US 3610238 A
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' United States Patent Edward Rich, .l r.
College Park, Md.
Apr. 28, 1970 Oct. 5, 1971 The United States at America as represented by the Secretary at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare lnventor Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee WOUND INFECTION PREVENTION DEVICE 10 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs.
US. 128/184, l28/l 32 Int. Cl.. Abllll 13/00 Field of Search 128/184, 254, 256, 257, 399, 400, DIG. 20, 402, 38, I32, I54, 297
Relerences Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS l,965,424 7/l934 Mascolo l28/256 3,026,874 3/1962 Stevens l28/260 3,307,553 3/1967 Liebner l28/400 Primary Examiner-Richard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-J. 8. Mitchell Attorney-Browdy and Neimark ABSTRACT: A wound infection prevention device, for the treatment of burns, skin lesions, etc., comprises a cellular foam plastic pad encased by impervious plastic sheets and to which air under pressure may be fed to an annular space about.
the periphery of the foam plastic pad. In use the device is removed from a sterile package, the physician cuts a hole in the center entirely through the material and of sufficient size to surround the wound, and air is then fed under pressure into the annular space and then passes through the body of the porous pad onto the wound and then passes upwardly to prevent the settling of bacteria-bearing dust on the wound.
PATENTEDUET 519m 3,610 288 SHEET 1 OF 2 INVENTOR 62mg M )2? BY W ATTORNEY;
PATENTEUBIIT 5|97l 3,610,238
sum 2 UF 2 INVENTOR ATTORNEYS WOUND INFECTION PREVENTION DEVICE The present invention relates to a wound infection prevention device and, more particularly, to a device which promotes healing of a wound and simultaneously prevents infection of the wound from outside sources by the constant blowing of air or oxygen over the wound.
One of the most troublesome problems in the medical field,
either after surgery or in the treatment of burns or other severe skin lesions, is the risk of infection. This problem of in- I fection is particularly great when bandages or other coverings cannot be applied to the wound. Even when a bandage can be so applied, this serves to cut off the healing supply of oxygen to the wound and inhibits rapid healing.
To overcome these problems it has been suggested that the patient be enclosed in a tent to exclude bacteria and other microbes. However, besides the expense of such an expedient, this does not exclude microbes eminating from the patient himself. Another suggested proposal has been the use of laminar flow canopies to continuously air wash the wound, but these devices are exceedingly expensive costing on the order of several thousand dollars apiece.
Accordingly, the available choices facing the physician in the treatment of burns, skin lesions, etc., to prevent infection are: (a) applying medication to prevent infection, but cutting off air to the wound; (b) covering the wound, with resultant damage to skin tissue with removal of the covering, and also cutting down the amount of air reaching the wound; (c) enclosing the patient in a tent to exclude room microbial contents, but not those eminating from the patient; and (d) using laminar flow canopies to continuously air wash the wound at an exceedingly high cost.
A wound infection prevention device has now been developed to overcome the above defects, the device comprising a porous pad encased in an air-impervious bag to which the upper and lower surfaces of the pad are attached, and the device defining a annular channel surrounding the periphery of the pad into which air may be fed under pressure. The entire device may be manufactured in annular shape, or the center section may be cut out immediately prior to use. In either event the device is placed around the wound on the skin of the patient and air is fed to the annular chamber and passes through the porous pad and then flushes over the wound and then upwardly to prevent dust and airborne bacteria from falling on the wound.
It is, accordingly, an object of the present invention to overcome the defects of the prior art, such as indicated above.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a new technique for aiding in the rapid healing of wounds.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a wound infection prevention device which both assists in rapid healing of wounds and serves to reduce the risk of infection.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a wound infection prevention device which does not cut off air to the wound, which does not damage skin tissue, which serves to exclude bacteria from contact with the wound, and yet which is simple and inexpensive.
To the attainment of these ends and the accomplishment of the above as well as other new and useful objects as will appear below, the present invention is provided by way of the following exemplary and nonlimitative description and the accompanying drawings of an exemplification illustrating this invention, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a device in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the device of FIG. 1, prior to its adaptation by the physician for use;
FIG. 3 is a section taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view, similar to FIG. 3, showing the device in use; and
FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic view showing the device in use.
In its illustrated form, the wound infection prevention device can generally comprise a porous pad 12, a bag 14 of air-impervious material encompassing the pad 12 and attached to its upper and lower surfaces, the bag defining an annular channel 16 surrounding the periphery of the pad 12. In addition, an air inlet means such as a tube or pipe I8 is provided which penetrates the bag [4 at the location of the annular channel 16. While the device 10 is illustrated as being of rectangular configuration, it will, of course, be understood that any shape is suitable, such as elliptical or circular. In more detail, it is preferred that the pad 12 be formed of a cellularfoam plastic material, preferably open-cell polyurethane foam; in the preferred embodiment, the cell size is on the order of mesh. Other materials can be used as replacements for the polyurethane foam plastic, and these other materials include other sponge plastic or sponge rubber. It is also possible to use a porous material formed of interlocked or woven fibers; as an example fiber glass or cotton padding may be mentioned. However, the polyurethane foam is preferred because of its filtering ability, its inertness, its low expense and its ability to be easily sterilized.
The bag 14 which encompasses the pad 12 is preferably formed of plastic material, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, vinyl plastic, etc., although it may be formed of other air-impervious materials such as metal foil. In either event, however, the bag is preferably formed of two sheets I42 and 144 of air-impervious material laminated or otherwise united at their peripheries to each other to form a seam I46. As indicated above, the bag I4 is attached along its inner surface to the outer surfaces of the pad 12; this attachment may be made by means of adhesive, heat-sealing or any other laminating procedure. The seam 146 is preferably formed by heat sealing the plastic sheets I44 and I42.
Preferably the device 10 is provided on one of its exterior surfaces with an adhesive coating 20 suitable for application to the skin. It will be understood, however, that the adhesive layer 20 is not essential and that in operation the device may be taped to the skin using conventional adhesive tape.
The plastic air or oxygen pipe 18 is preferably provided along its length with a filter 22, and the free end of such air pipe 18 is adapted to be connected to a suitable source (not shown) of air or oxygen pressure, such as a tank of compressed air, oxygen or other gas, or a simple air pump or compressor. Other means may be optionally placed along the length of the air pipe 18 for insuring that the air is germ free, and such other means may include a device for feeding minute quantities of an antiseptic gas, e.g., up to I00 parts per million of ethylene oxide, or the air passing through tube 18 may be bubbled through a liquid antiseptic. Another alternative is the provision of an antiseptic in the filter 22.
It will be understood that after manufacture the device will be incorporated into a sterile package, e.g., a plastic bag the contents of which are sterilized with ethylene oxide. The devices are distributed in this form and remain sterile until they are needed for use. When needed, the device 10 is removed aseptically by the physician, foldedin half and a portion is cut out of the center such as shown in FIG. I, the opening representing the major area of the patient to be protected. If the device has the adhesive coating 20, a paper covering is removed therefrom for application to the patient; alternatively the device is merely taped to the patient so that the cutaway opening overlies the wound. Alternately, the device can be manufactured in annular form with the opening provided in the center thereof, in which case little or no cutting will be required by the physician.
After removal of the device from its sterile container and any cutting which is required, the device is then placed on the patient as indicated above. The free end of the tube I8 is connected to the source of pressurized gas and the suitable gas, preferably air, is introduced to the device as shown in FIG. 5. It will be seen best from FIG. 4 that the filtered air passes through the tube 18, around the annular plenum or space I6 and through the porous pad 12. After passage through such pad, the air then flushes over the wound 24 of the patient 26, and from there the air then moves upwardly as shown by the arrows in FIG. 4. Since the air can only travel freely upwardly,
a blanket flow is produced that results in a protective environment about the wound 24.
The material used for the pad 12, preferably a flexible polyurethane foam of the type described above, should be an open material which has an effective pore size of several microns. The porous cellular polyurethane foam structure has a geometry which is such that over a distance of 0.5 inches,
the cellular foam entraps bacteria at the low air pressures utilized and provides clean air with no measurable microbial content. Another advantage to the cellular polyurethane foam, or similar plastic foam, is that the multiple-pore structure provides a relatively unifonn distribution of air about the entire periphery of the wound.
Among the advantages of the present invention are its ability to afford substantial protection against infection; the fact that it is flat, and does not interfere with surgery; the fact that it is a very economical means of affording the desired protection for burned and open wound areas; the fact that it is sterilizable, the fact that it is usable in and out of the hospital; and the fact that the material is inert and not conductive to infection.
The foregoing description of the specific embodiments will so fully reveal the general nature of the invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily modify such specific embodiments and/or adapt them for various applications without departing from the generic concept, and, therefore, such adaptations and modifications should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the disclosed embodiments. It is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology employed herein is for purposes of description and not of limitation.
For example, it will be understood that the opening in the center may be increased or decreased in size without changing the basic diffusion characteristics within the limits of adequate introduction of air to maintain such characteristics and this is particularly true where the cellular-foam plastic pad is used. It will also be understood that the annular ring peripheral to the pad may assume an irregular or other geometrical configuration so as to conform with any necessary physical requirement. Also, the plastic pipe 18 may be introduced at other points of an attachment to the bag for purposes of convenience or for regulating airflow without altering the basic periphery-to-center airflow characteristic. Also, while the disclosed embodiment is shown as comprising but a single pad with a single annular plenum, it will be understood that several annular rings may coexist as separations in the foam plastic material with several plastic pipes being provided and so attached for the introduction of air to control the volume of airflow to the center opening.
What is claimed is:
l. A wound infection prevention device comprising a porous pad; a bag of air-impervious material encompassing said pad and attached to at least the peripheral edges of the upper and lower surfaces thereof, said bag defining an annular channel surrounding the periphery of said pad; and air inlet means penetrating said bag at said annular channel.
2. A device in accordance with claim I wherein said porous pad comprises a cellular-foam plastic material.
3. A device in accordance with claim 2 wherein said foam plastic is polyurethane.
4. A device in accordance with claim 1 wherein said bag is formed of plastic.
5. A device in accordance with claim 4 wherein said plastic bag comprises a pair of plastic sheets laminated at their peripheries to each other, and each being respectively laminated to opposite surfaces of said porous pad to effect said attachment.
6. A device in accordance with claim 5 wherein said sheets are laminated to said porous pad by means of adhesive.
7. A device in accordance with claim 1 wherein said air inlet means comprises a plastic pipe passing through said bag at said annular channel, said plastic pipe being adapted for connection at its other end to means for feeding air under pressure therethrough; and a filter disposed along the length of said plastic pipe.
8. A device in accordance with claim 1 further comprising a layer of adhesive along one outside surface of said bag.
9. A device in accordance with claim I of annular form whereby an opening is provided in the center thereof, which opening passes through both said bag and said pad.
10. A device in accordance with claim I wherein said porous pad is formed of an inert plastic foam; said bag of airimpervious material is formed of two sheets of film material laminated to one another at their peripheries and each adhesively united to said porous plastic pad; said air inlet means comprises a plastic pipe having a filter along its length and adapted for connection to a source of pressurized gas; and further comprising a layer of adhesive along the outside surface of one of said sheets of film material.
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