The patent's assignee for patent application serial number 517405 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates to a humidified gases delivery apparatus and methods for controlling same.
"A number of methods and systems are known in the art for assisting a patient's breathing. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) involves administration of air under pressure to a patient, usually by a patient interface like a mask. CPAP is usually used to treat snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). More complete breathing support is provided by a ventilator.
"There are problems associated with air delivery to the airways of patient's. Mucosal drying is one such problem. Mucosal drying is uncomfortable and may awaken patients during the night. Rebound nasal congestion commonly occurs during the following day, simulating a viral infection.
"Such symptoms can also occur in a hospital environment when patients are on a respirator. Typically patients in this situation are intubated but alternatively air may be delivered to the patient via other patient interfaces like masks or nasal cannula. Patients in the hospital environment can also suffer from mucosal drying, rebound nasal congestion and also from dryness, irritation and inflammation of the throat due to intubation. These problems all cause distress to the patient and may lead to further respiratory problems.
"A number of methods have been employed to combat the symptoms and conditions described earlier. Some of the methods involve pharmacologic agents to reduce nasal disease or heating the patient's room. The most commonly employed method is humidification of the gases delivered to the patient. The humidified gases go some way to reducing or minimising the problems caused by air or gases delivery to a patient. Humidifiers and methods of humidifying breathing gases are known in the art. Most common humidification methods employ a humidification chamber including a reservoir of water and heater plate. The water is heated to create water vapour and gases are passed through the humidification chamber. The gases collect and hold the water vapour and are hence humidified. The humidification chamber can only hold a finite amount of water and needs to be refilled by the user or by a hospital worker in a hospital environment. Accordingly the user or health professional needs to monitor the water level within the chamber and add more water when required. This can be a tedious task and can be overlooked. A level sensor connected within the chamber is one way to measure the level of water within the humidification chamber. This is too difficult to implement and can be cumbersome. The level sensor is difficult to implement because it requires electrical connections within the humidification chamber, the sensor requires calibration and the sensor can interfere with the humidification of gases.
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