Artificial Respiration Becomes Reality and a Life Saver

October 12, 2011 | posted in: Tech Chronicles | by

The Iron Lung: the first successful artificial respirator. Photo courtesy of

Technology that Shapes Our Lives

October 12, 1928

The iron lung artificial respirator is successfully used on a young polio sufferer at Children’s Hospital, Boston.

The iron lung, originally invented by Philip Drinker, an industrial hygienist, encases a person’s entire body, except for the head, and uses regulated air pressure to help a patient breathe when they are no longer able to on their own.

Most people placed in iron lungs during the 30s and 40s were polio sufferers, and most were young. Today the iron lung is rarely used as polio is no longer a major – or minor – threat and there are even more sophisticated breathing devices available.

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