administration of oxygen or other gases to sustain the patients breathing or for some other medical purpose. Various methods and apparatus are available to accomplish such gas administration. In order to mitigate discomfort of the person receiving gas administration over long periods, there has been extensive development of socalled nasal cannulae, e.g., see U.S. Pats. Nos. 2,499,650; 2,663,297 and 2,735,432. Such devices are not only used with bed'ridden cases, but also ambulatory cases, e.g., see U.S. Pat. No. 3,400,712.
In the nasal cannulae, there is some means to direct a stream of gas into the nares of the person requiring gas. This may be merely two holes in a section of tubing, but usually such means comprises a pair of tubes or nozzles that project into the nares. Such tubes may be of preformed shape or may include metal inserts, etc. to provide a desired shape, e.g., see U.S. Pats. Nos. 2,693,800 and 3,513,844. Frequently, the nasal cannula includes a bridge member to hold the narine tubes apart for nares insertion and the arrangement of the narine tubes and the bridge member may permit adjustment of tube spacing, etc., e.g., see U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,931,358 and 3,172,407. Such cannulae may include other features to improve patient comfort or effectiveness of the device such as flared ends of the narine tubes to modify gas flow, e.g., see U.S. Pat. No. 3,400,714.
In spite of the numerous developments in nasal cannulae such as those described above and others, further improvements in these devices are needed. Since existing nasal cannulae tend to be heavy and relatively unyielding to facial shapes and movements, they become annoying to the wearer when used over any extended period of time. Also, their bulk makes then conspicuous and this adds to the annoyance of the user. Hence, a need exists for nasal cannulae that will be fully effective for the administration of gas to persons while being extremely light in weight, form fitting, inconspicuous and relatively highly comfortable.
OBJECTS A principle object of this invention is the provision of improved forms of nasal cannulae. Further objects in clude the provision of:
l. Nasal cannulae which are inconspicuous when upon the face of a user, comfortable and inherently form fitting.
2. Nasal cannulae that do not require a separate nares bridge member or equivalent member.
3. Such nasal cannulae that are extremely light in weight because they involve a minimum of parts.
4. Nasal cannulae that can be made so inexpensively they may be treated as disposable, single-user items.
Other objects and further scope of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the de-tailed description given hereinafter; it should be understood, however, that the detailed description, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, is given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description. It should also be understood the foregoing abstract of the disclosure is for the purpose of providing a non-legal brief statement to serve as a searching-scanning tool for scientists, engineers and researchers and is not intended to limit the scope of the invention as disclosed herein nor is it intended it should be used in interpreting or in any way limiting the scope or fair meaning of the appended claims.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The foregoing objects are accomplished according to the present invention, in part, by forming nasal cannulae from a pair of narine tubes made of flexible plastic material with the tubes near the outlet end fixed in a cross-over arrangement so that the tube which would project into the left nostril of a user will pass across the right side of the face of the user and, conversely, the tube which will project into the right nostril of the user will pass across the left portion of the face of the user. Such an arrangement can be attained by creating a permanent bend in each tube about 2 cm. from the outlet end, the bend in the tube being sufficient so that the portion of the tube between the bend and the outlet end forms an angle of about or less with the longitudinal axis of the tube. The narines tubes are fixed together in the region of said permanent bend, preferably by encircling the tubes at this point with a small ring of plastic and cementing the tubes to such ring.
The inlet end of the tubes will be joined for fluid flow to a tubing connector. Preferably, the tubing connector will be formed, such as by injection molding, from rigid plastic to include a male connector on one end and a pair of tubing sockets at the other end into which the inlet ends of the two flexible narine tubes are cemented. The only other component of the new nasal cannulae is a small plastic ring or sleeve slidably encircling the pair of narines tubes so that it may be moved to any desired position between the tubing connector and the cross-over portion of the narine tubes. Consequently, the new nasal cannulae are formed of a minimum of parts so as to be extremely light and relatively inconspicuous when positioned on the head of a user.
Success of the present invention is due, in part, to the discovery that a cross-over arrangement as described above provides a positioning of the nostril projection portions of a nasal cannulae which is inherently form fitting. This is accomplished without the use of a bridge member or similar holder which has been employed in prior known devices for obtaining the necessary position in the narines tubes for satisfactory projection into the nares of a user. In contrast to such prior devices involving bridge members, the cross-over arrangement of the narine tubes of the new nasal cannulae have an inherent form fitting feature which is relatively yielding to facial shapes and movements of different users. This permits the wearer to talk, eat, smile and make other facial movements without annoyance and without substantial disturbance to the appearance of the wearer. The flexibility of the assembly of the new cannulae allow them to conform without any annoying pressure points upon the face or nares region of the wearer.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING A more complete understanding of the improved nasal cannulae of the invention and of their method of use may be had by reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is an elevational front view of a nasal cannulae of the invention positioned upon the face ofa wearer.
FIG. 2 is an elevational side view comparable to FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a plan view, partially broken away, of one of the new nasal cannulae shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a side view, partially broken away, of the cannulae of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary front elevational view of the outlet end portion of the cannulae of FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary bottom view of the portion of the cannulae shown in FIG. 5.
Referring in detail to the drawings, the nasal cannulae 2 comprises a pair of narine tubes 4 and 6, a tubing connector 8 and a ring slide 10.
The outlet end 12 of tube 4 has a smoothly rounded periphery 14 that defines a plane that intersects the bore of the tube 4 at an angle. The outlet end 16 of tube 6 similarly has a smoothly rounded periphery 18 which also intersects the bore of the tube at an angle. However, it is possible, if desired, to have the peripheries l4 and 18 of the tubes 4 and 6, respectively, square with the bore of the tubes.
A permanent bend is formed in each of the narine tubes 4 and 6 about two cm. from their outlet ends 12 and 16 respectively. Although the tubes 4 and 6 are formed of relatively flexible plastic material so that the tubes can normally be flexed to conform to desired shapes, the tubes do have a tendency to remain in a relatively straight longitudinally extended position. A bend 20 in tube 4 and similar bend 22 in tube 6, however, can be relatively permanently formed in the tubes such as by manipulation of the tube while it is heated in that portion in which the bend is desired, by application of solvent or in other ways known to those skilled in the art of fabrication of flexible plastic tubing. The portion 28 of tube 6 beyond bend 22 is longer than portion 26 of tube 4 by the diameter of tube 4 so that when the tubes are crossed (see FIG. 5) the outlet ends 12 and 16 will be even.
Tubes 4 and 6 are fixed together at the bends 20 and 22 in some suitable manner, such as by cementing, solvent welding or the like. Preferably, a narrow ring of plastic material 24 will encircle the tubes 4 and 6 at the bends 20 and 22 respectively and this plastic ring will be cemented to the tubes 4 and 6 at this point. The only fixed part of the assembly is at the cross-over points of the tubes 4 and 6 where they and the ring 24 are joined together. As a result, movement of tubes 4 and 6 about the cross-over point and the outlet end portions 12 and 16 is possible. This allows the tubes 4 and 6 and the portions 26 and 28 respectively, which in use project into the nostrils of a wearer, to readily conform to the nares of the user and to the shape of the wearers face. Consequently, the new nasal cannulae can move substantially unrestrictedly with the face and head movements of the wearer. The cross-over arrangement of the tubes 4 and 6 as described has an inherent form fitting feature due to the fact that the only fixed part of the assembly is where the tubes cross at the ring 24.
It will be apparent in the embodiment of the invention in which the peripheries l4 and 18 of the tubes 4 and 6 form an acute angle with the bores of the tubes, there is a right and left hand arrangement between the tubes 4 and 6. Thus, when the new nasal cannulae is positioned upon the face of the wearer 30, the slanted periphery 14 of the tube 4 will extend inwardly relative to the nares of the wearer 30 (see FIG. 5). The tubing portion 26 of the tube 4 will project into the right nostril of the wearer 30 while the portion of the tube 4 which is distal of the ring 24 will pass across the left side of the face of the wearer. Similarly, the slanted periphery 18 of tubing 6 will face inwardly relative to the nares with portion 28 projecting into the left nostril of the wearer while the adjacent section of tube 6 distal of the ring 24 will pass across the right portion of the face of the wearer.
Referring to FIG. 4, the tube portion 26 extends outwardly at an acute angle, e.g., between about 20-85, relative to tubes 4 and 6. The portion 28 of the other tube 6 also extends outwardly at a similar angle. Preferred results are obtained when this angle is between 35 and 45.
As can be seen from the FIGS. 1 and 2, new nasal cannulae of the invention can fit close under the nares of a user and the portions of tubes 4 and 6 which pass across the face of the wearer will rest high on the cheekbones. This provides a comfortable and inconspicuous positioning of the cannula.
The ring or slide 10 can be adjusted in any suitable position along with the tubes 4 and 6 to provide freedom of movement of the jaw and head of the wearer. Advantageously, the plastic rings 10 and 24 may be cut from plastic tubing compounded from flexible plastic material identical with or similar to that used to form extruded tubes 4 and 6. Alternatively, the rings 10 and 24 could be molded or otherwise shaped from flexible or rigid plastic material, rubber or the like. It is advantageous, however, to have ring 24 made of substantially the same material as tubes 4 and 6 so that good connection can be made between them at the bends in tubes 4 and 6 by means of solvent welding, cementing or the like. Plasticized vinyl chloride polymer is a preferred material from which to fabricate tubes 4 and 6 and rings 10 and 24, but other flexible thermoplastics can be used, e.g., polyethylene, polypropylene and the like.
The tubing connector 8 is preferably injection molded from rigid plastic material to have a male connector 32 at one end and a pair of tubing sockets 34 and 36 at the other end into which the inlet ends 38 and 40 of tubes 4 and 6 respectively are fitted and, preferably, cemented. Nylon, polycarbonate resin, polystyrene or the like are suitable thermoplastics from which to mold the tubing connector.
In use, a nasal cannula of the invention can be positioned on the head of a wearer as shown in W68. 1 and 2. When so used, the nares tubes 4 and 6 pass across the side of the face, over the ears and then down below the jaw and in front of the throat of the wearer. The tubing connector 8 will be joined to a single gas conveying tube which in turn will be connected to a source of oxygen or other gas required for the treatment or medical procedure being applied to the wearer of the cannula. In an alternative method of positioning a cannula on the head of the patient, the pair of nares tubes can pass over the ears to the back of the head of the wearer. In this case, the ring or band 10 will be moved along the tubes 4 and 6 to the back of the head of the wearer.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or right is claimed are defined as follows:
ll. A nasal cannula comprising a pair of narine tubes made of flexible plasticized vinyl chloride polymer comprising inlet and outlet ends, said tubes being fitted at their inlet ends to a tubing connector molded of rigid plastic material having a male connector member on one end and a pair of sockets on the other end into which the inlet ends of said narine tubes are fixed, the periphery of the outlet end of each tube of said pair being smoothly rounded, one of said tubes being permanently bent a short distance from said outlet end at an acute angle to the longitudinal axis of the tube forming a first nares insertion member, the other of said tubes being similarly bent at its outlet end forming a second nares insertion member, said tubes being fixed together in cross-over arrangement at the position of said permanent bends by a ring of plastic material that encircles said tubes at said position, said ring being cemented to both said tubes with said ring and said insertion members substantially parallel to each other and a plastic ring that slidably encircles said pair of tubes between said tubing connector and said fixed together position.
2. A nasal cannula as claimed in claim 1 wherein the opening of the outlet end of each of said tubes is flared.
3. A nasal cannula as claimed in claim 1 wherein said first and second nares insertion members extend outwardly at an angle between about 35 and 45 relative to the plane defined by the longitudinal axis of said tubes proximal to the bends in said tubes.
4. A nasal cannula as claimed in claim 1 wherein said periphery of the outlet end of each tube defines a plane that is at an angle to the bore of the tube.