New York Patent of the Month – August 2023

Bronchoscopy, a medical procedure involving the insertion of a scope into a patient’s airways and lungs, plays a crucial role in diagnosing and treating respiratory conditions. However, one persistent challenge during bronchoscopies is the occurrence of hypoxemia, an abnormally low concentration of oxygen in the blood, which can jeopardize patient safety. Addressing this issue effectively without interrupting the procedure has been a longstanding objective in the field of bronchoscopy.

Thoracent, Inc., pulmonary and thoracic medical technology specialists, have developed a groundbreaking apparatus to tackle this challenge head-on. Their fluid source switching apparatus offers a practical and efficient solution to reverse hypoxemia during bronchoscopies without the need to withdraw the scope or interrupt the procedure.

At the core of Thoracent’s apparatus is a carefully designed base, coupled with two tubes—one connected to a vacuum source and the other to an oxygen source. These tubes are strategically positioned and integrated into the base, allowing for seamless fluid flow control. The apparatus features an actuator apparatus consisting of a pedal, a resilient member, a first contact portion, and a second contact portion.

The brilliance of the Thoracent apparatus lies in its ability to switch between different fluid sources, optimizing oxygen supply while maintaining the necessary suction for improved visualization and sample collection. By simply pivoting the pedal, the actuator apparatus transitions between two states: the first state compresses the second tube, occluding it and opening the first tube, while the second state compresses the first tube, occluding it and opening the second tube. The resilient member provides the necessary bias to ensure a smooth and intuitive transition back to the default state.

What sets Thoracent’s invention apart is its versatility and compatibility with existing bronchoscopes. The apparatus includes a third tube, seamlessly connecting to the working channel of the bronchoscope. This integration enables fluid communication between the bronchoscope and the vacuum and oxygen sources.

The fluid source switching apparatus is designed to be non-detachable and disposable, ensuring convenient and hygienic use for each bronchoscopy procedure. Additionally, the apparatus features channels within the base, providing a secure and organized setup.

Thoracent’s invention is set to revolutionize bronchoscopy procedures by empowering medical professionals to address hypoxemia effectively and swiftly without compromising patient safety. With this innovative apparatus, bronchoscopies can be performed with enhanced confidence and efficiency, paving the way for improved respiratory diagnostics and treatments.

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