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Claims for Patent: 6,871,646

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Claims for Patent: 6,871,646

Title: De-agglomerator for breath-actuated dry powder inhaler
Abstract:A de-agglomerator is provided for use with a breath-actuated dry powder inhaler for breaking up aggregates and micronizing particles of dry powder prior to inhalation of the powder by a patient using the inhaler. The de-agglomerator includes an inner wall defining a swirl chamber extending along an axis from a first end to a second end, a dry powder supply port, an inlet port, and an outlet port. The supply port is in the first end of the swirl chamber for providing fluid communication between a dry powder delivery passageway of an inhaler and the first end of the swirl chamber. The inlet port is in the inner wall of the swirl chamber adjacent to the first end of the swirl chamber and provides fluid communication between a region exterior to the de-agglomerator and the swirl chamber. The outlet port provides fluid communication between the second end of the swirl chamber and a region exterior to the de-agglomerator, whereby a breath induced low pressure at the outlet port causes air flows into the swirl chamber through the dry powder supply port and the inlet port. The air flows collide with each other and with the wall of the swirl chamber prior to exiting through the outlet port, such that any powder entrained in the air flows is broken down and micronized. The de-agglomerator further includes vanes at the first end of the swirl chamber for creating additional collisions and impacts of entrained powder.
Inventor(s): Keane; Laurence (Aldwick, GB), O'Leary; David (Essex, GB)
Assignee: Norton Healthcare Ltd. (London, GB)
Application Number:10/837,004
Patent Claims: 1. A method of de-agglomerating dry powder from a breath-actuated dry powder inhaler prior to inhalation of the dry powder by a patient, comprising: directing a first breath-actuated air flow for entraining a dry powder from an inhaler into a first end of a chamber extending along a longitudinal axis from the first end to a second end, the first air flow directed in a longitudinal direction; directing a second breath-actuated air flow in a substantially transverse direction into the first end of the chamber such that the first and the second breath-actuated air flows collide and substantially combine; deflecting a first portion of the combined air flows off vanes non-rotationally fixedly attached to the first end of the chamber and extending at least in part radially outwardly from the axis of the chamber, wherein each of the vanes has an oblique surface facing at least in part in a direction transverse to the axis, such that the first portion of the combined air flows is deflected in a substantially longitudinal direction towards the second end of the chamber; directing a second portion of the combined air flows in a spiral path towards the second end of the chamber; and delivering all the combined air flows and any dry powder entrained therein through an outlet port in the second end of the chamber to a patient's mouth.

2. A method according to claim 1, wherein the second breath-actuated air flow is directed tangentially into the first end of the chamber.

3. A method according to claim 1, wherein a third breath-actuated airflow is directed in a substantially transverse direction into the first end of the chamber such that the third air flow collides and substantially combines with the first and the second air flows.

4. A method according to claim 1, wherein the combined air flows and any dry powder entrained therein are delivered through the outlet port of the second end of the chamber to a patient's mouth in a substantially transverse direction.

5. A method according to claim 1, wherein the combined air flows are constricted between the first end and the second end of the chamber.

6. A method according to claim 1, wherein the combined air flows are monotonically constricted between the first end and the second end of the chamber.
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