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1. WO2004098481 - DISPOSITIF DE SUPPORT POUR PATIENT DOTE D'UN RESEAU DE POCHES D'AIR ET PROCEDE ASSOCIE

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

Having described the invention, we claim:

1. An apparatus for supporting a patient during a medical procedure, the apparatus comprising:
a bead bag that is filled with compressible beads, the bead bag forming a lower layer of the apparatus;
a layer of foam material located above the bead bag; and
an air cell grid having a plurality of inflatable air cells, the air cell grid forming an upper layer of the apparatus and providing a soft surface upon which the patient lies,
the bead bag, when subjected to a vacuum, becomes rigid for supporting the air cell grid against the patient for helping to maximize a surface area of contact between the patient and the apparatus.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein each air cell of the air cell grid includes a base wall and an upper wall that moves away from the base wall when the air cell is inflated into an expanded condition, the upper wall, when the air cell is in the expanded condition, including surfaces that are angled relative to the base wall to provide radiologic translucency to the air cell grid.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the surfaces of the upper wall include a generally square base portion and a domed upper portion.

4. The apparatus of claim 2 further including an electrical switch for indicating a collapsed condition of an associated air cell of the air cell grid, the electrical switch including a first electrical contact that is located on the base wall of the associated air cell and a second electrical contact that is located on the upper wall of the associated air cell, the first and second electrical contacts coming into engagement with one another in response to the associated air cell moving into the collapsed condition.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the base wall and the upper wall of the associated air cell are formed from an electrically conductive material, the base wall forming the first electrical contact and the upper wall forming the second electrical contact, a layer of insulating material being interposed between the base wall and the upper wall and including cutouts for enabling engagement of the first and second electrical contacts.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the air cells of the air cell grid are divided into groups, each group including a plurality of air cells that are interconnected with one another by air channels.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein each group has an associated valve, the valve being controllable for isolating the group of air cells from other groups of the air cell grid and for placing the group of air cells in fluid communication with the other groups.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 further including a cover for surrounding the bead bag, the layer of foam material, and the air cell grid, the cover being formed from a pliable elastic material.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the pliable elastic material of the cover is gas impenetrable, gaps located between adjacent air cells of the air cell grid forming conduits for air flow through the apparatus for enabling control of an interface temperature between the patient and the apparatus.

10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the layer of foam material provides a transition between the soft surface of the air cell grid and a rigid surface of the bead bag, when the bead bag is subjected to vacuum, the transition provided by the layer of foam material helping to reduce shear experienced by the patient.

11. An apparatus for supporting a patient during a medical procedure, the apparatus comprising:
an air cell grid having a plurality of inflatable air cells, each air cell including a base wall and an upper wall, the upper wall moving away from the base wall when the air cell is inflated into an expanded condition; and an electrical switch for indicating a collapsed condition of an associated air cell of the air cell grid, the electrical switch including a first electrical contact that is located on the base wall of the associated air cell and a second electrical contact that is located on the upper wall of the associated air cell, the first and second electrical contacts coming into engagement with one another in response to the associated air cell moving into the collapsed condition.

12. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the base wall and the upper wall of the associated air cell are formed from an electrically conductive material, the base wall forming the first electrical contact and the upper wall forming the second electrical contact, a layer of insulating material being interposed between the base wall and the upper wall and including cutouts for enabling engagement of the first and second electrical contacts.

13. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein each air cell of the air cell grid includes an electrical switch for indicating the collapsed condition of the air cell.

14. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the upper wall of each air cell, when the air cell is in the expanded condition, includes surfaces that are angled relative to the base wall to provide radiologic translucency to the air cell grid.

15. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the surfaces of the upper wall include a generally square base portion and a domed upper portion.

16. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the air cells of the air cell grid are divided into groups, each group including a plurality of air cells that are interconnected with one another by air channels.

17. The apparatus of claim 16 wherein each group has an associated valve, the valve being controllable for isolating the group of air cells from other groups of the air cell grid and for placing the group of air cells in fluid communication with the other groups.

18. The apparatus of claim 11 further including a bead bag that is filled with compressible beads and a layer of foam material that is located above the bead bag, the air cell grid forming an upper layer of the apparatus and providing a soft surface upon which the patient lies, the bead bag, when subjected to a vacuum, becoming rigid for supporting the air cell grid against the patient for helping to maximize a surface area of contact between the patient and the apparatus.

19. The apparatus of claim 18 further including a cover for surrounding the bead bag, the layer of foam material, and the air cell grid, the cover being formed from a pliable elastic material.

20. The apparatus of claim 19 wherein the pliable elastic material of the cover is gas impenetrable, gaps located between adjacent air cells of the air cell grid forming conduits for air flow through the apparatus for enabling control of an interface temperature between the patient and the apparatus.

21. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein the layer of foam material provides a transition between the soft surface of the air cell grid and a rigid surface of the bead bag, when the bead bag is subjected to vacuum, the transition provided by the layer of foam material helping to reduce shear experienced by the patient.

22. A method of supporting a patient on a support structure having an air cell grid that includes a plurality of inflatable air cells, the method comprising the steps of:
inflating the air cells of the air cell grid into an expanded condition;
venting the air cells of the air cell grid to atmosphere while maintaining the air cells in the expanded condition;
isolating air cells of the air cell grid from one another and from atmosphere;
positioning the patient on the support structure above the air cell grid; and placing the air cells in fluid communication with one another to equalize air pressure throughout the air cell grid for helping to equalize an interface pressure between the patient and the support structure.

23. The method of claim 22 wherein the step of venting the air cells of the air cell grid to atmosphere while maintaining the air cells in the expanded condition further includes the step of equalizing air pressure within the air cells with atmospheric air pressure.

24. The method of claim 22 wherein the step of isolating air cells of the air cell grid from one another and from atmosphere includes closing valves associated with the air cells to prevent fluid communication with the isolated air cells.

25. The method of claim 22 wherein the step of placing the air cells in fluid communication with one another to equalize air pressure throughout the air cell grid further includes preventing fluid communication between the air cells of the air cell grid and atmosphere.

26. The method of claim 22 further including the steps of:
pulling a partial vacuum on a bead bag that is located beneath the air cell grid;
molding the bead bag to provides support to the patient; and increasing the vacuum on the bead bag to rigidify the bead bag.

27. The method of claim 22 further including the step of monitoring the air cells to determine whether an air cell has moved into a collapsed condition.