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Title:
CLEANING DEVICE WITH TAIL SWAB
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/058257
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cleaning device with tail swab having a plurality of soft elongated strips. The present invention is directed to a cleaning device with a tail swab having a plurality of soft elongated strips. In one exemplary embodiment, the cleaning device with tail swab includes a flexible leader member having a first end and a second end, a tail swab having a plurality of soft elongated strips attached to the second end of the leader member where the plurality of soft elongated strips are shorter in length than the leader member, and a polymer material covering at least a portion of the tail swab and the second end of the leader member.

Inventors:
PISACANE, Ferdinand Frederick (4756 Caminito Diablo, San Diego, California, 92130, US)
STRAUSS, Michael (7755 Yardley Drive, Tamarac, Florida, 33321, US)
Application Number:
US2015/053792
Publication Date:
April 06, 2017
Filing Date:
October 02, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FOAMTEC INTERNATIONAL CO., LTD (1621 Ord Way, Oceanside, California, 92056, US)
International Classes:
B08B1/00
Foreign References:
US20140250614A12014-09-11
US20140237748A12014-08-28
US8176592B12012-05-15
US1164665A1915-12-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZEMAN-MULLEN, Laura (Zeman-Mullen & Ford, LLP233 White Spar Roa, Prescott Arizona, 86303, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
A cleaning device with tail swab comprising:

an elongated flexible leader member having a first end and a second end; a tail swab having a plurality of soft elongated strips that are shorter in length than the leader member wherein the tail swab is attached to the second end of the leader member; and

a polymer material covering at least a portion of the tail swab and the second end of the leader member.

The cleaning device of claim 1 wherein a separate polymer material also covers the first end of the leader member.

The cleaning device of claim 1 wherein the tail swab comprises a single soft strip that is cut at opposite ends to form the plurality of soft elongated strips which are separated by a continuous middle portion of the single soft strip.

The cleaning device of claim 3 wherein a width of the continuous middle portion of the single soft strip is smaller than a width of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips.

The cleaning device of claim 3 wherein a length of the continuous middle portion of the single soft strip is smaller than a length of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips.

The device of claim 3 wherein the second end of the leader member comprises a hook member and the continuous middle portion of the single soft strip of the tail swab is positioned within the hook member of the leader member.

The cleaning device of claim 1 wherein the leader member comprises a wire coated with a polymer.

The cleaning device of claim 1 wherein the polymer material comprises a heat shrink polymer tube member.

The cleaning device of claim 1 wherein the tail swab comprises at least one of a foam material and/or a microfiber material. The cleaning device of claim 1 wherein the plurality of soft elongated strips are at least 100 millimeters in length.

The cleaning device of claim 10 wherein the elongated leader member is at least one meter in length.

A cleaning device with tail swab comprising:

an elongated leader member having opposite ends wherein the leader member is at least one meter in length;

a tail swab comprising a plurality of soft elongated strips that are shorter in length than the leader member wherein the tail swab is attached to an end of the leader member.

The cleaning device of claim 12 further comprising a polymer material that covers at least a portion of the tail swab and the end of the leader member where the tail swab is attached and the end of the leader member opposite where the tail swab is attached.

The cleaning device of claim 12 wherein the tail swab comprises a single soft strip that is cut at opposite ends to form the plurality of soft elongated strips which are separated by a continuous middle portion of the single soft strip.

The cleaning device of claim 14 wherein a width of the continuous middle portion of the single soft strip is smaller than a width of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips.

The cleaning device of claim 14 wherein a length of the continuous middle portion of the single soft strip is smaller than a length of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips.

The cleaning device of claim 14 wherein the end of the leader member where the tail swab is attached comprises a hook member and the continuous middle portion of the single soft strip of the tail swab is positioned within the hook member of the leader member.

The cleaning device of claim 12 wherein the leader member comprises a wire coated with a polymer.

19. The cleaning device of claim 12 wherein the tail swab comprises at least one of a foam material and/or a microfiber material.

20. A method for making a cleaning device with tail swab comprising the steps of:

providing an elongated leader member having opposite ends and folding one end of the leader member so that it forms a hook like shape;

cutting a single elongated strip of soft material to form a plurality of soft elongated strips separated by a continuous middle portion;

positioning the continuous middle portion of the single elongated strip within the hook like shape at the end of the leader member; and

coating at least a portion of the continuous middle portion of the single elongated strip and the hook like shape at the end of the leader member with a polymer.

Description:
CLEANING DEVICE WITH TAIL SWAB

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a cleaning device having an elongated tail swab that is especially useful for cleaning surgical instruments and medical devices. More particularly, the present invention relates to a cleaning device which includes an elongated flexible leader member, a tail swab having a plurality of soft elongated strips attached to one end of the leader member, and a polymer material covering at least a portion of the tail swab and the end of the leader member where the tail swab member is attached to the leader member.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Medical devices and medical instruments are becoming more sophisticated and much smaller thereby enabling surgeons to reach remote parts of the body without the need for open surgery which exposes a much larger part of the body to the risk of outside infections. In addition, using these instruments results in lowering the complications of surgery and speeding up the recovery time for patients. However, these devices and instruments must be cleaned and decontaminated after use so that they can be reused in future procedures. This cleaning and decontamination process is often called reprocessing.

Reprocessing medical instruments and devices can become difficult with the newest and latest devices which often include miniscule channels and crevices that can be impossible to see and troublesome to access. In addition, the instruments and devices sometimes fail to come with adequate cleaning instructions or include cleaning instructions that are confusing and onerous to follow. As a result, many of these instruments and devices are reused without proper cleaning which can lead to severe risks for patients.

A University of Michigan study analyzed the cleanliness of 350 suction tips used to vacuum up fluids during surgery and found that 95 percent of them still contained debris after routine reprocessing. In another study, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted an investigation into seven individuals who contracted surgical-site bacterial infections after having knee or shoulder arthroscopy in a Houston hospital. The CDC found that the arthroscopic shavers that were used for the procedures contained residual bits of body tissue. Endoscopes and cannulas are even more worrisome to infectious disease experts in that millions of surgical procedures are performed each year using these instruments.

Surgical instruments like endoscopes and cannulas are typically cleaned with twisted metal wire brushes and pipe cleaning type devices. However, these types of cleaning devices can cause major problems including incomplete cleaning, damage to medical devices and instruments resulting from scratching, and metal fibers and other types of cleaning fibers left inside the instruments after cleaning. In addition, these types of cleaning devices are high in cost to produce and therefore need to be reused, thereby carrying the attendant risks of cross contamination.

Accordingly, there is a need for a simple,, low cost cleaning device which overcomes these obstacles. There is also a particular need for a simple, low cost device specifically designed for cleaning medical instruments and medical devices such as endoscopes and cannulas without the risk of damaging the instruments and further risking infection to patients.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a cleaning device with a tail swab having a plurality of soft elongated strips. In one exemplary embodiment, the cleaning device with tail swab includes a flexible leader member having a first end and a second end, a tail swab having a plurality of soft elongated strips attached to the second end of the leader member where the plurality of soft elongated strips are shorter in length than the leader member, and a polymer material covering at least a portion of the tail swab and the second end of the leader member. A separate polymer material may also cover the first end of the leader member and this polymer material may be comprised of the same polymer material that covers the second end of the leader member and at least a portion of the tail swab.

One exemplary embodiment of the tail swab includes a single strip of soft material that is cut at opposite ends to form a plurality of soft elongated strips which are separated by a continuous middle portion of the single strip of soft material. The width of the continuous middle portion of the single strip of soft material may be smaller than the width of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips and the length of the continuous middle portion of the single strip of soft material may be smaller than the length of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips. In another exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device with tail swab, the leader member is at least one meter in length and the plurality of elongated strips are at least 100 millimeters in length.

The second end of the leader member that is attached to the tail swab may be folded to form a hook like member and the continuous middle portion of the single strip of soft; material may be positioned within the hook like member. The leader member may comprise a wire coated with a polymer and the tail swab may comprise a foam material and/or a microfiber material. The polymer material that covers at least a portion of the tail swab and the second end of the leader member may be a heat shrink polymer tube member and a separate heat shrink polymer tube member may also be used as the polymer that covers the first end of the leader member.

In still another exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device with tail swab, the cleaning device includes an elongated leader member having opposite ends where the leader member is at least one meter in length and a tail swab having a plurality of soft elongated strips that are shorter in length than the leader member where the tail swab is attached to an end of the leader member. A polymer material may cover at least a portion of the tail swab and the end of the leader member where the tail swab is attached as well as the end of the leader member opposite where the tail member is attached. The tail swab may comprise a single soft strip that is cut to form a plurality of soft elongated strips that are separated by a continuous middle portion of the single soft strip. The width of the continuous middle portion of the single soft strip may be smaller than the width of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips and the length of the continuous middle portion of the soft single strip may be smaller than the length of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips.

The end of the leader member where the tail member is attached may comprise a hook like shape or hook member where the continuous middle portion of the single soft strip is positioned within the hook member. The leader member may comprise a wire coated with a polymer and the tail swab may comprise a foam material and/or a microfiber material.

The present invention is also directed to a method for making a cleaning device with tail swab. In one exemplary embodiment, the method for making the cleaning device with tail swab includes the steps of providing an elongated leader member having opposite ends and folding one end of the leader member so it forms a hook like shape, cutting a single elongated strip of material to form a plurality of soft elongated strips separated by a continuous middle portion, positioning the continuous middle portion of the single elongated strip within the hook like shape of the leader member, and coating at least a portion of the continuous middle portion of the single elongated strip and the hook like shape at the end of the leader member with a polymer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject invention will hereinafter be described in conjunction with the appended drawing figures, wherein like numerals denote like elements, and

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device with tail swab of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of the exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device with tail swab shown in FIG. 1 with the flexible leader member and tail swab both shown extended to a straight position;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device with tail swab shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a rear elevational view of the exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device with tail swab shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of an exemplary embodiment of the tail swab of the cleaning device with tail swab of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a magnified view of a portion of the exemplary embodiment of the tail swab shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of another exemplary embodiment of the tail swab of the cleaning device with tail swab of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a magnified view of a portion of the exemplary embodiment of the tail swab shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view showing attachment of the tail swab shown in FIG. 5 to a leader member of the cleaning device with tail swab of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is the top plan view shown in FIG. 9 with the addition of a polymer shrink tube member placed over the leader member;

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of the exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device with tail swab shown in FIG. 2; FIG. 12 is an opposite side elevational view of the cleaning device with tail swab shown in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 13 is a magnified view of a portion of the exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device with tail swab shown in FIG. 11.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The cleaning device with tail swab of the present invention generally provides a flexible leader member and a tail swab having a plurality of soft elongated strips attached to an end of the leader member. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab of the present invention. Cleaning device 10 with tail swab includes an elongated flexible leader member 12 having a first end 14 and a second end 16, a tail swab 18 having a plurality of soft elongated strips 20 attached to the second end 16 of the elongated flexible leader member 12, and a polymer material 22 covering at least a portion of the tail swab 18 and the second end 16 of the elongated flexible leader member 12. A separate polymer material 24 may cover the first end 14 of the elongated flexible leader member 12 to enable the first end 14 to be inserted into and pushed through a medical device or surgical instrument without scratching or damaging the interior of the medical device or surgical instrument. Once the first end 14 is pushed through and to the outside of a medical device or surgical instrument, the cleaning device 10 with tail swab can be pulled through the interior of the medical device or surgical instrument by pulling on first end 14 thereby enabling the length of the elongated flexible leader member 12 and the tail swab 18, including its plurality of soft elongated strips 20, to be pulled through the medical device or surgical instrument to clean the interior of the medical device or surgical instrument. The plurality of soft elongated strips 20 of tail swab 18 enable effective, efficient and non- abrasive cleaning of the interior of any medical device or surgical instrument that contains a channel or channels that are inaccessible for cleaning.

Leader member 12 may be comprised of any flexible material that has reduced potential for contamination. For example, leader member 12 may be comprised of a flexible metal covered with a polymer material. One such non-limiting example is a leader member comprising a stainless steel wire coated with a nylon material. Leader member 12 may comprise a rod-like shape and all or a portion of leader member 12 may be colored to effect color coding of different embodiments of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab, namely embodiments with different leader member lengths, embodiments with different tail swab lengths, and embodiments with different tail swab configurations. Tail swab 18 may be comprised of any type of soft absorbent material such as, but not limited to, a foam material and/or a cloth type material. One particularly effective material for tail swab 18 is a continuous filament micro denier, soft polyester/nylon textile woven from an abrasion resistant fabric. It may also have a nonsymmetrical micro fiber structure. The polymer material 22 and separate polymer material 24 may each comprise a heat shrink polymer tube that can be easily placed over flexible leader member 12 and then heated to conform to the shape of the end of the leader member and/or the shape of the tail swab that is covered by the polymer material to form a good mechanical connection that is adhesive free. In addition, instead of a heat shrink polymer tube, the polymer material may comprise an elastomeric material that can be over molded on top of the leader member 12, ends 14, 16 of the leader member 12, and/or tail swab 18 to form a good, non-adhesive, mechanical connection.

FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of the exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab shown in FIG. 1 with the flexible leader member 12 and tail swab 18 both shown extended to a straight position. The length of the tail swab 18 and the plurality of soft elongated strips 20 of tail swab 18 are shorter than the length of the flexible leader member 12. The leader member 12 may have any length that is longer than the tail swab 18 and that is also long enough to be pushed through a channel or interior of a medical device or surgical instrument so that its opposite ends can remain outside the medical device or surgical instrument after one of its ends has been pushed through the medical device or surgical instrument. One particularly useful length for the flexible leader member 12 is a length that is at least one meter. Another exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab may have a flexible leader member that is at least two meters in length depending on the device or instrument to be cleaned.

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 4 is a rear elevational view of the exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab shown in FIG. 2. As can be seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, the width of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips 20 of tail swab 18 may be larger than the diameter of the flexible leader member 12.

A top plan view of an exemplary embodiment of the tail swab 18 of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab of the present invention is shown in FIG. 5. In this exemplary embodiment, tail swab 18 is made from a single strip 30 of a soft material that is cut at opposite ends 32, 34 of the single strip 30 to form the plurality of soft elongated strips 20 which are separated by a continuous middle portion 36 of single strip 30. It will be understood by those skilled in the art that the opposite ends 32, 34 of single strip 30 may be cut inward from their opposite ends to form any number and length of the plurality of soft elongated strips 20. It will also be understood by those skilled in the art that single strip 30 may start out as a strip of material having a continuous length and width that is later machine cut to form the plurality of soft elongated strips 20 and the continuous middle portion 36 so that the continuous middle portion 36 has a smaller width than each of the plurality of soft elongated strips 20. Moreover, single strip 30 may not be cut at all and may simply be used to form two soft elongated strips 20 of tail swab 18 by connecting the middle of the single strip 30 to an end of leader member 12 or by folding single strip 30 in half and connecting the folded portion of the single strip 30 to an end of leader member 12. It will also be understood by those skilled in the art that, although not as potentially contaminate free and/or particle free, another method may be used to create the plurality of soft elongated strips 20, namely separately cutting and/or forming a plurality of soft strips 20 and then attaching an end of each of those strips 20 to an end of leader member 12. In one exemplary embodiment of the plurality of soft elongated strip members 20, the length of the plurality of soft elongated strip members 20 in any of the exemplary embodiments of the tail swab 18 may be at least 100 millimeters long. In another exemplary embodiment of the plurality of soft elongated strip members 20, the length of the plurality of soft elongated strip members 20 in any of the exemplary embodiments of the tail swab 18 may be at least 200 millimeters long.

FIG. 6 is a magnified view of a portion of the exemplary embodiment of the tail swab 18 shown in FIG. 5. As can be seen from this exemplary embodiment, width A of continuous middle portion 36 of single strip 30 is smaller than width B of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips 20 of single strip 30. In one exemplary embodiment width A is 2.5 millimeters and width B is 5.0 millimeters. Length Y of continuous middle portion 36 of single strip 30 may be equal to, less than , or greater than length Z which is the length from the end of continuous middle portion 36 of single strip 20 to the beginning of each separate plurality of elongated strips 20. In one exemplary embodiment length Y may be 10 millimeters and length Z may be 10 millimeters. In another exemplary embodiment, length Y may be 10 millimeters and length Z may be 20 millimeters. A top plan view of another exemplary embodiment of the tail swab 48 of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab of the present invention is shown in FIG. 7. In this exemplary embodiment, tail swab 48 is made from a single strip 40 of a soft material that is cut in the middle to form the plurality of soft elongated strips 20 which are separated by a continuous middle portion 46 of single strip 40. The continuous middle portion 46 has a smaller width than each of the plurality of soft elongated strips 20. Moreover, in a different exemplary embodiment, single strip 30 may not be cut at all and may simply be used to form two soft elongated strips 20 of tail swab 48 by connecting the middle of the single strip 40 to an end of leader member 12 or by folding single strip 40 in half and connecting the folded portion of the single strip 40 to an end of leader member 12. In this different embodiment, the continuous middle portion 46 would have a width equal to the width of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips 20. It will also be understood by those skilled in the art that, although not as potentially contaminate free and/or particle free, another method may be used to create the plurality of soft elongated strips 20, namely separately cutting and/or forming a plurality of soft strips 20 and then attaching an end of each of those strips 20 to an end of leader member 12. As previously mentioned above, in one exemplary embodiment of the plurality of soft elongated strip members 20, the length of the plurality of soft elongated strip members 20 in any of the exemplary embodiments of the tail swab 18 may be at least 100 millimeters long. Further, as previously mentioned above, in another exemplary embodiment of the plurality of soft elongated strip members 20, the length of the plurality of soft elongated strip members 20 in any of the exemplary embodiments of the tail swab 18 may be at least 200 millimeters long.

FIG. 8 is a magnified view of a portion of the exemplary embodiment of the tail swab 48 shown in FIG. 7. As can be seen from this exemplary embodiment, width C of continuous middle portion 46 of single strip 40 is smaller than width D of each of the plurality of soft elongated strips 20 of single strip 40. In one exemplary embodiment width A may be 2.5 millimeters and width B may be 3.0 millimeters. Length Y of continuous middle portion 46 of single strip 30 may be 10 millimeters.

FIG. 9 is a top plan view showing attachment of the tail swab 18 shown in FIG. 5 to a leader member 12 of the cleaning device with tail swab of the present invention and FIG. 10 is the top plan view shown in FIG. 9 with the addition of a polymer material 22 in the form of a polymer shrink tube member placed over the leader member 12. Flexible leader member 12 has a first end (not shown) and a second end 16. Second end 16 of leader member 12 is folded or bent to form a hook like shape or hook like member 27. Continuous middle portion 36 of the single strip 30 of tail member 18 is positioned within the hook like member 27. A polymer material 22 such as polymer shrink tube member 29 is placed on leader member 12 by inserting lead member 12 through the polymer shrink tube member 29 as shown in FIG. 10. After the continuous middle portion 36 of the single strip 30 of tail member 18 is positioned within the hook like member 27, the polymer shrink tube member 29 is slid down over the hook like member 27 and the continuous middle portion 36 thereby pushing the plurality of soft elongated strips 20 in a direction away from leader member 12. The polymer shrink tube member 29 can then be heated to form a good, non-adhesive, mechanical connection of the tail swab 18 to the leader member 12. It will also be understood by those skilled in the art that, instead of a heat shrink polymer tube, the polymer material 22 and separate polymer material 24 may comprise an elastomeric material that can be over molded on top of the leader member 12, ends 14, 16 of the leader member 12, and/or tail swab 18 to form a good, non-adhesive, mechanical connection.

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of the exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 12 is an opposite side elevational view of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab shown in FIG. 2. FIG. 13 is a magnified view of a portion of the exemplary embodiment of the cleaning device 10 with tail swab shown in FIG. 11 that clearly shows the non-adhesive, mechanical connection of the lead member 12 to the tail swab 18 having a plurality of soft elongated strips 20 by way of using the polymer material 22, exemplary embodiments of which have been previously described above.

The present invention is also directed to a method for making a cleaning device with tail swab. In one exemplary embodiment, the method for making the cleaning device with tail swab includes the steps of providing an elongated leader member having opposite ends and folding one end of the leader member so it forms a hook like shape, cutting a single elongated strip of material to form a plurality of soft elongated strips separated by a continuous middle portion, positioning the continuous middle portion of the single elongated strip within the hook like shape of the leader member, and coating at least a portion of the continuous middle portion of the single elongated strip and the hook like shape at the end of the leader member with a polymer. The method may also include covering the end of the leader member opposite the hook like shape end of the leader member with a separate polymer material. The detailed description of exemplary embodiments of the invention herein shows various exemplary embodiments of the invention. These exemplary embodiments and modes are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention and are not intended to limit the scope, applicability, or configuration of the invention in any way. Rather, the following disclosure is intended to teach both the implementation of the exemplary embodiments and modes and any equivalent modes or embodiments that are known or obvious to those reasonably skilled in the art. Additionally, all included examples are non-limiting illustrations of the exemplary embodiments and modes, which similarly avail themselves to any equivalent modes or embodiments that are known or obvious to those reasonably skilled in the art.

Other combinations and/or modifications of structures, arrangements, applications, proportions, elements, materials, or components used in the practice of the instant invention, in addition to those not specifically recited, can be varied or otherwise particularly adapted to specific environments, manufacturing specifications, design parameters, or other operating requirements without departing from the scope of the instant invention and are intended to be included in this disclosure.

Unless specifically noted, it is the Applicant's intent that the words and phrases in the specification and the claims be given the commonly accepted generic meaning or an ordinary and accustomed meaning used by those of ordinary skill in the applicable arts. In the instance where these meanings differ, the words and phrases in the specification and the claims should be given the broadest possible, generic meaning. If any other special meaning is intended for any word or phrase, the specification will clearly state and define the special meaning.