|Publication number||US3807955 A|
|Publication date||Apr 30, 1974|
|Filing date||Apr 15, 1971|
|Priority date||Apr 15, 1971|
|Publication number||US 3807955 A, US 3807955A, US-A-3807955, US3807955 A, US3807955A|
|Inventors||T Note, E Walker|
|Original Assignee||Becton Dickinson Co|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (63), Classifications (8)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
[ Apr. 30, 1974 SERUM/PLASMA ISOLATOR CUP Inventors: Thomas N. Note, Jr., Wayne; Evelyn J. Walker, Hackensack, both of NJ.
Assignee: Becton, Dickinson and Company,
3,677,435 7/1972 Davis 220/97 C X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 192,785 11/1957 Austria 220/42 B Primary Examiner-loseph Scovronek Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Kane, Dalsimer, Kane, Sul-  Flled. Apr. 15, 1971 livan & Kurucz 21 Appl. No.: 134,148
 TRACT U-S- Cl. B, A cup to the erum or plasma portion) sep- 220/9 C arated from the cells after blood drawn from a patient B011 B65d 21/02, Golf! 16 has been placed into a sample tube and centrifuged. 1 Field of Search 3/230, 230 B, 253, 259, The blood may be drawn directly from the patient into 3/2 2 3- 2 97 the sample tube or may be transferred into the tube 195/139 206/65 84 after being drawn from the patient by other means. The cup containing the fluid portion is inserted in the Referelwes Cited said tube containing the cells and snapped into place,
UNITED STATES PATENTS thus isolating the fluid portion from the cells but re- 3,540,s57 11/1970 Martin 23/292 mining it the tube identified with the Patiehh Such 3,554,705 1 1971 Johnston 23 292 P has a base Which is rounded 0r of a form that Will 3,072,362 1/1963 Allen 23 292 not be free standing, the p p being to insure that 3,625,654 12/1971 Van Duyne... 23/292 it will only be placed in the open end of the tube to ,8 3/1909 E kart 22 B X alleviate the danger of confusion of samples. The cup 3/1934 McDowell 220/42 B base is also designed to serve as a cap for another cup. 3,396,868 8/1968 Fitzgerald 220/97 C 3,520,441 7 1970 Fitzgerald 220/97 c x 4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 4 v 1 1 5 t 4 f I /fl f f 1 SERUM/PLASMA ISOLATOR CUlP' BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is universally accepted in the chemistry laboratory that serum or plasma (herein referred to as the fluid portion) should be separated from packed cells as soon as possible after blood has been drawn from a patient. However, many laboratories do not follow this practice and, in the interest of retaining sample identity or expediting and simplifying procedure, centrifuge the sample in its original tube and retain the fluid portion and cells together until the desired laboratory work can be performed.
This problem has been overcome by the isolator cup of the present invention which permits the fluid portion to be removed from intimate contact with the cells and placed in the cup as soon as possible after centrifuging. The cup containing the fluid portion is then placed in the open end of the original tube and snapped down into place, thus retaining the fluid portion and the cells together as a unit but nevertheless separated from each other. Such unit keeps its original identification.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to provide a cup which isolates the fluid portion from the cells of a blood sample placed in a sample tube, but permits the cup and the original tube to be combined into a unit for retention of sample identity and convenience of handling (processing) in an analytical system.
It is a further object to provide an isolator cup which can be inserted into the open end of a blood sample tube with the open end of the cup locking positively into the open end of the tube to seal such tube.
It is a further object to provide a cup which isolates a first portion of a mixture separated from a second portion of the mixture in a sample tube, the cup holding the first portion being combined with the sample tube holding the second portion into a unit for retention of sample identity.
It is a further object to provide an isolator cup with a base which is rounded or shaped to serve as a cap for another cup, but will not be free standing for the purpose of insuring that it will only be placed in the open end of a tube to alleviate the danger of confusion of blood samples. v
It is a further object to provide an isolator cup which is simple, inexpensive to manufacture, and lends itself to color coding for identification.
It is a further object to provide an isolator cup which can be used for standards and controls and affords potential savings due to reduced volume of comparatively expensive materials used in automatic testing machines.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Other objects and advantages will become apparent from the following description which is to be taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the isolator cup of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of a blood sample tube with the isolator cup inserted in the open end of the tube; and
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of several isolator cups stacked up with the bottom of one cup serving as a cap for the cup below it.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the cup being inserted into the open end of a blood sample tube to show the taper of the upper wall portion of the cup providing the pressfit of the cup into the tube.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, there is shown in PEG. 1 an empty isolator cup 10 having a round base 11 and an open top end with a lip 12 running around the top. The cup is adapted to fit into the open end of a conventional blood sample tube I3 (FIG. 2). Running around the wall at different levels are lines 14 to indicate various volume fill levels in the cup.
The cup is molded in clear or translucent plastic and lends itself to color coding to provide identification for routing of the sample to different areas of the laboratory or to indicate types of samples. Thin walled polyethylene has been found adequate for such a cup and provides a sufficient degree of clarity. The bottom wall of the cup has a slight taper inwardly and the design of the cup base is round, as illustrated, or some similar contour which will insure that it will not be free standing. It is thus intended that, after receiving the fluid portion, it will be placed down in the open end of the tube from which the fluid portion came. This alleviates the danger of confusion of samples. The cup base is so designed that it can serve as a cap for another cup (FIG. 3). Thus the fluid portion in the cup can be so capped when the fluid portion is being stored for a period of time. It is also possible to pile several of these cups on top of each other with the base of one cup serving as a cap for the cup below it (FIG. 3). The bottom cup can be inserted in a sample tube as shown in FIG. 2.
The cup can be made in various diameters to conform to the diameters of the available blood sample tubes. Such diameters at the open ends must each have sufficient tolerance to accommodate wide variations in the inside diameters of the tube at the open ends, but the open endof each cup must lock positively into place in the open end of the tube.
The following procedure for use of such a cup might be considered as typical. A prenumbered blood sample tube is brought to the patient. The blood sample is drawn and at that time the tube number is positively related to the patient. The sample is brought to the laboratory where, after logging in, it is permitted in the case of serum to stand until proper clot formation has occurred. In the case of plasma it will not be necessary for the sample to stand for clotting. The sample is then placed in a centrifuge, together with other similar tubes, and the blood is separated with the cells in the bottom portion of the tube and clear fluid portion up above. As soon as possible after spinning, the fluid portion is removed from intimate contact with the cells and placed in the isolator cup. The cup is then inserted in the open end of the original tube and snapped down into place. Thus the fluid portion is still in the original tube that was identified with the patient but the fluid portion is no longer in contact with the cells which could bring about deterioration after a period of time. As used herein the term blood sample tube shall apply either to a blood collecting tube into which blood is drawn directly from the patient or to a tube into which blood is transferred after the blood is drawn from a patient by syringe or other means.
While this invention has particular use for blood testing, it will be understood that it may also be used where one portion of a mixture has been separated from a second portion of the mixture and it is necessary or desirable to keep the two portions together as a unit for identification but separated from each other. in such case the upper portion is removed from the top of the lower portion of the mixture in the sample tube. Such upper portion is placed in an isolator cup which is then inserted into the sample tube holding the other portion of the mixture.
For blood testing, the invention can be used as heretofore described. in using automatic chemistry analyzers a large volume of comparatively expensive standards and controls would be required to fill conventional sample tubes. If the cups of the present invention are used a smaller volume of these comparatively expensive liquids will be required. The cup holding such liquid is inserted into the top of a sample tube which is empty but serves as the means of identification for the liquid.
Thus the aforementioned objects are most effectively obtained. Although the preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed and described in detail herein, it should be understood that this invention is in no sense limited thereby and its scope is to be determined by that of the appended claims.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed l. A cup in combination with a sample tube forming an integral unit useful for separately storing whole blood, serum or plasma or cells and for handling these in an analytical system designed to place the fluid portion in the cup and the cells in the tube, said cup being made of thin walled plastic and comprising a cylindrical tubular section, an open top end with a lip extending around such top end and a closed bottom end which is curved so as not to be free-standing, the outer surface of the tubular section conforming in size and shape to the inside of the top of the sample tube, the upper wall of the said cup below the said lip having a tapered surface adapted to contact and form a press fit with the upper inner wall of the said sample tube, the said cup containing a first portion separated from the sample being inserted and press fitted into the top of the sample tube containing a second portion of the sample with the top lip of the cup resting on the top of the sample tube to form an integral unit with the portions isolated from each other and identifiable as belonging to a specific patient from whom the sample was taken.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein the outer surface of the lower end of the tubular section of the cup has a slight taper inwardly and conforms in shape to the inner tapered surface of the said cup, whereby the lower end of the said cup can be press fit into the open end of any other like cup.
3. A method for retaining together, but isolated from each other, the fluid portion and the cells of a blood sample comprising placing a blood sample drawn from a patient in a sample tube; separating the fluid portion and the cells into layers with the cells at the bottom and the fluid portion above; removing the fluid portion from the tube and placing it into an isolator cup made of thin walled plastic and having a cylindrical tubular section, an open top end with a lip extending around such top end and a closed bottom end which is curved so as not to be free-standing, the outer surface of the tubular section conforming in size and shape to the inside of the top of the sample tube, the upper wall of the said cup below the said lip having a tapered surface adapted to contact and form a press fit with the upper inner wall of the said sample tube; and inserting the isolator cup containing the fluid portion into the top of the sample tube containing the cells with the cup resting on its top lip within said sample tube and the tops of the cup and tube press fit together to form an integral unit for handling in an analytical system designed to process the sample and to identify the unit as belonging to a specific patient from whom the sample was taken.
4. The method of claim 3 in which the said first isolator cup is capped with a second isolator cup similar to the first cup to prevent evaporation of the fluid portion of the first cup, the outer surface of the lower end of the tubular section of the second cup having a slight taper inwardly and conforming in shape to the open end of the first cup.
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|U.S. Classification||436/177, 215/6, 206/519, 422/914, 422/549|