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The History of Artifical Respiration [Retrospectroscope]

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Ever since man has been on this planet, there has been the need to inflate the lungs. Apart from biblical references to the breath of life, there is an unbroken line of progress in creating artificial respiration methods. The need for a practical manual method of artificial respiration became evident in the industrial revolution (late 1700s) when coal mining asphyxiations and drowning were frequent. The need increased when anesthesia entered medicine in the mid 1800s. In the late 1800s, when electrical energy was transmitted by high-voltage alternating current, the need became even more urgent because high-voltage shocks produce respiratory arrest. The post-World War II (1945) polio epidemic increased the need for artificial respiration applied continuously because the polio virus attacks the respiratory neurons. In modern times, the occurrence of frequent sedative drug overdose and cardiac arrest adds to the need for artificial respiration on an emergency basis.

Published in:

Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:26 ,  Issue: 6 )