To the Editor: In his Contempo Updates article
about noninvasive ventilation (NIV), Dr Brochard1 only
briefly mentioned negative-pressure ventilators, the best known of which was
the Drinker respirator, also called the iron lung.
The use of this whole-body ventilator subsided with the advent of the
positive-pressure ventilator. Although not physiological, it had several advantages:
small size, simplicity of operation, and small dedicated floor space. It also
facilitated physical access to the patient, allowing closer attention to wounds,
pressure points, various catheters, intravenous injections, and bedclothes.
Lyons WS. Negative-Pressure Ventilation. JAMA. 2003;289(8):983. doi:10.1001/jama.289.8.983a
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