US 3747595 A
A throat irrigator including a conduit, with an outer end for fluid connection to an open end of a flexible hose from a source of pulsating pressurized fluid; with an inner nozzle directed substantially perpendicularly to the conduit axis for discharging a pulsating stream of fluid; and with a pair of symmetrically disposed outwardly concave curved surfaces formed on upper and lower longitudinally bowed plates or on a block on the conduit adjacent the nozzle end whereby, upon insertion of the irrigator into the mouth, the lower curved surface rests on the crown of the tongue to depress it, while the upper curved surface serves as a seat or rest for the thumb or finger of the user, to facilitate pivotal movement of the nozzle during jetting discharge of the fluid therefrom toward the side of the throat for washing a tonsil or other area of the throat.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Grossan 1 July 24, 1973 JET THROAT IRRIGATION  Inventor: Murray Grossan, 8930 Sepulveda Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif. 90045  Filed: June 18, 1971  Appl. No.: 154,557
Primary Examiner-Lawrence W. Trapp Attorney Miketta, Glenny, Poms & Smith  ABSTRACT A throat irrigator including a conduit, with an outer end for fluid connection to an open end of a flexible hose from a source of pulsating pressurized fluid; with an inner nozzle directed substantially perpendicularly to the conduit axis for discharging a pulsating stream of fluid; and with a pair of symmetrically disposed outwardly concave curved surfaces formed on upper and lower longitudinally bowed plates or on a block on the conduit adjacent the nozzle end whereby, upon insertion of the irrigator into the mouth, the lower curved surface rests on the crown of the tongue to depress it, while the upper curved surface serves as a seat or rest for the thumb or finger of the user, to facilitate pivotal movement of the nozzle during jetting discharge of the fluid therefrom toward the side of the throat for washing a tonsil or other area of the throat.
8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures Patented July24, 1973 3,747,595
I/vvE/vToe Mueem Ge oszsnxv JET THROAT IRRIGATION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to medical instruments and more particularly to a throat irrigator for fluid connection to a source of pulsating pressurized fluid to provide fluid for discharge from the irrigator to wash tonsils and adjacent areas of the throat.
Until recently, the standard treatment for inflamed tonsils (commonly called tonsillitis or, more accurately, acute follicular tonsillitis, epidemic streptococcic tonsillitis and chronic tonsillitis) was to remove the tonsils surgically by performing a tonsillectomy. Recently, the advisability of tonsillectomies in many cases of inflamed tonsils has been questioned, and other methods of treating inflamed tonsils are now being used. One method currently being used is to treat the inflamed tonsil with antibiotics. However, this method is not always totally effective because some of the bacteria which cause tonsillitis have developed a resistance to these antibiotics. Additionally, the use of antibiotics for the treatment of relatively minor ailments such as tonsillitis is discouraged because there is evidence that the widespread use of antibiotics to treat minor ailments develops bacteria which are immune to antibiotics, making the antibiotics less effective when needed for treating more serious ailments.
The bacteria that cause tonsillitis are not only in the tonsil tissue, but are located on the surface of the tonsils as well. The surface of a typical tonsil is composed of from 12 to crypts or openings which are many times, and quite normally, plugged with visible debris or pus. It is in these openings or crypts that the bacteria lodge to inflame the tonsils, and cause tonsillitis. Any bacteria in the tonsil crypts may be removed therefrom simply by washing the tonsil.
A common method of treatment of tonsillitis before the availability of antibiotics and anesthetics made tonsillectomies customary prescribed washing of the inflamed tonsils. Generally the washing method of treating tonsillitis included the steps of filling a suitable con- ,tainer such as a douche bag with a saline solution, inserting a hose from the bag into the mouth, holding the bag over the head, and directing the stream of the saline solution onto the inflamed tonsil to wash the debris, pus and bacteria from the crypts. In order to prevent the saline solution from choking the patient or from being swallowed, the head of the patient was usually positioned horizontally over a basin, allowing the solution and the debris or pus and bacteria to drain downwardly through the open mouth into the basin. This method of treatment has been fairly effective, but the supply ofsaline solution held in a suitable container such as a douche bag was limited, and the steady stream of solution against the inflamed tonsil wasted much of the solution. Many times the washing had to be repeated several times a day to clean out all of the debris and pus from all of the crypts.
More recently, units have been developed for delivering pulsating pressurized water to the mouth for cleaning particles of food, etc. from between the teeth and from the gums. These units, marketed under the trademark Water Pik" and other trademarks, have become readily available to the general public. These units have a supply of water which is plusatingly pressurized and is fed through a hose to a hand held nozzle which directs the discharge of the interrupted stream of water onto the teeth, to clean them. I have found that such a unit is a very effective source of fluid or saline solution for washing the tonsils and adjacent areas of the throat. However, for washing tonsils, a suitable throat irrigator must be provided, as the nozzle supplied with such unit is not suitable for delivering the pulsating fluid stream to areas of the throat, such as the tonsils.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Therefore it is the primary object of this invention to provide a novel throat irrigator for fluid connection to a source of pulsating pressurized fluid, and for insertion into the mouth to wash a tonsil and adjacent areas of the throat.
Other and additional objects of this invention are to provide such a throat irrigator which is equally adapted for washing either tonsil, to provide such a throat irrigator which rests on the tongue to depress it, while providing a pivot for directing the nozzle thereof across the tonsil, to provide such a throat irrigator which seats the thumb to guide the pivoting of the irrigator, to provide such a throat irrigator which is manually graspable and rotatable to move the nozzle end of the throat irrigator for moving the discharging fluid stream over desired areas of the throat, to provide such a throat irrigator which is effective to wash the debris, pus and bacteria from the crypts of inflamed tonsils, and to provide such a throat irrigator which is economical to manufacture, easy to install on a flexible tube from a commercially available source of pulsating pressurized fluid, easy to use, and effective to clean the crypts of the tonsils and adjacent areas of the throat.
Generally, the throat irrigator according to this invention includes conduit means for carrying pulsating fluid into the mouth and to the throat, with the inner end thereof discharging the fluid towards the throat, means on the outer end for fluidly connecting the conduit means to a flexible tube, tongue depressor means on the conduit means for the depressing of the tongue upon insertion of the conduit means into the mouth, and control or guide means on the conduit means for facilitating the manual movement of the conduit means to direct the discharge of water towards the desired areas of the throat. The throat irrigator may include a nozzle on the inner end of the conduit means, upper and lower curved surfaces of longitudinally bowed plates or a block, acting alternatively, as tongue depressor means or manual moving means, and an enlarged collar or sleeve fixed to the conduit means to further facilitate manual grasping and rotating of the throat irrigator. j
The present invention also contemplates a method for washing areas of the throat, such as for treating tonsillitis by flushing the crypts of the tonsils. Such method generally includes the steps of flluidly connecting a throat irrigator to a source of pulsating pressurized fluid, grasping the irrigator with a thumb on the thumb seat, inserting the irrigator into the mouth, resting the tongue depressor on the tongue to position the inner end of the nozzle towards the tonsil, downwardly orienting the open mouth, energizing the source of pulsating pressurized fluid, and moving the irrigator to direct the flow of pulsating water into the crypts of a tonsil to wash them. The method may include the steps of rotating the irrigator, replacing the thumb or a finger on the thumb seat, repositioning the tongue depressor on the tongue, and moving the irrigator to direct the flow of water into the crypts of the other tonsil.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary side elevational view showing a man using the throat irrigator in accordance with this invention.
FIG. 2 is a plan view, partially in section, of the throat irrigator, together with a distal portion of the connecting hose, shown in dotted outline.
FIG. 3a and 3b are sectional views taken along the plane III-III of FIG. 2 showing alternative embodiments of the finger rest and tongue depressor assembly.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view of the head of the user shown in FIG. 1, with his thumb or finger positioning the irrigator for washing the right tonsil.
FIG. 5 is a view taken on the arrows V-V of FIG. 4, showing the irrigator in solid lines positioned to wash one tonsil and in dotted outline to wash the other.
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5, but showing healthy tonsils, after treatment by the throat irrigator, according to this invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to the drawings and particularly to FIG. 1, a typical bathroom scene is shown. Such a bathroom scene normally includes a conventional basin 10 extending from the bathroom wall 11, and also extending from the wall 11 is a shelf 12. A source 13 of pulsating pressurized fluid, which is commercially sold as a unit under a number of trademarks, for example Water Pik, is on shelf 12. An electrical cord 14 runs from the unit 13 to an electrical outlet (not shown) to provide power to the unit 13. A flexible hose 15 has one end fluidly connected to the unit 13 and the other end attached to a throat irrigator indicated generally at 20.
Referring now to FIG. 4, the throat irrigator is in fluid connection with the end of hose l5, and is inserted into the user's mouth 21 past the lips 22 to rest on the tongue 23. Upon energizing of the unit 13, the throat irrigator 20 will provide a pulsating stream or jet of fluid to areas ofthe throat 24, such as a tonsil 25. The pulsations of the stream will wash the crypts or openings 26 in the surface of the tonsil 25. The throat irrigator 20 according to this invention may also supply the pulsating stream of fluid to adjacent areas of the throat, such as for example the adenoids 27 or the pharynx 28.
As best seen in FIG. 2, the throat irrigator 20 includes conduit means indicated generally at 30 for carrying pulsating fluid into the mouth 21 and to the throat 24, fluid connecting means indicated generally at 40 on the outer end of the conduit means 30 for fluidly connecting the conduit means 30 to the flexible hose 15, tongue depressor means indicated generally at 50 on the conduit means 40 for resting on and depressing the tongue 23 upon insertion of the conduit means 30 into the mouth 21, and control or guide means indicated generally at 60 on the conduit means 30 for facilitating the manual movement of the conduit means 30 to assist in controlling the discharge of the pulsating stream of fluid across the area of the throat to be washed. The control or guide means 60 may include grasping and rotating means 61 in the form of an enlarged collar or sleeve against which the users little or ring finger may rest as the user grasps and manipulates the device.
The conduit means 30 for carrying the pulsating fluid from the tube 15 into the users mouth includes an outer end 31, a central tubular portion 32 and an inner end 33 terminating in a discharge nozzle 34 at an axis substantially perpendicular to the axis of conduit 30. A central passage 35 extends from the outer end 31, through the central tubular portion 32 to the inner end 33, to open at the nozzle 34 for conducting the fluid through the conduit means 30.
The connecting means 40 for fluidly connecting the conduit 30 to the open end of the flexible hose 15 is also best seen in FIG. 2, and includes the provision of a chamfer 41 on the outer end 31 of the conduit means 30; a circumferential groove 42 around the conduit means 30, adjacent the chamfer; and a shank portion 43 around which the hose 15 extends. The open end of hose 15 slides over the chamfer 41 and over the shank portion 43. The natural resilience of the hose 15 depresses a portion of it into the circumferential groove 42 to secure the hose 15 to the conduit means 30 de spite the pressure of the pulsating fluid on the juncture therebetween.
Tongue depressor means 50 previously mentioned provides a pair of outwardly concave curved surfaces symmetrically disposed about a central plane which desirably includes the axis of conduit 30 and the axis of nozzle 34. In FIG. 3a such means 50 are shown as including a pair of longitudinally bowed plates 51, 52 having outwardly concave surfaces 53, 54. Plates 51, 52 are fixed to conduit 30 by suitable means such as an adhesive or by being molded integrally with the conduit means 30 when the entire structure is formed of one of many plastic materials, as is preferred.
Depending upon whether the right or left tonsil is being treated in accordance with the present invention,
one of the plates, such as 51, serves as a rest or seat for the finger or thumb of the user, and the other plate then serves as a tongue depressor proper. In treating the other tonsil, the user merely rotates irrigator 20 through 180 about its own axis, whereupon the functions of the plates 51, 52 and their outwardly concave curved surfaces 53, 54 are reversed, as will be readily understood.
Another form of the tongue depressor is shown in FIG. 3b, where parts of the depressor are indicated by reference characters greater than corresponding parts of FIG. 3a. Thus the tongue depressor indicated generally at in FIG. 3b includes a solid block 156 desirably of plastic material fixed to conduit 30 by suitable adhesive means or by being molded integrally therewith. Block 156 has upper and lower portions 151, 152, each presenting outwardly concave curved surfaces 153, 154 respectively. As in the form shown'in FIG. 3a, the curved surfaces are symmetrically disposed about a central plane which includes the axis of conduit 30 and the axis of nozzle 34. Block 156 may have gently concaved side walls 157, 158 merging smoothly with the upper and lower concave surfaces 153, 154. Under certain conditions the form of the invention shown in FIG. 3b may be desired, since its construction facilitates cleaning of the device, and minimizes the possibility that foreign matter might adhere to recessed portions of the device.
Use of the irrigator in accordance with the present invention will be now described with reference to FIGS. 1, 4 and 5. Thus the user grasps the irrigator with either his thumb or index finger (the thumb may be considered to be one of the fingers for present purposes) resting on one of the surfaces 51, 52, and his little or ring finger resting against collar 61, his remaining finger or fingers curled around the central portion of the irrigator. He then inserts the nozzle end of the irrigator into his mouth with the other of the surfaces 51, 52 resting on and depressing the crown of the tongue, and with the outlet opening of nozzle 34 directed to one of the tonsils. He then bends over a basin or other receptacle for used water or other washing solution, actuates the source unit 13, and adjusts the direction of jetting fluid from the nozzle as desired. Typically the user oscillates the device slightly, both longitudinally and rotationally, in order to direct the jetting discharge from the nozzle to the entire exposed surface of the tonsil and adjacent areas of the throat to be washed.
Treatment of the opposite tonsil and adjacent areas of the throat is readily accomplished by the users rotating of the irrigator through 180 about its own axis, repositioning the lower of the curved surfaces 53, 54 laterally in the mouth, and then adjusting the position and direction of the nozzle axis as previously described.
An important advantage of the throat irrigator 20 according to this invention is that it may be used by the patient in his home, thus freeing space in hospitals and doctors offices for the treatment of more serious health problems. Simlarly an advantage of using the throat irrigator according to this invention is that a person can treat himself at the first signs of tonsillitis, thereby halting the condition, and effectuating a rapid recovery. If a person so desires, he can periodically wash his tonsils in accordance with the present invention, much as he periodically brushes his teeth, to pre vent tonsillitis.
Thus the throat irrigator according to this invention is ideally suited for washing desired areas of the throat such as the tonsils and may be used for treating inflamed tonsils or tonsillitis by flushing the tonsil crypts of debris, pus and the tonsillitis causing bacteria. By using the throat irrigator according to this invention according to the method explained herebefore, inflamed tonsils may be treated without the use of surgery or antibiotics.
ln conditions of inflamed throat including pharyngitis the warm pulsating stream provides a gentle warm massage to the inflamed throat, thereby bringing quick re lief. This again reduces the need for doctor visits or the need to take antibiotics because fresh blood carrying the natural body defenses is flushed though the diseased tissue. In addition, the surface bacteria are removed.
This throat irrigator which delivers a directed pulsating warm liquid is advantageous also in that it will relieve and reverse a common painful condition known as post-pharyngeal lymphoid hyperplasia. In this condition lymphoid tissue similar to tonsil tissue grows in the back and side of the throat. This disease responds poorly to antibiotics, medicine, and surgery. On the other hand, the warm gentle massage delivered by the present throat irrigator tip is successful in reducing the size and amount of the lymphoid tissue; and periodic irrigation prevents recurrence of this tissue. Since the shape of the upper portion of the throat is substantially semicircular, the pulsating fluid, after impinging on one of the tonsils as described and illustrated herein, is at least partially deflected rearwardly or inwardly of the mouth, traverses the back of the throat laterally, and
thence forwardly past the other tonsil and outwardly of the mouth.
Wide use of the throat irrigation tip should reduce the total amount of antibiotics being used, thereby reducing the numbers of bacteria that develop resistance to antibiotics.
1. A throat irrigator for fluid connection to a flexible hose from a source of pulsatingly pressurized fluid, said irrigator comprising:
conduit means for carrying the pulsating fluid into the mouth and to the throat, said conduit means having an inner end for discharging the fluid toward the throat, and an outer end,
means on the outer end for fluidly connecting the outer end of the conduit means to the flexible hose,
tongue depressor means on said conduit means for depressing the tongue upon insertion of the conduit means into the mouth, and
rest means adjacent the tongue depressor means for seating a finger of the user.
2. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein the conduit means includes:
a central tubular portion,
a nozzle on the inner end of the central tubular portion and extending at an angle to the axis of the central tubular portion, and including control means adjacent the outer end of the conduit means with which a users finger may cooperate during use to position and guide fluid issuing from the nozzle.
3. The invention as defined in claim 2 wherein the control means includes a circumferential enlargement on the tubular portion.
4. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein the tongue depressor means and the rest means both include means providing upper and lower oppositely disposed outwardly concave curved surfaces.
5. The invention as defined in claim 4 wherein the conduit extends longitudinally and is provided with a nozzle at its inner end projecting at: an angle to the axis of the conduit.
6. The invention as defined in claim 5 wherein said curved surfaces are symmetrically disposed about a plane including the axis of the conduit means and the axis of the nozzle. I
7. A method of washing a selected area of the throat comprising the steps of:
fluidly connecting a throat irrigator having a nozzle inner end, a tongue depressor, and a finger seat to a source of pulsating pressurized fluid,
grasping the irrigator with a finger on the finger seat,
inserting the irrigator into the mouth,
resting the tongue depressor on the tongue to position the nozzle inner end directed towards a tonsil,
downwardly orienting the open mouth,
energizing the source of pulsating pressurized fluid,
moving the irrigator to direct the discharge of pulsating fluid from teh nozzle inner end onto the selected areaof the throat.
8. The invention as in claim 7 additionally comprising the steps of:
rotating the irrigator,
repositioning the tongue depressor on the tongue,
moving the irrigator to direct the flow of fluid onto a selected area on the other side of the throat. s s s In