Image Number 7 for United States Patent #7175734.
The present invention relates to fabrication methods and apparatus for irrigating medical catheters. Such catheters include at least one section of standard thermoplastic catheter tubing coupled to a section of porous tubing (e.g., ePTFE and the like). A source of fluid couples to the porous portion of tubing to dispense diverse fluids. The manufacturing technique overcomes the inability of such porous material to liquefy and/or bond to most available adhesives by creating a mechanical-based coupling. One aspect of the present invention involves pre-treatment of a portion of a porous material such as ePTFE; that is, a "pre-imbibing" process is employed wherein the ePTFE is saturated with a solution of solvent and dissolved thermoplastic resin. After the solution evaporates a resin-based interstitial residue provides suitable structure that fuses to adjacent thermoplastic material during application of heat, such as during thermal bonding. The present may be used to prepare virtually any porous material for thermoplastic bonding.