From Iron Lung to Microprocessor Ventilators: Advances in Respiratory Care Practice

Produced by Imagine Perfect Care, October 24, 2019.

Iron Lungs & Ventilators. The iron lung was one of the earliest forms of artificial ventilation for patients with breathing disorders. The ventilators used today in our ICUs have come a long way from the type of ventilation delivered by the iron lung. The iron lung provided negative pressure ventilation which is very similar to the manner which we naturally breathe. However, the design of the iron lung made it very difficult to care for patients and it could not support patients with other types of lung disease such as severe pneumonia. The ventilators used today by respiratory therapists provides positive pressure ventilation which enables easier care for the patient and can support most patients requiring artificial ventilation.

About Respiratory Therapy. Respiratory Therapy evolved as a profession in the 1960s when positive pressure ventilation began to be used more often in hospitals. At the time, the name of the profession was actually Inhalation Therapy. As the sophistication of ventilators and other breathing assistance devices grew, so did the need for formally trained practitioners. Today most respiratory therapists at University of Utah Health graduate with a B.S. degree and 98% of our staff hold the advanced practitioner credential of a registered respiratory therapist (RRT). In addition, our department has the most therapists in the state which hold the Adult Critical Care Specialist (ACCS) credential.

There are over 100 respiratory therapists working at University of Utah Health taking care of patients from adult and neonatal ICUs to the EDs at University Hospital and the South Jordan Health Center. Respiratory Therapists also work closely with our cystic fibrosis population as well as many patients with asthma and emphysema.

Check out the photos from our event:

A Timeline of Polio, 1580 BCE to 2014
Polio Timeline. “From Iron Lung to Microprocessor Ventilators”. Exhibition by Imagine Perfect Care, University of Utah Hospital, Oct 24, 2019.
Iron Lung Open House B
From Iron Lung to Microprocessor Ventilators

The Evolution of Mechanical Ventilation by Camille Stover

The Evolution of Mechanical Ventilation

by Camille Stover, RRT
Respiratory Therapist

Watch the documentary (5:26m)

Mechanical ventilation : my journey from Iron Lung to CPAP mask

Hi, I’m Adolf Ratzka. When I caught polio in 1961, I immediately needed mechanical ventilation. For over half a century I have used various machines that help me breathe. Today, my breathing aid is the nasal mask that you see on my face.

Watch the documentary (6:32m)

Imagine Perfect Care (IPC)

From Iron Lung to Microprocessor Ventilators: Advances in Respiratory Care Practice

October 22-25, 2019
Imagine Perfect Care Resource Center

Teri Olsen
Senior Director, Executive Projects

Maiko Taguchi
Jenny Dang
Jacob Ekker
Molly Gaugran
Allie Hansen
Brayden Haws

Note: As of November 1, 2020, Imagine Perfect Care joined with Accelerate.