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Details for Patent: 5,396,882

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Details for Patent: 5,396,882

Title: Generation of nitric oxide from air for medical uses
Abstract:A system for producing a mixture comprising nitric oxide and air for treatment of medical conditions. The invention enables unlimited production of nitric oxide at any location using only air and a source of electricity. An electric arc chamber 4 is provided with electrodes 5 separated by an air gap 9. An electric circuit 7 supplies a high voltage potential to the electrodes 5 and induces an electric arc discharge across the electrodes 5. The electric arc discharge produces nitric oxide mixed with air. The mixture of nitric oxide and air is further purified and blended with other gases and/or pulmonary therapeutic agents, and the therapeutically-effective gas mixture is delivered to different organs of a human body using organ specific attachments.
Inventor(s): Zapol; Warren M. (Concord, MA)
Assignee: The General Hospital Corporation (Boston, MA)
Filing Date:Mar 11, 1992
Application Number:07/850,383
Claims:1. An inhaler producing a mixture comprising air and nitric oxide for respiratory therapy, said inhaler utilizing air and a source of electricity, said inhaler comprising

an electric arc chamber with a pair of electrodes separated by an air gap, for producing nitric oxide by an arc discharge between said electrodes,

an electric circuit for supplying a high voltage potential to said electrodes, said high voltage potential having a peak value sufficient to induce an electric arc across said air gap,

a gas input port for introducing air into said electric arc chamber, thereby producing a mixture of air and NO, and

an output port for dispensing said produced mixture for inhaling by a patient,

said output port and said electric arc chamber being sized and positioned so that said produced mixture is immediately dispensed from said output port.

2. The inhaler of claim 1 wherein said electrodes of said arc chamber are two axially aligned metal rods with their tips separated by said air gap.

3. The inhaler of claim 1 or 2 further comprising

a purifying device for removing nitrogen dioxide and ozone produced in said arc chamber, said purifying device being located so that said gas mixture leaving said arc chamber is forced through said purifying device, and

a gas pump for forcing said gas mixture out said output port.

4. The inhaler of claim 2 wherein said circuitry comprises

a high voltage transformer having the primary side connected to an electric power supply,

a parallel RCL circuit connected in parallel to the secondary, high voltage side of said high voltage transformer wherein the resistive element of said parallel RCL circuit comprises said high voltage electrodes separated by said air gap.

5. The inhaler of claim 1, 2 or 4 wherein said air input port includes a filter for filtering said introduced air through said input port to prevent liquid droplets or solid particles from entering said arc chamber.

6. The inhaler of claim 5 wherein said inhaler is less than approximately 20.times.20.times.10 cm in size and a weight less than approximately 1 kg.

7. The inhaler of claim 5 further comprising

a purifying device for removing nitrogen dioxide and ozone produced in said arc chamber, said purifying device being located so that gas leaving said arc chamber is being forced through said purifying device before being released from said inhaler, and

a mouthpiece at said output port for directly inhaling said gas mixture from said arc chamber through said purifying device.

8. The inhaler of claim 7 wherein said purifying device contains a scavenger for O.sub.3 and NO.sub.2.

9. The inhaler of claim 7 further comprising an air input assembly having a set of selective restricting orifices for introducing controlled amount of air to said inhaling port and blending said air with said gas mixture from said arc chamber while inhaling said mixture though said mouthpiece.

10. A system for continuously producing a mixture, comprising air and nitric oxide for treatment of medical conditions requiring direct delivery of said mixture to an organ of the human body, said system comprising

an electric arc chamber with a pair of electrodes separated by an air gap, for producing nitric oxide by arc discharge between said electrodes,

an electric circuit for supplying a high voltage potential to said electrodes, said high voltage potential having a peak value sufficient to induce an electric arc across said air gap,

an gas input port for introducing air or ventilatory gases into said electric arc chamber, thereby producing a mixture of air and NO, and

a delivery system for dispensing said produced mixture to an organ of the human body,

said delivery system and said electric arc chamber being sized and positioned so that said produced mixture is immediately dispensed from said output port.

11. The system of claim 10 wherein said delivery system is configured to dispense said mixture directly to a specific organ.

12. The system of claim 11 further comprising a gas input manifold for introducing selected gases into said delivery system, blending said selected gases with said mixture and dispensing said blend by said delivery system.

13. The system of claim 12 further comprising

a gas analyzer for analyzing the concentration of individual constituents of said blend of gases being dispensed by said delivery system, and

a regulator system connected to said analyzer and said gas input manifold for controlling the concentration of individual constituents being introduced into said delivery system according to a predetermined prescription scheme.

14. The device of claim 1 or 10 further comprising means for adding additional gases to said mixture.

15. A method of producing a mixture comprising air and nitric oxide for respiratory therapy, said method utilizing air and a source of electricity, comprising the steps of:

introducing air through an air input port into an electric arc chamber of an inhaler,

supplying high voltage potential to a set of electrodes separated by an air gap and located in said electric arc chamber, said high voltage potential having a peak value sufficient to induce an electric arc across said air gap,

producing a mixture of air and nitric oxide by an arc discharge between said electrodes charged to said high voltage potential, and

immediately dispensing said produced mixture through an output port for immediate use for respiratory therapy.

16. The method of claim 15 further comprising the step of purifying gas drawn from said arc chamber in order to remove nitrogen dioxide and ozone produced during said arc discharge.

17. The method of claim 15 further comprising the step of blending said mixture of nitric oxide and air drawn in from said arc chamber with air introduced through an air input assembly having a set of selective restricting orifices.

18. The method of claim 15 further comprising the step of purifying gas drawn in from said arc chamber in order to remove nitrogen dioxide and ozone produced during said arc discharge.

19. The method of claim 15 further comprising the step of forcing said gas mixture out of said output port using a gas pump.

20. The method of claim 15 further comprising the step of filtering said introduced air through said input port in order to prevent liquid droplets or solid particles from entering said arc chamber.

21. The method of claim 15 further comprising the step of adding additional gases to said mixture.

22. A method of producing nitric oxide for treatment of medical conditions by utilizing direct organ specific delivery of said gas mixture, comprising the steps of:

introducing air through an air input port into an electric arc chamber of said system,

supplying high voltage potential to a set of electrodes separated by an air gap and located in said electric arc chamber, said high voltage potential having a peak value sufficient to induce an electric arc across said air gap,

producing a mixture of air and nitric oxide by an arc discharge between said electrodes charged to said high voltage potential, and

immediately dispensing said produced nitric oxide mixed with air through a delivery system designed for immediately dispensing said gas mixture to a specific organ of a patient's body.

23. The method of claim 22 wherein said nitric oxide is delivered to a specific organ.

24. The method of claim 22 further comprising the step of introducing selected gases through a gas input manifold into said delivery system, blending said selected gases with said produced mixture of nitric oxide and air, and dispensing said blend by said delivery system.

25. The method of claim 24 further comprising the steps of:

analyzing concentration of individual constituents of said blend of gases being dispensed by said delivery system, and

regulating concentration of individual constituents being introduced into said delivery system using a regulating system connected to a gas analyzer and said gas input manifold according to a predetermined prescription scheme.
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