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Last Updated: December 1, 2020

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Claims for Patent: 7,458,372

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Summary for Patent: 7,458,372
Title:Inhalation therapy device
Abstract: The invention relates to an inhalation therapy device including a membrane aerosol generator. A detection device is provided for determining whether a liquid to be atomized is available. In the absence of liquid, the activation of the membrane aerosol generator is interrupted and/or a signal is output.
Inventor(s): Feiner; Franz (Munich, DE), Borgschulte; Markus (Munich, DE), Achtzehner; Wolfgang (Alling, DE), Kunschir; Eduard (Munich, DE), Lass; Joseph (Munich, DE)
Assignee: PARI Pharma GmbH (Starnberg, DE)
Application Number:10/533,430
Patent Claims: 1. An inhalation therapy device comprising: an oscillatable membrane for nebulising a liquid, an oscillation generating device having at least one connecting means for supplying an activation signal and by means of which said membrane is caused to oscillate when the activation signal is supplied such that a liquid disposed on one side of the membrane is nebulised through said membrane and is present on the other side of the membrane as an aerosol, and a control means from which an activation signal can be supplied to the at least one connecting means of the oscillation generating device such that said oscillation generating device causes the membrane to oscillate, wherein a detection device is provided which detects at least one electric parameter of an oscillatable structure comprising the oscillatable membrane and the oscillation generating device and which determines the presence of a liquid to be nebulised based on the at least one electric parameter, the at least one electric parameter being a current consumption, a power consumption or a current/voltage phase shift of the oscillatable structure.

2. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 1, wherein the control means alternatingly generates activation signals with at least two different frequencies and the detection device determines the presence of a liquid to be nebulised based on the detected values of the at least one electric parameter at the at least two different frequencies.

3. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 2, wherein at least one first activation signal having a first frequency causes nebulisation of the liquid.

4. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 2, wherein time intervals in which a first activation signal having a first frequency is generated are longer than time intervals in which an activation signal having a second frequency is generated.

5. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 1, wherein detected values are stored for an evaluation over a longer period of time.

6. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 1, wherein if the detection device determines that no liquid is present, said detection device prevents supply of activation signals by the control means to the oscillation generating device, and/or triggers generation of an optical and/or audio signal by a signal emitting means in order to indicate that no liquid is present.

7. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 6, wherein an emitted audio signal is a short sound signal and/or a sound sequence and/or recorded or synthesised voice signals.

8. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 1, wherein the oscillation generating device comprises an electromechanical transducer unit.

9. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 8, wherein the oscillation generating device comprises a support unit to which the electromechanical transducer unit and the oscillatable membrane are attached.

10. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 1, wherein an energy supply unit for the inhalation device is integrated in the control means.

11. An inhalation therapy method for an inhalation therapy device according to claim 1, comprising the following steps: switching on the inhalation therapy device; supplying activation signals from the control means to the oscillation generating device in order to nebulise the liquid; detecting at least one electric parameter of the oscillatable structure comprising the membrane and the oscillation generating device; and determining whether or not liquid is still present based on the detected parameter of the oscillatable structure, the at least one electric parameter being the current consumption, the power consumption or the current/voltage phase shift.

12. An inhalation therapy method for an inhalation therapy device according to claim 2, comprising the following steps: switching on the inhalation therapy device; supplying activation signals having at least two different frequencies from the control means to the oscillation generating device, the liquid being nebulised at at least one frequency; detecting values of at least one electric parameter of the oscillatable structure comprising the membrane and the oscillation generating device at the at least two different frequencies; and determining whether or not liquid is present based on the values of the detected parameter of the oscillatable structure at at least one of the at least two different frequencies.

13. An inhalation therapy method for an inhalation therapy device according to claim 11, wherein said method further comprises the following steps: continuing to supply the activation signals from the control means to the oscillation generating device in order to continue nebulisation of the liquid if it is determined that liquid is present; and stopping the supply of activation signals from the control means to the oscillation generating device and/or emission of an optical and/or audio signal if it is determined that no liquid is present.

14. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 2, wherein the time intervals in which a first activation signal having a first frequency is generated are longer, by at least a factor of 10, than the time intervals in which an activation signal having a second frequency is generated.

15. An inhalation therapy device according to claim 1, wherein the oscillation generating device comprises a piezoelectric element.

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