Medicine

  • Iron lung

    Inventory number: 4650
    Date: 1961
    Geographical location: Paris
    Dimensions: 137.5 x 185 x 76 cm

    The iron lung, also known as artificial respirator, is made up of a large cylindrical metal chamber in white enamel. The lid is independent with two metal handles. It features different manometers and regulation devices distributed throughout the sides. There are two plastified glass openings at the top to see the inside and the patient.

    This structure hermetically sealed the body of the patient, except the head. The chamber alternated positive and negative pressure on the body so that the thorax moved imitating natural breathing, inhaling and exhaling.

    It was used in the 20th century to treat illnesses connected with some types of respiratory paralysis. From the 1950s on the disappearance of illnesses such as polio meant iron lungs fell into disuse.