|Publication number||USRE42911 E1|
|Application number||US 12/060,577|
|Publication date||Nov 15, 2011|
|Filing date||Apr 1, 2008|
|Priority date||Nov 11, 1994|
|Also published as||CA2162511A1, CA2162511C, DE69514986D1, DE69514986T2, EP0711609A2, EP0711609A3, EP0711609B1, US5687912, USRE40591|
|Publication number||060577, 12060577, US RE42911 E1, US RE42911E1, US-E1-RE42911, USRE42911 E1, USRE42911E1|
|Inventors||Jonathan S. Denyer|
|Original Assignee||Ric Investments, Llc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (47), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (3), Classifications (16)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
More than one reissue application has been filed for U.S. Pat. No. 5,687,912, including continuation of Ser. No. 09/425,031 U.S. Reissue Patent, filed Oct. 19, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. Re. 40,591 reissued Dec. 2, 2008, the present application being a continuation thereof.
The present invention relates to atomizers and, in particular, to atomizers of the type which include a gas exit, at least one outlet in the region of the gas exit and a deflector for deflecting gas issuing from the gas exit across the at least one outlet whereby a substance to be atomized is drawn out of the at least one outlet and atomized. These atomizers atomize liquids or powders into the gas.
Most conventional atomizers of the above type operate continuously whether atomization is required or not. Strictly speaking, when such atomizers, frequently called nebulisers, are used in medical applications, atomization is only required during the inhalation phase of a breathing cycle so that a drug can be administered by deposition in the lungs. In practice a patient usually inhales for about 30 percent of the breathing cycle, consequently, use of a continuously operating atomizer results in a large proportion of the atomized drug being wasted.
Some designs of medical atomizer overcome such wastage by giving the patient a trigger to start the atomization when they begin to inhale. Such a trigger controlled type of atomizer is not satisfactory since the patient must coordinate inhalation with trigger operation.
In one conventional atomizer a gas duct leads gas under pressure to a gas exit, a reservoir for holding the substance to be atomized is formed around the base of the gas duct, and a sleeve placed around the gas duct defines a passageway through which the substance to be atomized may pass to at least one outlet. A fixed deflector in the form of a bar is disposed in line with the gas outlet so that gas issuing from the gas exit is deflected so as to pass over the outlet or outlets. The passage of gas over each outlet draws the substance to be atomised from the reservoir, through the passageway to each outlet. The deflected gas atomizes the substance, and atomized particles of the substance are carried away during the inhalation phase of the patient since the patient breathes air or gas in through the atomizer some of the drug is lost while the patient is not inhaling.
Atomizers are used in other applications. For example, powders or liquid may be sprayed from a jet, the liquid or powder being atomized and entrained by a propellant. In conventional sprays, operation is controlled by a valve for releasing propellant. When the valve is released, the spraying operation is stopped and some of the liquid or powder collects in the jet since insufficient propellant has been released. The collected spray either dries to block the jet or is propelled by a re-started spraying operation in large droplets. Where paint is being sprayed, this causes splatter and uneven deposition on a surface to be painted.
It is an object of this invention to reduce at least some of the above disadvantages of the above-mentioned prior art.
The present invention is defined in the appended claims.
Embodiments of the invention are described below by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
A downwardly and outwardly shaped baffle 9 is disposed around the jet head 3 to deflect the atomized substance downwards before it is carried away. It is important that the substance is atomized into very fine droplets. In medical applications, the substance to be atomized is a drug for administering to a patient by lung deposition. The finer the droplets, the deeper into the lungs the drug will pass. This maximises the deposition of the drug. Larger droplets collect on the inside of the baffle 9 where they coalesce to drop back down into the reservoir 7.
The atomizer also includes an air inlet 13 and an air outlet 14. In the above-mentioned medical application, as a patient inhales, ambient air is drawn into the atomizer through the inlet 13. The air then passes into the region of the air exit 4 and outlets 5 where droplets are entrained by the inhaled ambient air. The air then passes down under the baffle 9 before passing upwardly and out via the air outlet 14 carrying droplets of the drug to the patient. This action is described in more detail in British Patent application 9219327.5 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,533,501, which are hereby imported into this description in their entirety.
A planar arcuate gas deflector 1 is mounted above the gas exit to be movable about a pivot in that plane. The gas deflector 1 may be disposed across the gas exit 4, in which case atomization takes place, or may be disposed away from the gas exit 4, in which case no atomization takes place.
A vane 2 is joined to the deflector bar 1 so as to be pivotally mounted and to move with the deflector bar 1. The flap 2 responds to the breathing pattern of a patient by moving around the pivot.
When the apparatus is not in use, the vane assumes the position shown in
When a patient inhales, ambient air is drawn into the atomizer through the air inlet 13. The vane 2 is displaced into the position shown in
The deflector extends further from the pivot than the flap so that the deflector can be positioned very close to the gas exit without obstruction from the flap. The curved surface 12 against which the vane seals therefore includes an arcuate slot through which the deflector may pass.
If the patient inhales sharply or quickly, the vane 2 assumes the position shown in
When the patient exhales, the vane 2 is displaced to a position as shown in
When the patient is not breathing in or out, the vane 2 is biassed towards the position shown in
The atomizer shown in
According to another embodiment (not shown), the rubber block 10 is replaced by a metal spring eg, a leaf spring which permits the vane 2 and deflector 1 to be pivotally moveable in the same manner as described in relation to the rubber block 10 and tongue 11.
In a further embodiment (not shown) the vane 2 is omitted, and the deflector is movable into and out of the stream of gas issuing from the gas exit according to the breathing pattern of a patient. The vane is replaced by a flow sensor which detects when a patient begins to inhale and moves the deflector 1 into the path of gas issuing from the gas exit. In this embodiment the deflector is a bar which is moveable perpendicularly or laterally relevant to the longitudinal extent of the bar.
In another embodiment the deflector 1 is displaceable up and down in line with the gas issuing from the gas outlet. Once the deflector is raised above a certain height, atomization ceases to take place.
In yet a further embodiment, the deflector is not a straight bar, but is of any suitable shape for deflecting the gas across the outlets to cause atomization. The deflector may, for example, be a spherical ball disposed in the path of gas exiting the gas exit. The deflector may be a longitudinal blade movable into the path of the gas in the longitudinal direction of the blade.
In yet another embodiment (not shown) of this invention, the atomizer is used for producing a spray. This spray may be liquid droplets or powder particles. In medical applications, the spray may contain a drug. This spray producing apparatus may be used for producing sprays of paint droplets, perfume droplets or any other suitable liquids or powders. A base unit 15 of
Under certain conditions, although 95% of the gas issuing from the gas exit 4 is deflected to either side of the deflector bar 1, a small amount hits the baffle bar depositing the substance to be atomized on the deflector bar 1. The gas which hits the baffle bar drives the liquid along the baffle bar towards the ends where the liquid can collect on top of the baffle 9 so that it is lost to the atomizer system. The whole dose of medicament is then not available to be administered to the patient. Furthermore, in some arrangements, as the deflector bar is moved out of the flow of gas issuing from the gas exit 4, the liquid that is running along the edge of the deflector bar 1 is sprayed into the top of the nebulizer where it collects without returning back to the reservoir 7. Referring now to
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|U.S. Classification||239/343, 239/338, 239/366, 128/200.21|
|International Classification||A61M11/00, A61M11/06, A61M15/00, B05B7/00|
|Cooperative Classification||A61M11/002, A61M15/0091, B05B7/0012, A61M2016/0018, A61M11/06, A61M2016/0033|
|European Classification||B05B7/00B, A61M11/06|