Five years ago Sarnoff and co-workers demonstrated in experiments with animals that electrical stimulation of one phrenic nerve could maintain adequate pulmonary ventilation for long periods of time in the absence of spontaneous respiration.1 This method of respiration was termed electrophrenic respiration. Adequate bilateral pulmonary ventilation was later shown to be maintained when but one phrenic nerve is stimulated.2 The series of events that leads to artificial respiration is as follows. The stimulated phrenic nerve sends impulses to the corresponding portion of the diaphragm, causing it to contract and descend; the mediastinum shifts toward the stimulated side in response to the created negative intrapleural pressure; the contralateral lung is then expanded almost to the same degree as the lung on the stimulated side. This phenomenon may be clinically applied by the use of an electrically operated stimulator called the electrophrenic respirator, which is a portable electronic device capable
Macaulay JC. PHRENIC STIMULATION IN THE TREATMENT OF ACUTE BULBAR POLIOMYELITIS. JAMA. 1954;155(6):541–543. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.03690240007003
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