News Column

Patent Issued for Full Face Respiratory Mask with Integrated Nasal Interface

September 3, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Ho, Peter Chi Fai (Pittsburgh, PA); Eaton, Jason Paul (Hunker, PA), filed on December 18, 2012, was published online on August 19, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8807134 is RIC Investments, LLC (Wilmington, DE).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates, in general, to a full face mask that provides a sealed interface with the nose and mouth of a user, and, in particular, to a full face mask having an oral cushion portion that seals generally around the mouth and a nasal interface portion that seals generally at or around the nares and remains below the bridge of the nose.

"A variety of respiratory masks are known that have flexible seals, cover a portion of a user's face, and are designed to create a seal against the user's face. Because of the sealing effect that is created, gases can be provided at a positive pressure within the mask for consumption by the user. The uses for such masks range from high altitude breathing, i.e., aviation applications, to mining and fire fighting applications, to various medical diagnostic and therapeutic applications. For example, such masks are used in the delivery of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or variable airway pressure, which varies with the user's respiratory cycle or which varies with the condition of the user, to treat a medical disorder, such as sleep apnea syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), congestive heart failure, and cheynes-stokes respiration.

"A requisite of such respiratory masks is that they provide an effective seal against the user's face to prevent leakage of the gas being supplied. Commonly, in prior mask configurations, a good mask-to-face seal has been attained in many instances only with considerable discomfort to the user. This problem is most crucial because such masks are typically worn for an extended period of time. One concern in such a situation is that a user may avoid wearing an uncomfortable mask, defeating the purpose of the prescribed pressure support therapy.

"A wide variety of patient interfaces are known, including nasal masks that cover only the nose, nasal canulas or prongs that fit into the nares of the user, total face masks that cover a majority of the user's face, oral-nasal or full face masks that cover the nose and mouth area, among other variations.

"Traditional oral-nasal masks cover the entire nose and mouth area of the user. Due to their size and bulk, they may be less comfortable and more intrusive than other masks. Some users may resist the wearing of oral-nasal masks due to physiological reasons, such as claustrophobia or clithrophobia (fear of being enclosed). Oral-nasal mask are typically heavy and bulky, may interfere with a user's facial comfort, and may not facilitate the wearing of eyeglasses. Some oral-nasal masks may irritate a user's nose bridge, which typically is an area of thin skin, where even slight pressure can cause a blood flow constriction, and, hence, skin breakdown and/or discomfort.

"It can be difficult to achieve a good seal in typical oral-nasal masks due to the large and varied area being covered. This area includes the area around the mouth, the front of the face from the ends of the mouth to the nose, and the nose itself, including the bridge. The variations in contour and size from nose to mouth are much greater than those among the nose or among the mouth alone.

"Another disadvantage of conventional masks is the forehead support. Typically, forehead supports stabilize the mask system as well as providing pressure point relief. The forehead support, however, is often the source of pressure point and skin break down."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a patient interface that overcomes the shortcomings of conventional oral-nasal masks. This object is achieved according to one embodiment of the present invention by providing a patient interface that includes a faceplate and a seal member coupled to the faceplate. The seal member contacts the user's face to provide a sealed interface with the user. The seal member includes an oral cushion portion and a nasal interface portion. The oral cushion portion provides a sealed interface with the user over a sealing area that at least partially surrounds the user's mouth. The nasal interface portion is integral with the oral cushion portion and contacts at least a portion of the user's nose below the bridge of the nose. The nasal interface portion provides a sealed interface with a surface of such a user proximate to the nares of such a user. The patient interface having this configuration provides a contacting area on the user's face that is less than conventional oral-nasal masks and also reduces the complexity of sealing, because both the sealing surface and the variation among the surfaces is reduced.

"These and other objects, features, and characteristics of the present invention, as well as the methods of operation and functions of the related elements of structure and the combination of parts and economies of manufacture, will become more apparent upon consideration of the following description and the appended claims with reference to the accompanying drawings, all of which form a part of this specification, wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding parts in the various figures. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration and description only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention. As used in the specification and in the claims, the singular form of 'a', 'an', and 'the' include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise."

For additional information on this patent, see: Ho, Peter Chi Fai; Eaton, Jason Paul. Full Face Respiratory Mask with Integrated Nasal Interface. U.S. Patent Number 8807134, filed December 18, 2012, and published online on August 19, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: RIC Investments LLC.

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Source: Journal of Engineering

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