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Title:
DELIVERY-AND-FLUID-STORAGE BRIDGES FOR USE WITH REDUCED-PRESSURE SYSTEMS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/115908
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Systems, methods, and apparatuses are presented that facilitate the provision of reduced pressure to a tissue site by using a delivery-and- fluid- storage bridge (102), which separates liquids and gases and provides a flow path for reduced pressure. In one instance, a delivery-and- fluid- storage bridge includes a delivery manifold for delivering reduced pressure to a treatment manifold at the tissue site and an absorbent layer proximate the delivery manifold adapted to receive and absorb liquids. The delivery manifold and the absorbent layer are encapsulated in an encapsulating pouch. A first aperture is formed proximate a first longitudinal end (110) of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge for fluidly communicating reduced pressure to the delivery manifold from a reduced-pressure source (120), and a second aperture is formed on a patient-facing side of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge. Reduced pressure is transferred to the tissue site via the second aperture. Other systems, apparatuses, and methods are disclosed.

Inventors:
COULTHARD, Richard, Daniel John (6 Acorn Way, Verwood, Dorset BH31 6LL, 6LL, GB)
LOCKE, Christopher, Brian (6 Bosworth Mews, Bournemouth, Dorset BH9 35D, 35D, GB)
INGRAM, Shannon (30155 Bridlegate Drive, Bulverde, TX, 78163, US)
ROBINSON, Timothy, Mark (27 Wellington Terrace, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG23 8HH, 8HH, GB)
Application Number:
US2011/028344
Publication Date:
September 22, 2011
Filing Date:
March 14, 2011
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KCI LICENSING, INC. (Legal Department - Intellectual Property, P.O. Box 659508San Antonio, TX, 78265-9508, US)
COULTHARD, Richard, Daniel John (6 Acorn Way, Verwood, Dorset BH31 6LL, 6LL, GB)
LOCKE, Christopher, Brian (6 Bosworth Mews, Bournemouth, Dorset BH9 35D, 35D, GB)
INGRAM, Shannon (30155 Bridlegate Drive, Bulverde, TX, 78163, US)
ROBINSON, Timothy, Mark (27 Wellington Terrace, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG23 8HH, 8HH, GB)
International Classes:
A61M1/00
Domestic Patent References:
2008-12-31
2008-12-31
Foreign References:
US20080271804A12008-11-06
US20080195017A12008-08-14
DE102008020553A12008-10-30
US20080271804A12008-11-06
Other References:
See also references of EP 2547375A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WELCH, Gerald, T. et al. (SNR Denton US LLP, P.O. Box 061080 Wacker Drive Station,Willis Towe, Chicago IL, 60606, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

We claim:

Claim 1. A reduced-pressure treatment system for applying reduced pressure to a tissue site on a patient, the reduced-pressure treatment system comprising:

a reduced-pressure source for supplying reduced pressure;

a treatment manifold for placing proximate the tissue site and adapted to distribute reduced pressure to the tissue site;

a sealing member for placing over the tissue site, wherein the sealing member is adapted to form a fluid seal, and wherein the sealing member has a treatment aperture; and

a delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge having a first longitudinal end and a second longitudinal end and a first side and a second, patient-facing side, the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge wherein the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge at least partially fluidly couples the treatment manifold and the reduced-pressure source, the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge comprising: a delivery manifold extending along a length of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge for delivering reduced pressure through the delivery- and-fluid-storage bridge, the delivery manifold comprising a first material,

an absorbent layer proximate the delivery manifold and adapted to receive, absorb, and store liquids within the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge, the absorbent layer comprising a second material, and wherein the first material and the second material have differing properties, a first encapsulating layer and a second encapsulating layer at least partially enclosing the delivery manifold and the absorbent layer,

wherein a first aperture is formed on the first side of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge proximate the first longitudinal end, the first aperture is fluidly coupled to the reduced-pressure source, and

wherein a second aperture is formed on the second side of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge proximate the second longitudinal end, the second aperture is fluidly coupled to the treatment manifold over the treatment aperture in the sealing member.

Claim 2. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1, further comprising:

a reduced-pressure interface that is fluidly coupled to the first aperture; and at least one supply conduit fluidly coupled to the reduced-pressure interface and the reduced-pressure source.

Claim 3. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or claim 2, further

comprising an adhesive member proximate the second aperture on the patient-facing side of the second encapsulating layer. Claim 4. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or claim 2 or claim 3,

wherein the absorbent layer comprises a capillary-containing material.

Claim 5. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or any of claims 2-4, wherein the first material comprises a non-absorbent material and the second material comprises a highly-absorbent material. Claim 6. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the first material comprises a material with a plurality of flow channels that distribute fluids and the second material comprises at least one of the following: capillary-containing material, super absorbent fibers, hydrofibers, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, alginate, and sodium polyacrylate. Claim 7. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or any of claims 2-6, wherein the reduced-pressure source comprises a micro-pump.

Claim 8. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or any of claims 2-6, wherein the reduced-pressure source comprises a micro-pump, and wherein the micro-pump is a piezoelectric pump coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge.

Claim 9. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or any of claims 2-6, wherein the reduced-pressure source comprises a micro-pump; wherein the micro-pump is a piezoelectric pump coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge; and a remote battery coupled to the piezoelectric pump.

Claim 10. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or any of claims 2-6, wherein the reduced-pressure source comprises a micro-pump; wherein the micro-pump is a piezoelectric pump coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge; and wherein the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge further comprises a separation portion proximate the first longitudinal end inboard of the reduced-pressure source.

Claim 1 1. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or any preceding claim, further comprising a hydrophobic filter proximate the first aperture for preventing fluids from exiting the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge.

Claim 12. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or any preceding claim, wherein the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge has a reservoir portion with a plan view surface area Ai and a placement portion with a plan view surface area A2, and wherein Ai > A2.

Claim 13. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or any preceding claim, further comprising a battery associated with the reduced-pressure source.

Claim 14. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or any preceding claim, wherein the first encapsulating layer and the second encapsulating layer are formed from an integral piece of polyurethane.

Claim 15. The reduced-pressure treatment system of claim 1 or any preceding claim, wherein there is no canister fluidly coupled between the reduced-pressure source and the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge.

Claim 16. A delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge for use with a reduced-pressure treatment system, the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge comprising:

a delivery manifold extending along a length of the delivery-and-fluid-storage

bridge for delivering reduced pressure through the delivery-and- fluid- storage bridge;

an absorbent layer proximate the delivery manifold adapted to receive and store fluids;

wherein the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge has a first side and a second, patient- facing side;

a first encapsulating layer and a second encapsulating layer at least partially

enclosing the delivery manifold and the absorbent layer;

a first aperture formed proximate the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge for fluidly communicating reduced pressure to the delivery manifold from a reduced-pressure source; and

a second aperture formed on the second, patient-facing side of the second

encapsulating layer for transmitting reduced pressure to a tissue site.

Claim 17. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 16, wherein the delivery

manifold comprises a non-absorbent material and the absorbent layer comprises is a highly-absorbent material. Claim 18. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 16 or claim 17, wherein the delivery manifold comprises a material with a plurality of flow channels that distribute fluids and the absorbent layer comprises at least one of the following: capillary-containing material, super absorbent fibers, hydrofibers, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, alginate, and sodium polyacrylate. Claim 19. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 16 or claim 17 or claim 18, further comprising an adhesive member proximate the second aperture on the patient- facing side of the second encapsulating layer.

Claim 20. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 16 or claim 17 or claim 18 or claim 19, wherein the absorbent layer comprises a capillary-containing material. Claim 21. The delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge of claim 16 or any of claims 17-20, further comprising a hydrophobic filter proximate the first aperture for preventing fluids from exiting the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge.

Claim 22. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 16 or any of claims 17-21, wherein the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge has a reservoir portion with a plan view surface area Ai and a placement portion with a plan view surface area A2, and wherein Ai > A2.

Claim 23. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 16 or any of claims 17-22, wherein the first encapsulating layer and the second encapsulating layer are formed from an integral piece of polyurethane.

Claim 24. A delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge for use with a reduced-pressure treatment system, the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge comprising:

a plurality of delivery manifolds extending along a length of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge for delivering reduced pressure to a tissue site;

an absorbent layers adapted to receive and absorb fluids;

wherein the absorbent layer is disposed between at least two delivery manifolds of the plurality of delivery manifolds; and

an encapsulating pouch encapsulating the plurality of delivery manifolds and the absorbent layer, the encapsulating pouch comprising:

a first encapsulating layer and a second encapsulating layer at least partially enclosing the plurality of delivery manifolds and the absorbent layer, the second encapsulating layer comprising the second, patient-facing side of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge, a first aperture formed on the first encapsulating layer proximate the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge for fluidly communicating reduced pressure to the delivery manifolds from a reduced-pressure source, and

a second aperture formed on a patient- facing side of the second

encapsulating layer for transmitting reduced pressure to the tissue site. Claim 25. The delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge of claim 24, wherein the absorbent layer comprises a capillary-containing material.

Claim 26. The delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or claim 25, wherein the plurality of delivery manifolds comprises a plurality of foam members.

Claim 27. The delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or claim 25 or claim 26, further comprising a micro-pump coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge.

Claim 28. The delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or claim 25 or claim 26, further comprising a micro-pump coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge and wherein the micro-pump comprises a piezoelectric pump coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge.

Claim 29. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or claim 25 or claim 26, further comprising a micro-pump coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge; wherein the micro-pump comprises a piezoelectric pump coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge; and a remote battery coupled to the piezoelectric pump.

Claim 30. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or claim 25 or claim 26, further comprising a micro-pump fluidly coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge; wherein the micro-pump comprises a piezoelectric pump; and a remote battery coupled to and proximate to the piezoelectric pump.

Claim 31. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or any of claims 25-30, further comprising a separation portion formed proximate the first longitudinal end inboard of the first aperture. Claim 32. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or any of claims 25-31 , further comprising an adhesive member proximate the second aperture on the patient- facing side of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge. Claim 33. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or any of claims 25-32, further comprising a hydrophobic filter proximate the first aperture.

Claim 34. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or any of claims 25-33, wherein the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge has a reservoir portion with a plan view surface area Ai and a placement portion with a plan view surface area A2, and wherein Ai

> A2.

Claim 35. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or any of claims 25-33 or 36- 37, further comprising a wicking layer coupled to the patient- facing side of the second encapsulating layer. Claim 36. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or any of claims 25-35 or 37, further comprising an odor-control layer disposed within the encapsulated pouch.

Claim 37. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge of claim 24 or any of claims 25-36, further comprising a conduit disposed within the encapsulated pouch.

Claim 38. A method for treating a tissue site utilizing a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge, the method comprising:

placing a treatment manifold proximate the tissue site;

providing a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge, the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge comprises:

a delivery manifold extending along a length of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge for delivering reduced pressure to the tissue site, the delivery manifold comprising a first material, an absorbent layer proximate the delivery manifold adapted to receive and store fluids, wherein the absorbent layer comprises a second material, and

an encapsulating pouch encapsulating the delivery manifold and the

absorbent layer, the encapsulating pouch comprising:

a first encapsulating layer and a second encapsulating layer at least partially enclosing the delivery manifold and the absorbent layer;

a first aperture formed proximate the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge for fluidly communicating reduced pressure to the delivery manifold from a reduced- pressure source, and

a second aperture formed on the patient- facing side of the second encapsulating layer for transmitting reduced pressure to the tissue site;

placing the second longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge

proximate the treatment manifold;

applying a reduced pressure to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge through the first aperture;

communicating the reduced pressure through the delivery manifold to a second longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge; applying the reduced pressure through the second aperture to the treatment manifold proximate the tissue site;

receiving fluids through the second aperture from the tissue site; and

wicking liquids extracted from the tissue site through the second longitudinal end into the absorbent layer positioned proximate the delivery manifold.

Claim 39. The method of claim 38, further comprising using an adhesive to fluidly seal the second longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge over the tissue site. Claim 40. The method of claim 38, further comprising placing a sealing member over the treatment manifold.

Claim 41. The method of claim 38, wherein the step of applying a reduced pressure to the first longitudinal end comprises supplying reduced pressure from a reduced-pressure source to the first longitudinal end and wherein there is no canister between the reduced- pressure source and the first longitudinal end.

Claim 42. The method of claim 38, wherein the absorbent layer comprises a capillary- containing material.

Claim 43. The method of claim 38, wherein the first material comprises a non-absorbent material and the second material comprises a highly-absorbent material. Claim 44. The method of claim 38, wherein the first material comprises a material with a plurality of flow channels that distribute fluids and the second material comprises at least one of the following: capillary-containing material, super absorbent fibers, hydrofibers, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, alginate, and sodium polyacrylate. Claim 45. The method of claim 38, wherein the step of wicking liquids extracted from the tissue site comprises wicking the liquids into the absorbent layer and storing substantially all the liquids received in the absorbent layer.

Claim 46. The method of claim 38, wherein step of wicking liquids extracted from the tissue site comprises wicking the liquids into the absorbent layer and storing substantially all the liquids received in the absorbent layer, and further comprising signaling when the absorbent layer is full.

Claim 47. A method of manufacturing a delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge comprising:

providing a delivery manifold;

placing an absorbent layer proximate the delivery manifold;

encapsulating the delivery manifold and the absorbent layer in an encapsulated pouch, the encapsulating pouch comprising a first encapsulating layer and a second encapsulating layer at least partially enclosing the delivery manifold and the absorbent layer, the second encapsulating layer comprising the second, patient- facing side of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge;

forming a first aperture proximate the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge for fluidly communicating reduced pressure to the delivery manifold from a reduced-pressure source; and

forming a second aperture on the patient- facing side of the second encapsulating layer for transmitting reduced pressure to a tissue site. Claim 48. The method of manufacturing of claim 47, wherein the absorbent layer

comprises a capillary-containing material.

Claim 49. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or claim 48, wherein the delivery manifold comprises a plurality of foam members.

Claim 50. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or claim 48 or claim 49, further comprising coupling a micro-pump to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge.

Claim 51. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or claim 48 or claim 49, further comprising coupling a micro-pump to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge and wherein the micro-pump comprises a piezoelectric pump coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge.

Claim 52. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or claim 48 or claim 49, further comprising coupling a micro-pump to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge; wherein the micro-pump comprises a piezoelectric pump coupled to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge; and coupling a remote battery to the piezoelectric pump.

Claim 53. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or any of claims 48-52, further comprising forming a separation portion of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge proximate the first longitudinal end and inboard of the first aperture. Claim 54. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or any of claims 48-53, further comprising applying an adhesive member proximate the second aperture on the patient- facing side of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge.

Claim 55. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or any of claims 48-54, further comprising placing a hydrophobic filter proximate the first aperture. Claim 56. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or any of claims 48-55, wherein the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge has a reservoir portion with a plan view surface area Ai and a placement portion with a plan view surface area A2, and wherein Ai > A2.

Claim 57. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or any of claims 48-56, further comprising coupling a wicking layer to the patient- facing side of the second encapsulating layer.

Claim 58. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or any of claims 48-57, further comprising disposing an odor-control layer within the encapsulated pouch. Claim 59. The method of manufacturing of claim 47 or any of claims 48-58, further comprising disposing a conduit within the encapsulated pouch.

Description:
TITLE OF THE INVENTION

DELIVERY-AND-FLUID-STORAGE BRIDGES FOR USE WITH REDUCED- PRESSURE SYSTEMS

RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] The present invention claims the benefit, under 35 USC § 119(e), of the filing of U.S. Provisional Patent Application serial number 61/314,299, entitled "Delivery-and- Fluid-Storage Bridges For Use With Reduced-Pressure Systems," filed March 16, 2010, which is incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.

BACKGROUND

[0002] The present disclosure relates generally to medical treatment systems and, more particularly, but not by way of limitation, to delivery-and-fluid-storage bridges and pumps for use with or as an aspect of reduced-pressure treatment systems.

[0003] Clinical studies and practice have shown that providing a reduced pressure in proximity to a tissue site augments and accelerates the growth of new tissue at the tissue site. The applications of this phenomenon are numerous, but application of reduced pressure has been particularly successful in treating wounds. This treatment (frequently referred to in the medical community as "negative pressure wound therapy," "reduced pressure therapy," or "vacuum therapy") provides a number of benefits, which may include faster healing and increased formulation of granulation tissue. Typically, reduced pressure is applied to tissue through a porous pad or other manifold device. The porous pad distributes reduced pressure to the tissue and channels fluids that are drawn from the tissue.

SUMMARY

[0004] According to an illustrative embodiment, a reduced-pressure treatment system for applying reduced pressure to a tissue site on a patient includes a reduced-pressure source for supplying reduced pressure, a treatment manifold for placing proximate the tissue site and adapted to distribute reduced pressure to the tissue site, a sealing member for placing over the tissue site and adapted to form a fluid seal over the tissue site and treatment manifold. The sealing member has a treatment aperture. The system further includes a delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge having a first longitudinal end and a second longitudinal end and a first side and a second, patient-facing side. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge includes a delivery manifold extending along a length of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge for delivering reduced pressure to the treatment manifold, an absorbent layer proximate the delivery manifold is adapted to receive and absorb fluids. The delivery manifold is formed from a first material and the absorbent layer is formed from a second material. The first material and second material differ in properties. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge further includes a first encapsulating layer and a second encapsulating layer at least partially enclosing the delivery manifold and absorbent layer. A first aperture is formed on the first side of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge proximate the first longitudinal end. The first aperture is fluidly coupled to the reduced-pressure source. A second aperture is formed on the second side of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge proximate the second longitudinal end. The second aperture is fluidly coupled to the treatment manifold over the treatment aperture in the sealing member. Reduced pressure is transferred from the first aperture along the distribution manifold to the second aperture and to the tissue site.

[0005] According to another illustrative, a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge for use with a reduced-pressure treatment system includes a delivery manifold extending along a length of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge for delivering reduced pressure to a tissue site, an absorbent layer proximate the delivery manifold adapted to receive and absorb fluids, and wherein the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge has a first side and a second, patient-facing side. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge further includes a first encapsulating layer and a second encapsulating layer at least partially enclosing the delivery manifold and absorbent layer. A first aperture is formed proximate the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge on the first side for fluidly communicating reduced pressure to the delivery manifold from a reduced-pressure source. A second aperture is formed on the second, patient-facing side of the second encapsulating layer for transmitting reduced pressure to a tissue site.

[0006] According to another illustrative embodiment, a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge for use with a reduced-pressure treatment system includes a plurality of delivery manifolds extending along a length of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge for delivering reduced pressure to a tissue site, an absorbent layer proximate the plurality of delivery manifolds adapted to receive and absorb fluids, and an encapsulating pouch encapsulating the plurality of delivery manifolds and the absorbent layer. The encapsulating pouch includes a first encapsulating layer and a second encapsulating layer at least partially enclosing the delivery manifold and absorbent layer. The second encapsulating layer defines the second, patient- facing side of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge. A first aperture is formed proximate the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge for fluidly communicating reduced pressure to the delivery manifold from a reduced-pressure source. A second aperture is formed on the patient- facing side of the first encapsulating layer for transmitting reduced pressure to a tissue site.

[0007] According to another illustrative embodiment, a method for treating a tissue site utilizing a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge includes placing a treatment manifold proximate the tissue site and providing a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge. The delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge includes a delivery manifold extending along a length of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge for delivering reduced pressure to a tissue site, an absorbent layer proximate the delivery manifold adapted to receive and absorb fluids, and an encapsulating pouch encapsulating the delivery manifold and the absorbent layer. The encapsulating pouch includes a first encapsulating layer and a second encapsulating layer at least partially enclosing the delivery manifold and absorbent layer. The second encapsulating layer defines the second, patient- facing side of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge. A first aperture is formed on the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge proximate the first longitudinal end for fluidly

communicating reduced pressure to the delivery manifold from a reduced-pressure source, and a second aperture is formed on the patient- facing side of the second encapsulating layer for transmitting reduced pressure to a tissue site. The method further includes placing the second longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge proximate the treatment manifold, applying a reduced pressure to the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge through the first aperture, and communicating the reduced pressure along the reduced- pressure bridge through the delivery manifold to a second longitudinal end of the reduced- pressure bridge. The method also includes applying the reduced pressure through the second aperture to the treatment manifold proximate the tissue site, receiving fluids through the second aperture from the tissue site, and wicking fluids extracted from the tissue site through the second longitudinal end into the absorption layer positioned proximate the delivery manifold.

[0008] According to another illustrative embodiment, a method of manufacturing a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge includes providing a delivery manifold, placing an absorbent layer proximate the delivery manifold, and encapsulating the delivery manifold and absorbent layer in an encapsulated pouch. The encapsulating pouch includes a first encapsulating layer and a second encapsulating layer at least partially enclosing the delivery manifold and absorbent layer. The second encapsulating layer defines the second, patient- facing side of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge. The method also includes forming a first aperture is formed proximate the first longitudinal end of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge for fluidly communicating reduced pressure to the delivery manifold from a reduced-pressure source. The method further includes forming a second aperture on the patient- facing side of the second encapsulating layer for transmitting reduced pressure to a tissue site.

[0009] Other features and advantages of the illustrative embodiments will become apparent with reference to the drawings and detailed description that follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIGURE 1 is a schematic, perspective view with a portion shown as a block diagram of an illustrative reduced-pressure treatment system utilizing a delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge;

[0011] FIGURE 2 is a schematic, plan view of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge of

FIGURE 1 shown with another illustrative reduced-pressure source;

[0012] FIGURE 3 is a schematic, exploded, perspective view of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge of FIGURE 1 and further including a treatment manifold;

[0013] FIGURE 4 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of the of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge of FIGURES 1 -3 taken along line A-A in FIGURE 2 ;

[0014] FIGURE 5 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of an illustrative embodiment of a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge;

[0015] FIGURE 6 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of an illustrative embodiment of a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge;

[0016] FIGURE 7 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of an illustrative embodiment of a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge;

[0017] FIGURE 8 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of an illustrative embodiment of a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge;

[0018] FIGURE 9 is a schematic, plan view of another illustrative embodiment of a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge;

[0019] FIGURE 10 is a schematic side view with a portion shown in cross section of a reduced-pressure treatment system utilizing a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge;

[0020] FIGURE 11 is a schematic side view with a portion shown in cross section of an illustrative embodiment of a reduced-pressure treatment system; and

[0021] FIGURE 12 is a schematic side view with a portion shown in cross section of an illustrative embodiment of a reduced-pressure treatment system. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

[0022] In the following detailed description of the illustrative embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, and it is understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that logical structural, mechanical, electrical, and chemical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. To avoid detail not necessary to enable those skilled in the art to practice the embodiments described herein, the description may omit certain information known to those skilled in the art. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the illustrative embodiments are defined only by the appended claims.

[0023] Referring primarily to FIGURE 1 , an illustrative embodiment of a reduced- pressure treatment system 100 is presented. The reduced-pressure treatment system 100 includes an illustrative embodiment of a delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge 102. The delivery- and- fluid-storage bridge 102 facilitates reduced-pressure treatment of a tissue site 104 and is particularly useful in treating a limited-access tissue site, which in this illustration is on the bottom sole (plantar) of a patient's foot 106 and also within an offloading device, e.g., offloading boot 108 (shown in hidden lines). A treatment manifold 109 (see FIG. 3) may be located at the tissue site 104.

[0024] The reduced-pressure treatment system 100 may be used with a tissue site at a non-limited-access site or a limited-access site. Other illustrative examples of limited-access tissue sites include on a patient's back, under a compression garment, in a total contact casting (TCC), in a removable walker, in a healing sandal, in a half shoe, or in an ankle foot orthoses. The reduced-pressure treatment system 100 may be used with the bodily tissue of any human, animal, or other organism, including bone tissue, adipose tissue, muscle tissue, dermal tissue, vascular tissue, connective tissue, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, or any other tissue.

[0025] The delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge 102 provides a low profile source of reduced pressure to be supplied to the tissue site 104 and thereby may increase patient comfort and enhance reliability of the reduced-pressure supply to the tissue site 104. Because of the low profile of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge 102, the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 may readily be used with an offloading device. The low profile of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge 102 allows the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 to be used in numerous situations without raising pressure at a particular location, which can lead to the formation of pressure ulcers. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 may allow the patient the benefit of both reduced-pressure treatment as well as the offloading of physical pressure.

[0026] With reference to FIGURES 1-3, the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 has a first longitudinal end 1 10 and a second longitudinal end 1 12. The second longitudinal end 112 is placed proximate the limited-access tissue site 104. The first longitudinal end 110 has a reduced-pressure-interface site 1 14 that is for receiving a reduced-pressure interface 1 16, which may be an aperture or port connector, such as a TRAC Pad ® interface or a

SensaT.R.A.C.™ pad interface from Kinetic Concepts, Inc. of San Antonio, Texas. A first aperture 152 (see FIG. 3) is formed on a first side 103 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 to allow the reduced-pressure interface 116 to fluidly communicate with an interior of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102.

[0027] The first longitudinal end 1 10 is typically placed at a location on or near the patient that provides convenient access by the healthcare provider, such as a convenient location for applying reduced-pressure to the reduced-pressure-interface site 1 14. If a reduced-pressure interface 116 is attached at the first longitudinal end 110 at the first aperture 152, any type of reduced-pressure source may be attached to the reduced-pressure interface 116. For example, a pump could be attached to the reduced-pressure interface 116 or a reduced-pressure delivery conduit 1 18 could be attached with a remote reduced-pressure source. When an offloading device, e.g., offloading boot 108, is utilized, the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge 102 would extend from the tissue site 104 to a place outside of the offloading device. The actual longitudinal length (L) 132 (see FIG. 2) of the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge 102 may be varied to support use with a particular offloading device or application.

[0028] A reduced-pressure delivery conduit 1 18 may fluidly couple the reduced- pressure interface 1 16 to a reduced-pressure source 120 or the reduced-pressure source 120 may be formed integrally with the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 as discussed further below. The reduced-pressure source 120 may be any device for supplying a reduced pressure, such as a vacuum pump, wall suction, or integrated micro-pump. While the amount and nature of reduced pressure applied to a tissue site will typically vary according to the application, the reduced pressure will typically be between -5 mm Hg (-667 Pa) and -500 mm Hg (-66.7 kPa) and more typically between -25 mm Hg (-3.33 kPa) and -200 mm Hg (-26.6 kPa). For example, and not by way of limitation, the pressure may be -12, -12.5, -13, -14, - 14.5, -15, -15.5, -16, -16.5, -17, -17.5, -18, -18.5, -19, -19.5, -20, -20.5, -21, -21.5, -22, -22.5, - 23, -23.5, -24, -24.5, -25, -25.5, -26, -26.5 kPa or another pressure. For vertical applications of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102, such as is shown in FIGURE 1 on an ambulatory patient's leg, a specified minimum reduced pressure may be necessary to ensure proper fluid flow. For example in one embodiment, a reduced pressure of at least -125 mm Hg (-16.66 kPa) has been suggested as a minimum, but other pressures may be suitable for different situations.

[0029] As used herein, "reduced pressure" generally refers to a pressure less than the ambient pressure at a tissue site that is being subjected to treatment. In most cases, this reduced pressure will be less than the atmospheric pressure at which the patient is located. Alternatively, the reduced pressure may be less than a hydrostatic pressure at the tissue site. Unless otherwise indicated, values of pressure stated herein are gauge pressures. Although the terms "vacuum" and "negative pressure" may be used to describe the pressure applied to the tissue site, the actual pressure applied to the tissue site may be more than the pressure normally associated with a complete vacuum. Consistent with the use herein, an increase in reduced pressure or vacuum pressure typically refers to a relative reduction in absolute pressure. In one illustrative embodiment, a V.A.C. ® Therapy Unit by Kinetic Concepts, Inc. of San Antonio may be used as the reduced-pressure source 120.

[0030] If the reduced-pressure interface 116 is attached at the first longitudinal end 110 at the first aperture 152, any type of reduced-pressure source 120 may be attached to the reduced-pressure interface 1 16. For example, a pump, such as micro-pump 128, could be attached to the reduced-pressure interface 116 or a reduced-pressure delivery conduit 118 could be attached with a remote reduced-pressure source.

[0031] Depending on the application, a plurality of devices may be fluidly coupled to the reduced-pressure delivery conduit 1 18. For example, a fluid canister 122 or a

representative device 124 may be included. The representative device 124 may be another fluid reservoir or canister to hold exudates and other fluids removed. Other examples of the representative device 124 that may be included on the reduced-pressure delivery conduit 1 18 include the following non-limiting examples: a pressure- feedback device, a volume detection system, a blood detection system, an infection detection system, a flow monitoring system, a temperature monitoring system, a filter, etc. Some of these devices may be formed integrally with the reduced-pressure source 120. For example, a reduced-pressure port 126 on the reduced-pressure source 120 may include a filter member that includes one or more filters, e.g., an odor filter.

[0032] Referring now primarily to FIGURES 2-5, the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 of FIGURE 1 is described with additional details and with a different reduced- pressure source 120. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 has the first side 103 and a second, patient-facing side 105. FIGURES 2-4 are shown with an alternative arrangement for the reduced-pressure source 120, which is shown as a micro-pump 128, such as a piezoelectric pump 130 or manually-actuated pump. As shown clearly in FIGURE 2, the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge 102 has a longitudinal length 132 and a width 134.

[0033] The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 has an encapsulating pouch 136 that encapsulates fully or partially at least a first delivery manifold 138 and at least one absorbent layer 140 as shown in FIGURE 5 or a plurality of delivery manifolds 142 and at least one absorbent layer 140 as shown in FIGURE 4. The plurality of delivery manifolds 142 is presented in FIGURE 4 as the first delivery manifold 138 and a second delivery manifold 144. The delivery manifolds 138, 142, 144 typically run the longitudinal length 132 of the delivery- and-fluid-storage bridge 102 in an interior portion 146. The delivery manifolds 138, 142, 144 operate to deliver reduced pressure from the first longitudinal end 1 10 to the second longitudinal end 112 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102. The absorbent layer 140 receives and absorbs fluids. The absorbent layer 140 typically pulls fluids, e.g., exudate, from the delivery manifolds 138, 142, 144 and stores the fluids.

[0034] The delivery manifolds 138, 142, 144 and the treatment manifold 109 may be formed from any manifold material for distributing reduced pressure. The term "manifold" as used herein generally refers to a substance or structure that is provided to assist in applying reduced pressure to, delivering fluids to, or removing fluids from a location, such as a tissue site. The manifold material typically includes a plurality of flow channels or pathways that distribute fluids provided to and removed from locations around the manifold material. In one illustrative embodiment, the flow channels or pathways are interconnected to improve distribution of fluids. Examples of manifold materials may include, without limitation, devices that have structural elements arranged to form flow channels, such as, for example, cellular foam, open-cell foam, porous tissue collections, liquids, gels, non-wovens, and foams that include, or cure to include, flow channels. The manifold material may be porous and may be made from foam, gauze, felted mat, or any other material suited to transport fluids. In one embodiment, the manifold material is a porous foam and includes a plurality of interconnected cells or pores that act as flow channels. The porous foam may be a polyurethane, open-cell, reticulated foam such as GranuFoam® material manufactured by Kinetic Concepts,

Incorporated of San Antonio, Texas. Other embodiments may include "closed cells" at least on portions.

[0035] The delivery manifolds 138, 142, 144 may be formed from a manifold material that may be a high-wicking manifold material, such as a capillary material or non-woven material. The high-wicking material used for the delivery manifold material may allow the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 to operate removing the fluid through the delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge 102 even without reduced pressure being applied.

[0036] The absorbent layer 140 may be formed from any material that is adapted to receive and store fluids. For example, without limitation, the absorbent layer 140 may be formed from one or more of the following: capillary-containing material, super absorbent fiber/particulates, hydrofiber, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, alginates, sodium polyacrylate, or other suitable material. The absorbent layer 140 and the manifold material used for the delivery manifolds 138, 142, 144 may in some illustrative embodiments be treated with a plasma coating to increase the hydrophilic properties and to thereby aid in fluid transfer through the system. The hydrophilic properties of the manifolds 138, 142, 144 may also be enhanced by coating the manifolds 138, 142, 144 with a dip or spray of a suitable material such as a HYDAK coating. Use of the absorbent layer 140 as an aspect of the reduced- pressure treatment system 100 allows the fluids removed to be stored locally, i.e., fairly close to the tissue site 104, such that the removed fluids are not transported a great distance.

[0037] The encapsulating pouch 136 typically is formed with a first encapsulating layer 148 and a second encapsulating layer 150 that at least partially enclose the delivery manifold(s) 138, 142, 144 and absorbent layer 140. The second encapsulating layer 150 is the second, patient-facing side 105 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102. The first aperture 152 is formed proximate the first longitudinal end 110 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 on the first encapsulating layer 148. The first aperture 152 is for fluidly communicating reduced pressure to the delivery manifold(s) 138, 142, 144 from the reduced-pressure source 120. A second aperture 154 is formed on the second, patient-facing side 105 of the second encapsulating layer 150 for transmitting reduced pressure from the interior portion 146 to the tissue site 104. An anti-microbial additive may be included in the interior portion 146 to help control bacteria growth.

[0038] The first encapsulating layer 148 and the second encapsulating layer 150 have peripheral edges 156 that may be coupled to form the encapsulating pouch 136. The peripheral edges 156 may be coupled using any technique. As used herein, the term "coupled" includes coupling via a separate object and includes direct coupling. The term "coupled" also encompasses two or more components that are continuous with one another by virtue of each of the components being formed from the same piece of material. The term "coupled" may include chemical, such as via a chemical bond, adhesive, mechanical, or thermal coupling. Coupling may include without limitation welding (e.g., ultrasonic or RF welding), bonding, adhesives, cements, etc. Fluid coupling means that fluid is in communication between the designated parts or locations. Thus, the first encapsulating layer 148 and the second encapsulating layer 150 may be coupled among other ways by weld 158.

[0039] The encapsulating layers 148, 150 may be formed from any material that provides a fluid seal about the interior portion 146 that allows a reduced-pressure to be maintained therein for a given reduced-pressure source. The encapsulating layers 148, 150 may, for example, be an impermeable or semi-permeable, elastomeric material. For semipermeable materials, the permeability must be low enough that for a given reduced-pressure source, the desired reduced pressure may be maintained. "Elastomeric" means having the properties of an elastomer. Elastomeric material generally refers to a polymeric material that has rubber-like properties. More specifically, most elastomers have ultimate elongations greater than 100% and a significant amount of resilience. The resilience of a material refers to the material's ability to recover from an elastic deformation. Examples of elastomers may include, but are not limited to, natural rubbers, polyisoprene, styrene butadiene rubber, chloroprene rubber, polybutadiene, nitrile rubber, butyl rubber, ethylene propylene rubber, ethylene propylene diene monomer, chlorosulfonated polyethylene, polysulfide rubber, polyurethane (PU), EVA film, co-polyester, and silicones. Additional, specific examples of sealing member materials include a silicone drape, a 3M Tegaderm® drape, or a polyurethane (PU) drape such as one available from Avery Dennison Corporation of Pasadena, California. [0040] As shown in FIGURE 6, a moisture removing device 160, e.g., a wicking layer, may be coupled to an exterior portion of the second encapsulating layer 150 to provide comfort and remove fluids from against a patient's skin. The moisture removing device 160 may be a cloth-material drape, a non-woven fabric, a knitted polyester woven textile material, such as the one sold under the name InterDry® AG material from Coloplast A/S of Denmark, GORTEX® material, DuPont Softesse® material, etc.

[0041] An adhesive member or members 161, e.g., adhesive ring 163, may be applied to the second, patient-facing side 105 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 proximate the second aperture 154. The adhesive member(s) 161 helps form a fluid seal proximate the tissue site 104— either on a sealing member (see, e.g., 315 in FIG. 10) or directly over the tissue site and a portion of the patient's skin.

[0042] Additional items may disposed in the interior portion 146 at discrete locations or along the longitudinal length 132 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102. For example, as shown in FIGURE 7, an odor-controlling device 162 may be disposed within the interior portion 146. The odor-controlling device 162 may be, for example, a charcoal filter. An anti-microbial additive may be included in the interior portion 146 to help control bacteria growth. As another example, as shown in FIGURE 8, a single-lumen or multi-lumen conduit 164 may be disposed within the interior portion 146. The conduit 164 may facilitate measurement of the pressure at the tissue site or proximate the tissue site. The conduit 164 could either terminate proximate the first longitudinal end 1 10 of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge 102 or could continue the longitudinal length 132 of the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge 102 to the second longitudinal end 112. A hydrophobic filter 166 may be included proximate the first aperture 152 to prevent fluids, e.g., exudate or other fluids, from exiting the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102.

[0043] A color change dye may be included at the first longitudinal end 1 10 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 in order to provide feedback on the status of the absorbent layer 140. The color change dye may change colors or tone when the color change dye becomes wet thereby providing a visual indication that the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 is full. Moreover, color change dye may be positioned at various locations or continually along the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 to provide a progressive indications of capacity used, e.g., 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% used. Electrodes in the delivery- and-fluid-storage bridge 102 may be included at the first longitudinal end to form a galvanic cell that provides a voltage when the electrodes are covered by exudate or other removed liquids. In addition, the lumen 164 could monitor pressure at the second longitudinal end 1 12 and this information could be compared with pressure at the reduced-pressure source 120 to determine the pressure drop across the system 100 and thereby the saturation determined.

[0044] In another embodiment, the lumen 164 may be formed using a portion of the first encapsulating layer 148 or second encapsulating layer 150 and an additional longitudinal sheet secured to an inward- facing surface of the first encapsulating layer 148 or second encapsulating layer 150 to form the lumen 164. In still another embodiment, the lumen 164 may have a manifolding material disposed within the lumen 164. In still another embodiment, a longitudinal manifold material may be placed between the first encapsulating layer 148 and second encapsulating layer 150 near a periphery where the first encapsulating layer 148 and second encapsulating layer 150 otherwise directly touch. A seal or bond may be formed on each side of the longitudinal manifold material to form the lumen 164 with the manifold material therein.

[0045] In operation, the treatment manifold 109 may be placed into or proximate the tissue site 104. A sealing member (see, e.g., sealing member 315 in FIG. 10) may be placed over the treatment manifold 109 and a portion of the patient's skin. The adhesive member 161 may be used to seal the second longitudinal end 112 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 to the patient over the tissue site 104. The adhesive member 161 helps form a fluid seal between the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 and either the sealing member or the patient's skin. "Fluid seal," or "seal," means a seal adequate to maintain reduced pressure at a desired site given the particular reduced-pressure source or subsystem involved.

[0046] The longitudinal length 132 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 may be used to position the first longitudinal end 1 10 at a convenient location to either attach the reduced-pressure interface 1 16 and reduced-pressure delivery conduit 1 18 as shown in

FIGURE 1 or to conveniently access a micro-pump 128 as shown in FIGURE 3. An adhesive tape or wrap may be used to hold the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 against a portion of the patient's body. Once deployed, the reduced-pressure source 120 is activated.

[0047] As the reduced-pressure source 120 is activated, the reduced-pressure source 120 communicates the reduced pressure along the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 through the delivery manifold(s) 138, 142, 144 to the second longitudinal end 112 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102. The reduced pressure is then applied through the second aperture 154 to the treatment manifold 109 proximate the tissue site 104. In addition, typically, fluids are extracted from the tissue site 104 and received through the second aperture 154. After entering the interior portion 146, the fluids are recruited into the absorbent layer 140 positioned proximate the delivery manifold(s) 138, 142, 144. The fluids are substantially recruited and maintained in the absorbent layer 140. As a result, typically reduced pressure may be transported relatively more efficiently through the delivery manifold(s) 138, 142, 144. In this way, the reduced pressure need not overcome gravity's influence on a column of liquid to the same degree as the reduced pressure otherwise would. Typically, the pressure drop realized over the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 is constant until the absorbent layer 140 becomes saturated. As previously noted, a high-wicking material may be used for the delivery manifold material in order to allow the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 to remove the fluid through the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 even without reduced pressure being applied.

[0048] Thus, the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 may be particularly useful in avoiding a situation in which excessive fluid from a tissue site is held against gravity by reduced pressure alone. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 moves liquids into storage and provides a flow path for gases. The liquids are drawn into the absorbent layer 140 and the gases are allowed to remain in the delivery manifolds 138, 142, 144. By using this approach, the reduced-pressure source 120 does not have to be modulated as the amount of fluid in the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 increases. Typically, the pressure drop realized over the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 102 is constant until the absorbent layer 140 becomes saturated.

[0049] Referring now primarily to FIGURE 9, another illustrative, non-limiting embodiment of a delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 202 is presented. In most respects, the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 202 is analogous to the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge

102 of FIGURES 1-4 and like or corresponding reference numerals have been indexed by 100. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 202 has a first longitudinal end 210 and a second longitudinal end 212. The first longitudinal end 210 includes a reduced-pressure source 220. The second longitudinal end includes an aperture 254 for communicating reduced pressure on the patient- facing side of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 202. [0050] The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 202 further includes a reservoir portion 207 and a placement portion 21 1. The reservoir portion 207 has a first aspect ratio

(length/width) ARi and the placement portion 21 1 has a second aspect ratio AI¾. The placement portion has a higher aspect ration to facilitate placement of the second longitudinal end 212 and the reservoir portion 207 has a lower aspect ratio (AI¾ > ARi). Stated in other terms, the area (Ai) in plan view of the reservoir portion 207 is greater than the area (A 2 ) in plan view of the placement portion 21 1, i.e., Ai > A 2 . The placement portion 211 facilitates easy placement and positioning of the second longitudinal end 212 in limited-access tissue sites and the reservoir portion 207 provides increased space for fluids to be stored.

[0051] While the reservoir portion 207 and the placement portion 21 1 are shown with a specific shape, it should be understood that numerous shapes may be given to the delivery- and-fluid-storage bridge 202. For example, in another illustrative embodiment, the delivery- and storage bridge 202 is shaped like a triangle with the apex being the second longitudinal end. In another illustrative embodiment, the deliver-and-storage bridge 202 may have a shape that resembles a "lollipop"— a thinner section coming away from the first longitudinal end with a larger portion at the first longitudinal end.

[0052] Referring now primarily to FIGURE 10, a reduced-pressure treatment system 300 is presented that is analogous in most respects to the reduced-pressure treatment system 100 of FIGURE 1, and like or corresponding parts have been indicated by indexing the reference numerals by 200. A delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 302 is used to deliver reduced pressure from a reduced-pressure source 320 to a treatment manifold 309 at the tissue site 304. The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 302 has a first side 303 and a second, patient-facing side 305.

[0053] The treatment manifold 309 is placed proximate the tissue site 304 and then a fluid seal is formed over the treatment manifold 309 by using a sealing member 315. An adhesive device 317 may be used to help form a fluid seal between the sealing member 315 and the patient' s skin 319. The sealing member 315 may have a treatment aperture 321 for providing access to the treatment manifold 309. Thus, the reduced pressure is delivered through a second aperture 354 and through the treatment aperture 321 to the treatment manifold 309. [0054] The delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 302 has an encapsulation pouch 336 formed with a first encapsulation layer 348 and a second encapsulation layer 350. The encapsulation pouch 336 has disposed within an interior portion a plurality of delivery manifolds 342 and an absorbent layer 340.

[0055] A first aperture (not explicitly shown) is formed on the first longitudinal end

310. A reduced-pressure source 320 provides reduced pressure through the first aperture to the interior of the encapsulation pouch 336. From there, the reduced pressure is delivered to the second longitudinal end 312 as previously discussed. In this illustrative, non-limiting example, the reduced-pressure source 320 is a micro-pump 328, which has a piezoelectric pump 330 and a battery, such as battery 331, that are integrated with the delivery-and-fluid- storage bridge 302. In the illustrative embodiment of FIGURE 1 1, the reduced-pressure source 320 is a micro-pump 328 with a piezoelectric pump 330 and the battery 331 is remote. The battery 331 is electrically coupled to the piezoelectric pump 330 by connector 333.

[0056] As shown in FIGURE 10, the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 302 may include a separation portion 370, such as a thinned portion or perforations (with a two ply layer having displaced perforations in each to prevent leakage) of the encapsulation layers 348, 350 that facilitate removal of the first longitudinal end 310 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 302. The separation portion 370 is proximate the first longitudinal end 310, inboard of the reduced-pressure source 320. The separation portion 370 facilitates removal of the reduced-pressure source 320 so that the reduced-pressure source 320 or other components— the biological elements and electrical elements— may be disposed of separately from other portions of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 302.

[0057] In the illustrative embodiment of FIGURE 12, the reduced-pressure source 320 is remote from the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 302 and a reduced-pressure delivery conduit 318 couples the reduced-pressure source 320 to a reduced-pressure interface 316 on the first longitudinal end 310 of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridge 302. In this

embodiment, the reduced-pressure source 320 may include a micro-pump 328. The micro- pump 328 may include a piezoelectric pump 330 and a battery 331. In some embodiments, the sealing member 315 may be omitted and the second, patient-facing side 305 of the delivery- and-fluid-storage bridge 302 may form the fluid seal over the treatment manifold 309.

[0058] The low profile of the delivery-and-fluid-storage bridges 102, 202, 302 herein allows for each bridge 102, 202, 302 to be used in numerous situations without raising pressure at a particular point, i.e., without causing a stress riser, which can lead to the formation of pressure ulcers. The delivery-and- fluid-storage bridge 102, 202, 302 separates liquids from gases. The liquids are drawn into the absorbent layer, e.g., absorbent layer 140, until saturation occurs and the gases are allowed to remain in the delivery manifolds 142 or manifold 138 from where the gases may be removed by a reduced pressure source.

[0059] Although the present invention and its advantages have been disclosed in the context of certain illustrative, non-limiting embodiments, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions, permutations, and alterations can be made without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. It will be appreciated that any feature that is described in connection to any one embodiment may also be applicable to any other embodiment.

[0060] It will be understood that the benefits and advantages described above may relate to one embodiment or may relate to several embodiments. It will further be understood that reference to 'an' item refers to one or more of those items.

[0061] The steps of the methods described herein may be carried out in any suitable order, or simultaneously where appropriate.

[0062] Where appropriate, aspects of any of the examples described above may be combined with aspects of any of the other examples described to form further examples having comparable or different properties and addressing the same or different problems.

[0063] It will be understood that the above description of preferred embodiments is given by way of example only and that various modifications may be made by those skilled in the art. The above specification, examples and data provide a complete description of the structure and use of exemplary embodiments of the invention. Although various embodiments of the invention have been described above with a certain degree of particularity, or with reference to one or more individual embodiments, those skilled in the art could make numerous alterations to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the scope of the claims.