US 3741400 A
A generally tubular shaped container includes an expandable head valve member and retaining clip assembly therewithin. On centrifuging the clip is disengaged from the valving member, permitting it to expand toward the inner walls of the container to form two separate compartments, one for the blood cells and one for the serum. During centrifuging, the valve member head is temporarily deformed at its edges an amount sufficient to allow the cells to move therepast, and at the conclusion of centrifuging the head resumes sealing engagement with the container wall. The serum may then be simply poured out of the container for testing.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
O Umted States Patent 1191 1 1 ,4 Dick June 26, 1973 BLOOD SAMPLE CONTAINER Primar Examiner-Robert L. Lindsay, Jr.
J Inventor: J M. Dick, Burlingame Atl0rneyGe0rge J. Nettei' and Kendrick and SUbkOW Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif. 90620  Filed: June 15, 1970  ABSTRACT PP .1 6,168 A generally tubular shaped container includes an expandable head valve member and retaining clip assem- 521 US. c1 210/516, 210/010. 23 433/45 bly therewithincentrifuging the clip is disengaged 511 1111.01 B010 21/26 fmm valving Permitting it expand [58 Field of Search ..210/516-518, Wafd the Walls the 3e1m- 2 0/36 380, I30 DIG. 233/45 rate compartments, one for the blood cells and one for the serum. During centrifuging, the valve member head  References Cited is temporarily deformed at its edges an amount sufficient to allow the cells to move therepast, and at the UNITED STATES PATENTS conclusion of centrifuging the head resumes sealing enz gagement with the container wall. The serum may then aw e a 2,995,253 8/1961 Belgarde et al. 210/130 x be slmply poured out of the container for f 3,300,051 1/1967 Mitchell 210 361 x In a further p thesctubular contamer has 8 3,508,653 4/1970 Coleman 210/516 X spring-loaded valving member disposed at substantially 2,3 8 /19 Wheeler t t t 2l /5l6 the mid-point thereof, in a still further form, filter 3,583,230 6/1971 Patterson 2l0/3 6l X ans are located within a test tube, through which serum can pass, but blood cells cannot.
6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures ,-Z5 3 }Z6 Z0 BLOOD SAMPLE CONTAINER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention pertains generally to containers for blood samples, and, more particularly, to such containers having separate compartments into which serum and blood cells are respectively received during centrifuging.
The frequent practice is for blood samples of a patient to be taken at a doctors office and then transmitted to a laboratory facility where analytical tests are conducted. Prior to transmitting the blood samples to the laboratory, it has been found advantageous to centrifuge the sample for separating the cells from the serum and thereby obtaining serum for test substantially free from cells. In the past, centrifuging has been accomplished by placing a blood sample in a conventional test tube, inserting the tube and sample in the centrifuge, and, after separating the cells from the blood serum, the serum (which is at the upper part) is then poured off, leaving the cells. This essentially hand technique involves a relatively large amount of time on the part of the doctor and/or nurse in the office, which could more profitably, and with benefit to the patient, be spent on other matters.
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION There is'provided in accordance with the practice of the present invention, a blood sample container which on centrifuging automatically separates the blood and serum into separate compartments.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a blood sample container which, after centrifuging to separate the cells from the serum, can be transmitted as is, without further special handling or processing.
In the practice of the present invention there is provided a generally tubular shaped container for the blood sample including an expandable head valve member and retaining clip assembly therewithin into which the whole blood is initially inserted. On centrifuging the clip is disengaged from the valving member, permitting it to expand toward the inner walls of the container to form two separate compartments, a lower one primarily for blood cells and an upper one containing only serum. During centrifuging, the valve member head is temporarily deformed at its edges an amount sufficient to allow the cells to move therepast, and at the conclusion of centrifuging the head resumes sealing engagement with the container wall. The serum'may then be simply poured out of the container for testing.
A further form of the invention includes a tubular container with spring-loaded valving member disposed at substantially the mid-point thereof which is held initially open by means of a detachable clip. On centrifuging, the valving member is held open under the action of centrifugal force to permit the cells tomove to the container bottom, and at the close of centrifuging the valving member closes, separating the serum in the upper compartment from the cells in the lower one. The clip is detached during centrifuging. As in the first form, the serum may be poured out of the container while the cells are retained in the lower compartment.
A still further form of the invention includes a typical test tube with a filter means located midway, through which serum can pass, but blood cells cannot. n centrifuging, the serum is filtered and the cells remain above the filter as residue. At the conclusion of centri fuging, the filter means and residue are removed and discarded, leaving the serum in the tube for testing.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a sectional, elevational view of a centrifuge including blood sample containers of the present invention.
FIG. 2 depicts in perspective view a preferred form of the invention in disassembled form.
FIG. 3 illustrates a sectional, elevational view of the invention as shown in FIG. 2 in assembled form prior to centrifuging.
FIG. 4 is a sectional, elevational view of the blood sample container of FIG. 3, shown immediately after initiation of centrifuging.
FIG. 5 is a sectional, elevational view of a further form of the invention.
FIG. 6 illustrates a retaining clip for use with the invention of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 depicts a still further form of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT It is basic to the subject invention that a container for carrying a sample of blood in accordance with the practice of this invention is to be centrifuged and the serum and blood cells separated thereby with the cells confined to one portion of the container while the serum is confined in another. Also, it is an important advantage of this invention that the container after centrifuging may be readily shipped or mailed to a testing laboratory as is without further special handling or processing by the doctor.
FIG. 1 illustrates a centrifuge 10 of conventional design including a vertically extending axle ll driven by a rotative power source (not shown), located in a support base 12. The upper end of the shaft 11 is secured to two or more radially extending arms 13, the outer ends of which carry suitable receptacles 14 for the blood sample containers 15. An open top bowl-like member 16 conventionally surrounds the entire shaft, arms 13 and blood sample containers 15 as shown. In operation, the power source in the base 12 rotates the shaft and associated apparatus at a high rate of speed which tends to move the more dense blood cells within the blood sample toward the bottom of the blood sample container due to the action of centrifugal force.
Most small-sized centrifuges are designed for use with sample containers in the general shape of a test tube and for that reason the general outward characteristics of the container of this invention will have that same shape. It is to be understood, however, that other external container geometries may be adopted and still be within the spirit of this invention.
Reference is now-made to FIG. 2 and to the detailed construction of a preferred embodiment of the invention in which the main container body consists of a typical glass test tube 15 which may be closed by a conventional rubber or cork stopper 17. A centrifuging valve means identified generally as 18 in exploded form, includes two main parts, a releasable clamp 19 and a gravity actuated valving member 20.
More particularly, the valving member 20 includes a frusto-conical head 21 of circular periphery, which is received on the end of a rod 22 of such length that when the valving member assembly is fully received within the test tube, the head 21 is located at substantively. e r V r The clamp 19 includes aplurality-ofarrns joinedtogether at their ends to form a triangular base enclosing I conical head 21 as shown in FIG. 3 generally. at 26.
I tiall y the midpoint of the test tube long dimension. The
head 21 is constructed of a resilient plastic or rubber which is more dense than the whole blood, blood cells.
i i or serum thereofwhichenables the head to undergo a temporary deformation during centrifugingto produce.
a valving action that willbe described below. The, head diameter is such that in a normal rest condition within" the tube 15, as shown ins olid line depictioninFlGS. l 3 and 4; the head edges sealingly contact the innerwall of the tube in a continuous manner and separate the.
tube into upper and lowerchambers 23 and 24, respeca space through which the rod 22'is received. A plurality of upstanding hooks 25, attached to the base. of the;
clamp 19 extend in the same direction away from the base and are so dimensioned that they can be received about and engage the peripheral margins of the fru sto Prior to insertion of theqvalve means 18 within the like ear 37 is formedfrom the clip body, and a second hooklike ear 38 faceson thesame side of the clip as the first ear; The ear38 is at the end of a leverlarm 39 formed fromithe clip body and bent such that inthe relaxed state the ear 38.is retracted below theclip body surface as shown in FIG. 6. i I i i In. use the clip 36 mounted onto the spring 34 by 1 1 forcing the ear 38throug'h the openingin the clip body wall and with both ears then extending onthesame side f of the clip the earsrretaininglyengage thespringloops holding thespring partially coiled as illustratedin FIG.
5. The entire valve assembly 27 is then inserted into the tube 15, with the valvej initially held in the opencondi: v tionby the clip sane whole blood sample fills the lower chamber 29 and substantially all of chamber 28.
On centrifuging otthe sample, the ball closure mernber 35 further. compresses the spring 34 disengaging tube 15, the clamp 19 is engaged with th'e'head 2 1,
which moves the head margins inwardly a sufficient amount so thattheentire assembly means may be readily inserted into the test tube 15. That is, the clamp the test tube, whereas, as was indicated above, the at rest, unclamped diameter of the head 21 is slightly larger than the test tube cavity in order to permit sealing engagement with the test tube inner wall.
In use, the assembly 18with the clamp 19clonstrict- 3 ing the head 21 is'inserted into the tube and the blood sample to be centrifuged isplaced in the tube l filling A still further embodiment is that shown in 7 i lateral dimensions are less than the inner diameter of 1 theretaining clip which falls to the side. At the conclusion of centrifugingthe spring, which is now freeof the retaining Clip, seats the ball 35 within the opening seal- .ing the lower chamber 29 lcontaining blood'cells from ,the upper chamber 28 containing only serum. i
which relies on a filter for maintaining separation of the cells and serum. An annular member 46 has an outer diameter closely approximating theinnerldiarneter of the test tube'15. A porous filter element 40 is received within thev central opening of 39 andseats against a shoulder 4l, thereof. The filter elementisso'constructed astopermit serum to pass through while 're-r stricting the passageof blood cells. A plurality of elon chamber 23 and substantially all of chamber 24. The in tube is then placed in the centrifuge. During centrifuging the clamp 19 moves from a position of headengage ment shown in FIG. 3 to alower position asshown in FIG. 4, due to the'forceexerted thereon. Also, at this i time the" centrifugalforce deforms the margins ofthe resilient head inwardly to the dotted line position in. FIG. 4,=which permits the more dense blood cells to move to the lower chamber 24 'of the tube. The latter process continues until substantially all the cells have been centrifugedto the bottom chamber of the tube, at which time the centrifuge is'stopped. In the rest position the marginaledges of the head 21 reassume sealing contact with the inner walls of the tube 15 and the entire blood sample container may be simply removed from the centrifuge as is and sent to a laboratory by messenger or mail, asdesired, without handling or processing.
FIG. 5 depicts an alternate form of thisinvention including'a spring operated valve means27 for'separating the test tube 15 into an upper compartment 28 for serum and a lower one 29 for blood cells. The valve means comprises an annularvalve member 30 with a tapered opening 31, which member closely fitswithin further special umized and the blood sampleis emptieddirectly into g the test tube bore. A plurality of rodlike supports 32 in- 1 v terconnect the valve member 30 anda disclike pedestal 33. Within the space defined by the supports 32 a coil spring 34 has one end engaging the pedestal upper surface and its end contacting a ball closure member 35 of such diameter thatwhen received within the opening 31 it closes the same. When the spring is uninhibited, it seats the ball 35 within the opening 31.
A generally flat, elongated retaining clip 36 isconstructed of a springlike metal or plastic. A first hook- I gatedsupports 42 are affixedto the lower surface of the 7 member 39 and extend downwardly therefrom to terminate ata common junctionor pedestal 43. A retract;
ing means 44 is secured to the upper annular surface and terminatesin an eyelet 45.
ended device (not shownfinserted into'eyelet 45,1114:
entire filtering mechanismjis removed During such removaL due tothe close fit of the tube and annular" member 39, the cells are also'removed and the tube inner walls wiped clean,.leavin g the serum for testing.
Although not intendedto be limitative on the present invention, inthe usual case the containers ISare vacu the container from tlie'hypodermic via itsneedle. This is especially advantageous in the use of thefilter device of FIG. 7, since the low pressure below the filter element will tend to draw: the serum through the filter,
thereby reducing; if not eliminating the centrifuging; I
Iclaimr I Container apparatus actuatable by centrifuging force to segregate materials of'differing density com- I posing a liquid sample carried thereby, comprising in combination: a test tube; a support rod; a pliable sealing member received onto one end of the support rod, saidsealing member having transv v 6 verse dimensions greater than the test tube inner in a compressed state. diameter; and 4. A fluid sample container adapted for receipt a clip received onto the support rod and including within a centrifuge, comprising in combination:
clasps for engaging the sealing member margins test tube container means having an open end and a from the rod side and constricting them inwardly; 5 closed end; and said rod, sealing member and clip being received force actuated valve means carried within said conwithin the test tube with the rod engaging the tube tainer means, said valve means including, bottom whereby during centrifuging the clip is a resiliently deformable head element of dimenforced off the sealing member and the sealing sions slightly exceeding those of the container member edges are bent toward the tube bottom al- 10 means transverse internal cavity received within lowing denser materials of the liquid sample to said container means, and pass. I support means connected to said head element and 2. Container apparatus actuatable during centrifugresting on the inner closed end of said container ing for separating blood cells from serum composing a means for holding the head element spaced from blood sample carried thereby, comprising in combinasaid container means closed end, the peripheral tion: margins of said head element deforming during a test tube; centrifuging to allow suspended materials in the a disc valve seat fittingly received within the test tube fluid sample to pass into the container means and including an opening passing therethrough; cavity between said head element and said consupport members connected to the valve seat and extainer meand closed end.-
tending downwardly in the tube; 5. A fluid sample container as in claim 5, in which the pedestal means secured to the lower ends of said suphead element is of frusto-conical shape, the convex port members; part thereof facing toward the container means open a coil spring having one end engaging the pedestal end.
means and extending upwardly toward the valve 6. A fluid sample container as in claim 5, in which a seat; and retaining clip is clampingly received onto the head elea closure member actuated by the free end of the ment deforming the element edge margins sufficiently spring to close the opening in the valve seat when to allow the fluid sample to pass around said margins the spring is in a relaxed state. into the lower reaches of said container means, said 3. Container apparatus as in claim 2, in which there clip being disengaged from said head element by the is further provided clip means for engaging selected centrifuging force. 1 loops of said spring for maintaining the spring initially