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Publication numberUS3918435 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 11, 1975
Filing dateJan 24, 1974
Priority dateJan 24, 1974
Publication numberUS 3918435 A, US 3918435A, US-A-3918435, US3918435 A, US3918435A
InventorsGlenn Lee Beall, Fred K White
Original AssigneeMiles Lab
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Transport swab tube
US 3918435 A
Abstract
Transport swab tube apparatus is described capable of storing and transporting to a clinical laboratory a swab containing a microorganism sample and a suitable preservative medium. The apparatus comprises in combination an outer tube container having a removable sealing cap, a hollow tubular swab member having a bibulous swab material at one end and a liquid storage receptacle at its other end, and wherein the liquid storage receptacle and the swab member are supported by the removable sealing cap. When the cap is placed on and seals the tube container, the swab member is supported within the tube container so that the bibulous swab material does not touch the walls or end of the tube container. When desired, the liquid in the liquid storage receptacle can flow through the hollow swab member and contact the swab material.
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United States Patent [191 Beall et a1.

[ Nov. 11, 1975 [54] TRANSPORT SWAB TUBE [75-] Inventors: Glenn Lee Beall, Gurnee; Fred K.

White, Glen Ellyn, both of I11. [73'] Assignee: Miles Laboratories, Inc., Elkhart,

Ind.

[22 Filed: Jan. 24, 1974 [211 Appl. No; 436,223

[52] US. Cl 128/2 W; 128/269; 195/103.5 R; 195/ 139 [51] Int. Cl. A61B 10/00 [58] Field of Search 128/2 W, 2 F, 269; 195/139, 103.5 R

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES'PATENTS 3,163,160 12/1964 Cohen 128/2 W 3,450.129 6/1969 Avery et a1. 128/2 W 3,495,917 2/1970 Truhan 128/269 X 3,773,035 11/1973 Aronoff et a1. 128/2 W 3.776.220 12/1973 Monaghan 128/2 W 3,792,699 2/1974 Tobin et a1 128/2 W FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1.311.457 3/1973 United Kingdom 128/2 W 285,835 7/1915 Germany 128/269 Primary Examiner-Kyle L. Howell Attorney, Agent, or FirmLouis E. Davidson [57] ABSTRACT Transport swab tube apparatus is described capable of storing and transporting to a clinical laboratory a swab containing a microorganism sample and a suitable preservative medium. The apparatus comprises in combination an outer tube container having a removable sealing cap, a hollow tubular swab member having a bibulous swab material at one end and a liquid storage receptacle at its other end, and wherein the liquid storage receptacle and the swab member are supported by the removable sealing cap. When the cap is placed on and seals the tube container, the swab member is supported within the tube container so that the bibulous swab material does not touch the walls or end of the tube container. When desired, the liquid in the liquid storage receptacle can flow through the hollow swab member and contact the swab material.

'U.S. Patent Nov. 11, 1975 Sheet 1 01*2 3,918,435

FIG. 2

FIG.

US. Patent Nov.11, 1975 Sheet2of2 3,918,435

TRANSPORT SWAB TUBE BACKGROUND AND PRIOR ART In the practice of medicine a physician frequently desires to obtain a sample of organisms which may be present in or on various parts of a human body. to accomplish this task, he takes a sterile swab from its supply container, contacts the desired sample area with the swab and then forwards the swab to a laboratory for culture analysis. This overall procedure has several requirements. First, the swab must be maintained in a sterile condition before it is used. Second, the swab must not become contaminated with organisms foreign to those present in the desired human body sample area prior to culture analysis. Third, in order that the test organisms can provide an accurate culture analysis, they must be maintained in a viable state between the time of sample collection on the swab and the time of culture analysis in the clinical laboratory. This is accomplished by liquid treatment of such swab with a preservative medium, generally by pouring liquid into a tube holding the swab. Such preservative liquid can undesirably wash off some of the organisms from the outer surface of the swab.

Efforts have been made in the prior art to provide apparatus to conveniently achieve the above-described conditions. Such prior art efforts are described, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3163160, 3282114, 3368549, 3388043, 3450129, 3616265, and 3674007 and British Pat. Nos. 1234044 and 1311457.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, transport swab tube apparatus is provided comprising in combination an elongated tube container having a closed end and an open end, a removable cap capable of sealing said open end of said tube'container, an elongated hollow tubular swab member having a length less than that of said tube container and having an opening at each end thereof, bibulous swab material located at one end of said swab member and covering the opening at that end of said swab member, a liquid storage receptacle located near the other end of said swab member and capable of being placed in liquid-flow communication with the opening at said end of said swab member so that liquid can flow from said receptacle through the tubular swab member and become absorbed by said bibulous swab material, said tubular swab member and said liquid storage receptacle being supported by said removable cap, said bibulous swab material being positioned within said tube container near the closed end thereof and not in contact with said tube container when said removable cap seals said open end of said tube container.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an axial cross-sectional view of one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a similar view of such embodiment during one aspect of the use of such apparatus;

FIG. 3 is an axial cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the present invention in ;a first operational position;

FIG. 4 is a similar view of the embodiment of FIG. 3 in a second operational position; and

FIG. 5 is a similar view of the embodiment of FIG. 3 in a third operational position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the apparatus 10 of the present invention comprises an elongated tube container 12, a removable cap 18, a swab member 20 and a liquid storage receptacle 22. The tube container 12 has a closed end 14 and an open end 16 provided with external threads 24. Removable cap 18 has a top portion 26 and a depending tubular side portion 28 provided with internal threads 30 capable of threaded relation with threads 24 of tube container 12. An extension 32 depends axially from top portion 26 of cap 18.

A chamber 34 is formed by a tubualr member 36 having at its upper end an annular radially outwardly projecting lip 38. Member 36 is coaxially supported by cap 18 through tight-fitting or adhesive contact between lip 38 and the sidewall portion 28 of cap 18 above the location of threads 30. The tubular member 36 terminates at its lower end in bottom wall 40 which is formed with an axial opening 42 therein. Member 36 is formed of a flexible material, such as thin flexible organoplastic. A sealed liquid storage receptacle or capsule 22 filled with liquid 23 is located inside chamber 34 and is held in position by extension 32. Receptacle 22 is formed from frangible material, such as glass or brittle organoplactics.

The hollow tubular swab member 20 has an open upper end 44 fitted into opening 42 of chamber 34 and is supported thereby. The joint between swab member 20 and bottom wall 40 can be a press-fit or adhesives may be employed if desired. Chamber 34 is thus in communication with the upper end opening 44 of swab member 20. The open lower end 46 of swab member 20 is covered by bibulous swab material 48. This swab material is preferably cotton, but other absorbent material can also be used. The members 36 and 20 together have an overall length less than that of container 12. As shown in FIG. 1, when removable cap 18 is threaded onto and seals the open end 16 of container 12, the bibulous swab material 48 is positioned within container 12 near the closed end 14 but not in contact with the container. In this relationship the apparatus can be sterilized so that the sterile swab material 48 can be stored in a sterile condition until needed.

In order to use the apparatus of the present invention to obtain a microorganism sample, cap 18 is loosened and, together with the swab member 20, is removed from tube container 12. Using cap 18 as a handle, for the swab member 20, the swab material 48 is placed in contact with the sample area, whereby microorganisms are transferred to the swab material. Again using cap 18 as a handle, swab member 20 with material 48 is replaced into container 12. Before placing cap 18 onto the open end of container 12, the member 36 is squeezed so as to break the frangible receptacle 22. The liquid 23 can then flow from such receptacle through tubular swab member 20 and become absorbed by swab material 48. Receptacle can be conveniently broken by digital squeezing pressure on member 36. An alternative technique is shown in FIG. 2 wherein the member 36 is bent over the edge of end opening 16 of tube 12 causing fracture of receptable 22. In this technique the portion of chamber 34 opposite from that in contact with tube 12 is digitally held so as to prevent swab material 48 from coming into contact with the walls of tube 12.

Oncereceptacle 22 is broken and liquid begins to flow into swab member 20, cap 18 is placed onto seals container 12 so that the overall configuration is as shown in FIG. 1, except that receptacle 22 no longer holds liquid 23.

Liquid 23 can be any culture-sustaining liquid. The composition of this liquid will be governed by the type of microorganism collected on the swab material. Illustrative useful liquids are distilled water, saline solution, and various culture nutrient media. The particular composition of the liquid does not form a part of the invention described and claimed herein.

The-apparatus of FIG. 1 can be transported to a clinical laboratory for subsequent culture analysis. During this transport and storage, the microorganism sample on swab material 48 does not lose its vitality and it is not contaminated by other organisms. Since the culture-sustaining liquid does not wash against the outer surface of swab material 48, as is the usual fashion in prior art apparatus, there is no dilution of the sample and no washing loss of the sample. the liquid 23 merely moistens the swab material 48 and enables the culture vitality to be maintained.

A preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5. Apparatus elements similar to those of FIGS. 1 and 2 have the same number with a suffix a. Referring to FIG. 3, an elongated tube container 12with a closed end 14a and an open end 16a has a removable cap 18a capable of mating in sealing relation thereto. Cap 18a has a top 50 and a tubular depending sidewall 52 which can have a threadable attachment to .container 120. Top 50 has an axial opening 54 therein,

therein.

A hollow tubular swab member 20a is telescopically fitted into the reduced diameter portion 60 of extension 56 and is supported thereby. The joint between swab member 20a and passage opening 420 can be a press-fit or adhesives may be employed if desired. The open lower end 46a of swab member 20a is covered by swab material 48a. Swab member 20a is formed with at least one opening 72 which provides communication between the interior thereof and the interior of the extension 56. The upper end of swab member 20a terminates in a coaxial extension member 62 which may be solid and which extends coaxially through opening 54 in cap 18a. This extension member 62 has a portion 64 of smaller diameter than the external diameter of tubular swab member 20a, thereby forming an annular shoulder 68. Extension member 62 can be attached directly to swab member 20a by adhesives or can be formed integral therewith. Cap 18a, extension 56, swab member 20a and extension member 62 thus form a unitary member with no relative motion between connecting parts of such unitary member.

A movable tubular member 74 is telescopically posi- 'tioned within extension 56 and surrounds swab member 20a and its extension 62. Member 74 is formed at seal with the upper end portion 66 of extension 62. At its lower end member 74 is formed with sealing means in the form of a plurality of longitudinally-spaced, transversely inwardly and outwardlyextending annular bead or flange portions 82 and 84 which extend between and are in liquid-impermeable sliding contact with extension 56 and the tubular portion of swab member 20a. These flange portions 82 and 84 thus form a sealing ring configuration. Member 74 is capable of axial movement in both directions between its lower most position shown in FIG. 3 through an intermediate position shown in FIG. 4, to its raised position shown in FIG. 5. As shown in FIG. 3, the spacer means on knob 76 has a predetermined length so as to define the lowermost position of member 74 and to also position opening 78 in a sealing relationship with end portion 66 of swab member 200 when spacer 80 contacts cap 18a. As will be apparent from FIG. 5, the abutment means 58 limits upward movement of flange portions 82 and 84 and thereby prevents member 74 from being undesirably removed completely from member 56.

This preferred apparatus is employed in the following manner. The apparatus is initially fabricated in the first operational position as shown in FIG. 3 and is then sterilized. Member 74 is then moved upward to the second operational position shown in FIG. 4 wherein the end opening 78 is no longer sealed by end portion 66 and the sealing ring configuration provided by flange portions 82, 84 still maintains the liquid-impermeable seal between the extension member 56 and the tubular portion of swab member 20a. In this second operational position, a filling tube 86 can be inserted through opening 78 and liquid 23a introduced into the liquid storage receptacle formed by tubular member 74. Upon removal of the filling tube 86, member 74 is lowered until spacer means 80 contacts the cap 18a as shown in FIG, 3. The liquid 23a. (not shown in FIG. 3) is not sealed and stored in the member 74. This filling operation can be conducted under sterile conditions. The apparatus can then be stored until needed to collect a microorganism sample. Liquid 23a cannot leak from its receptacle in member 74 no matter in what position the apparatus is stored.

In order to use 'the apparatus of FIGS. 3 to 5 to obtain a microorganism sample cap 18a is loosened and, together with the swab member 20a, extension 56 and member 74, is removed as a unit from container 12a. Using cap 18a as a handle, swab member 20a is manipulated so as to place the swab material 48a in contact with the sample area, whereby microorganisms are transferred to the swab material. Again using cap as a handle, the unitary assemblage is returned to its position shown in FIG. 3 wherein the swab member 20a is in container 12a and cap 18a tightened to seal swab material 48a inside container 12a. Member 74 is then moved upward, using knob 76 as a handle, to the third operational position shown in FIG. 5. By such movement the sealing ring configuration of flange portions 82 and 84 is moved upwardly beyond the annular shoulder 68 at the upper end of the tubular portion of swab member 20a to break the liquid-impermeable seal and allow the liquid 23a stored in the member 74 to flow into the chamber 340 provided by tubular extension 56, through openings 72 and into the interior of hollow swab member 20a. The liquid then flows downwardly within swab member 20a into contact with the swab material 48a as shown in FIG. 5 and maintains the culture vitality of a microorganism sample collected thereon. By depressing knob 76, the member 74 is then lowered to the first operational position shown in FIG. 3 wherein the swab member a is sealed from communication with the surrounding atmosphere. This lowering action of member 74 also acts as a piston to force liquid 23a out of chamber 34a and into hollow swab member 20a.

The various elements of this apparatus are conveniently formed from organoplastics. While it is not necessary, it is preferred that tube container 12 or 12a be transparent so that the swab material 48 or 48a can be observed prior to and after collection of the sample.

The apparatus of the present invention has the technical and commercial advantages of convenience, simplicity of operation, controlled sterility prior to use and minimal contamination after collection of sample. It also prevents the microorganisms from being washed off the swab by external liquid application. It is an advance in the art of transport swab tubes.

What is claimed is:

1. A transport swab tube apparatus comprising in combination a tube container having a closed end and an open end, a cap removably attached in sealing relationship to said open end of said tube container, a tubular swab member supported by said cap having a length less than that of said tube container and having an opening at each end thereof, bibulous swab material carried by and covering the opening at one end of said swab member, a liquid storage receptacle supported by said cap, a passage communicating between said liquid storage receptacle and the other end of said swab memher, and a relatively movable sealing means associated with said receptacle and said swab member, said sealing means when in a'first position sealing the interior of said receptacle from said passage and when in a second position affording communication between the interior of said receptacle and said passage so that liquid can flow from said receptacle through the tubular swab member and become absorbed by said bibulous swab material, said tubular swab member being supported by said removable cap in such a manner that said bibulous swab material is positioned within said tube container and out of contact therewith when said removable cap seals said open end of said tube container.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said receptacle is provided with a vent opening and there is relatively movable second sealing means for said vent opening connected for relative movement with said first-mentioned sealing means to first and second positions, said second sealing means sealing said vent opening when in its said first position and permitting venting of said receptacle to the atmosphere when in its said second position.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein there is means defining a chamber in communication with the opening at said other end of said tubular swab member, said means being supported by said removable cap and supporting said tubular swab member, said receptacle being movable to first and second positions relative to said swab member, and cooperable sealing means on said receptacle and swab member, said sealing means sealing the interior of said receptacle from said chamber when said receptacle is in its first position and affording communication between the interior of said receptacle and said chamber when said receptacle is in its said second position. 5 4. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said receptacle is provided with a vent opening and there is cooperable second sealing means on said receptacle and swab member sealing said vent opening when said receptacle is in its first position and permitting venting of said receptacle to the atmosphere when said receptacle is in its said second position.

5. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said removable cap has a top with a skirt depending therefrom capable of mating in sealing relation with said tube container, said removable cap also having an opening in said top and a tubular extension surrounding said opening and coaxially depending from said top, said extension having a reduced diameter lower end portion telescopically supporting one end of said tubular swab member, said extension forming a chamber communicating with the opening in said end of said swab member, a closed ended extension member extending coaxially from the swab member through said chamber and out through said opening in said top of said removable cap, said swab member having a portion of reduced diameter forming an annular external shoulder, a movable tubular member coaxially positioned between said tubular extension of said removable top and said swab member and its extension member, said movable tubular member having an axial opening near one end thereof and having sealing means cooperable with said swab member near the opposite end thereof, said movable member being capable of axial movement to three operational positions, said movable tubular member when in a first operational position being located so that the end opening thereof surrounds and is sealed by the closed end of the swab member extension while the sealing means thereof forms a liquid-impermeable seal between the depending extension of said removable top and the larger diameter portion of the swab member, said movable tubular member when in a second operational position being moved upward so that the end opening thereof is no longer sealed but the sealing means still maintains the liquid-impermeable seal between the depending extension of the removable top and the larger diameter portion of the swab member, thereby permitting the movable tubular member to be filled with liquid through said end opening thereof, said movable tubular member then being movable to its the first operational position wherein the end opening is sealed and said movable tubular member forms a liquid storage receptacle, said movable tubular member when in a third operational position being moved upward so that the sealing means thereof is moved beyond the annular shoulder on the swab member to break the liquidimpermeable seal and allow the liquid stored in the movable tubular member to flow out of such receptacle and into the open end of said hollow tubular swab member, said movable tubular member being thereafter movable to its first operational position wherein the interior of the swab member is sealed from communication with the surrounding atmosphere.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification600/572, 604/2
International ClassificationB01L99/00, G01N1/02, A61B10/02, A61B10/00, C12M1/30, A61F13/40, A61F13/38, A61M35/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61M35/006, A61B10/0096, A61B10/02, A61F13/38, G01N2001/028
European ClassificationA61F13/38, A61B10/02, A61M35/00B2, A61B10/00S
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 11, 1988AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: MILES LABORATORIES, INC., A DE CORP.
Effective date: 19880616
Owner name: NUNC, INCORPORATED, 2373 TELLER ROAD, NEWBURY PARK
Jul 11, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: NUNC, INCORPORATED, 2373 TELLER ROAD, NEWBURY PARK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:MILES LABORATORIES, INC., A DE CORP.;REEL/FRAME:004940/0607
Effective date: 19880616
Owner name: NUNC, INCORPORATED, A DE CORP.,CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MILES LABORATORIES, INC., A DE CORP.;REEL/FRAME:4940/607
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MILES LABORATORIES, INC., A DE CORP.;REEL/FRAME:004940/0607