The origins of mechanical ventilation can be traced back to Galen who initially described ventilating animals for vivisection purposes. During the eighteenth century, delivery of air to the lungs with a bellows was used to resuscitate near-drowning victims. This early technique of applying positive pressure to the victim’s lungs fell in disfavor by 1827 after several experiments by Leroy identified the method with the development of pneumothorax. For the next 100 years, external devices that provided cyclical periods of negative pressure to the thorax to achieve lung inflation were developed. These initial devices led to the development of the “iron lung” by Phillip Drinker in the 1920s. The iron lung remained the mainstay of therapy for respiratory failure outside of the operating room until the 1950s, with its primary application in treating patients with poliomyelitis-induced respiratory failure.
KeywordsContinuous Positive Airway Pressure Tidal Volume Plateau Pressure Inspiratory Flow Rate Hypercapnic Acidosis
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