The first widespread use of long-term artificial ventilation, despite experimental attempts for more than a century, was during the poliomyelitis epidemic of 1952 in Copenhagen (1). The alveolar ventilation of patients suffering from this neuromuscular deficiency was assured by the means of iron lungs. These devices were huge, since they had to cover almost the entire body, and did not allow for precise measurement of respiratory volume and transpulmonary pressure. No reliable alarms were available and thus many patients succumbed due to technical failures. The routine nursing and medical care of a patient in the iron lung was highly demanding, if not sometimes almost impossible. This form of respiratory therapy was not likely to become the standard future treatment for respiratory insufficiency.


Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome Artificial Ventilation Computerize Decision Support Inverse Ratio Ventilation Continuous Positive Pressure Ventilation 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Böhm
  • B. Lachmann

There are no affiliations available

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