Timeline of respiratory therapy

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Ancient period

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country in the northeast corner of Africa, whose territory in the Sinai Peninsula extends beyond the continental boundary with Asia, as traditionally defined. Egypt is bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, Libya to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Ebers Papyrus Ancient Egyptian medical papyrus

The Ebers Papyrus, also known as Papyrus Ebers, is an Egyptian medical papyrus of herbal knowledge dating to circa 1550 BC. Among the oldest and most important medical papyri of ancient Egypt, it was purchased at Luxor (Thebes) in the winter of 1873–74 by Georg Ebers. It is currently kept at the library of the University of Leipzig, in Germany.

Asthma long-term disease involving poor airflow in the lungs

Asthma is a common long-term inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and easily triggered bronchospasms. Symptoms include episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. These may occur a few times a day or a few times per week. Depending on the person, they may become worse at night or with exercise.

Eighteenth Century (1700s)

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Joseph Priestley English theologian, chemist, educator, and political theorist

Joseph Priestley was an 18th-century English Separatist theologian, natural philosopher, chemist, innovative grammarian, multi-subject educator, and liberal political theorist who published over 150 works. He has historically been credited with the discovery of oxygen, having isolated it in its gaseous state, although Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Antoine Lavoisier also have strong claims to the discovery.

Nineteenth Century (1800s)

Stethoscope acoustic medical device for auscultation

The stethoscope is an acoustic medical device for auscultation, or listening to the internal sounds of an animal or human body. It typically has a small disc-shaped resonator that is placed against the skin, and one or two tubes connected to two earpieces. A stethoscope can be used to listen to the sounds made by the heart, lungs or intestines, as well as blood flow in arteries and veins. In combination with a manual sphygmomanometer, it is commonly used when measuring blood pressure.

Spectrometer instrument used to measure properties of light

A spectrometer is a scientific instrument used to separate and measure spectral components of a physical phenomenon. Spectrometer is a broad term often used to describe instruments that measure a continuous variable of a phenomenon where the spectral components are somehow mixed. In visible light a spectrometer can separate white light and measure individual narrow bands of color, called a spectrum. A mass spectrometer measures the spectrum of the masses of the atoms or molecules present in a gas. The first spectrometers were used to split light into an array of separate colors. Spectrometers were developed in early studies of physics, astronomy, and chemistry. The capability of spectroscopy to determine chemical composition drove its advancement and continues to be one of its primary uses. Spectrometers are used in astronomy to analyze the chemical composition of stars and planets, and spectrometers gather data on the origin of the universe.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Twentieth Century (1900s)


  • 1908: (US) George Poe demonstrated his mechanical respirator by asphyxiating dogs and seemingly bringing them back to life.
  • 1918: Oxygen masks are used to treat combat-induced pulmonary edema. [3]
George Poe American chemist

George Poe, Jr. was a pioneer of mechanical ventilation of asphyxiation victims. He was the first person to manufacture nitrous oxide for commercial use in his Trenton, New Jersey company.

Pulmonary edema fluid accumulation in the air spaces and parenchyma of the lungs

Pulmonary edema is fluid accumulation in the tissue and air spaces of the lungs. It leads to impaired gas exchange and may cause respiratory failure. It is due to either failure of the left ventricle of the heart to remove blood adequately from the pulmonary circulation, or an injury to the lung parenchyma or vasculature of the lung. Treatment is focused on three aspects: firstly improving respiratory function, secondly, treating the underlying cause, and thirdly avoiding further damage to the lung. Pulmonary edema, especially acute, can lead to fatal respiratory distress or cardiac arrest due to hypoxia. It is a cardinal feature of congestive heart failure. The term edema is from the Greek οἴδημα, from οἰδέω.


  • 1928: Phillip Drinker develops the "iron lung" negative pressure ventilator. [3]
  • 1935: Carl Matthes invented the first noninvasive oximeter employing an ear probe. [1]


  • 1943: Dr. Edwin R. Levine, MD began training technicians in basic inhalation therapy for post-surgical patients.
  • 1946: (US) Dr Levine and his technicians formed the Inhalation Therapy Association.
  • 1954: (US) March 16, 1954 the ITA is renamed the American Association of Inhalation Therapists (AAIT).
  • 1966: (US) February 1966, the ITA was again renamed the American Association for Inhalation Therapy (still, AAIT).
  • 1956: (US) The AAIT begins publishing a science journal, Inhalation Therapy (now RESPIRATORY CARE).
  • 1960: (US)In October 1960 The American Registry of Inhalation Therapists (ARIT) is formed to oversee examinations for formal credentialing for people in the field.

Respiratory Care is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Association of Respiratory Care. It was established in 1956 as Inhalation Therapy and obtained its current title in 1970. The journal is abstracted and indexed in Index Medicus, PubMed, and the Science Citation Index. The editor-in-chief is Dean R. Hess.


  • 1961: (US) Sister Mary Yvonne Jenn becomes the first Registered Respiratory Therapist [3]
  • 1961: Metaproterenol, the beta-2 bronchodilator is introduced. [3]
  • 1964: (CA) The Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) is founded in 1964 as the Canadian Society of Inhalation Therapy Technicians.
  • 1970: (US) In 1970 The Board of Schools of Inhalation Therapy Technicians became the Joint Review Committee for Respiratory Therapy Education (JRCRTE).
  • 1971: (US) Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is introduced by Gregory. [3]
  • 1971: (US) The journal Inhalation Therapy is renamed to Respiratory Care .
  • 1974: (US) The two US credentialing programs merge into a single credentialing organization called the National Board for Respiratory Therapy (NBRT) in 1974.
  • 1980: (US) President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Week. (July 22)


Twenty-First Century (2000s)

Related Research Articles

Physical therapy Physiotherapy is autonomous health care profession. Physiotherapist asses individual, diagnosis, treatment to the patient.

Physical therapy (PT), also known as physiotherapy, is one of the allied health professions that, by using evidence-based kinesiology, electrotherapy, shockwave modality, exercise prescription, joint mobilization and health education, treats conditions such as chronic or acute pain, soft tissue injuries, cartilage damage, arthritis, gait disorders and physical impairments typically of musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, neurological and endocrinological origins. Physical therapy is used to improve a patient's physical functions through physical examination, diagnosis, prognosis, physical intervention, rehabilitation and patient education. It is practiced by physical therapists.

Respiratory therapist health profession

A respiratory therapist is a specialized healthcare practitioner trained in pulmonary medicine in order to work therapeutically with people suffering from pulmonary disease. Respiratory therapists graduate from a college or university with a certification in respiratory therapy and have passed a national board certifying examination. The NBRC is the not-for-profit organization responsible for credentionaling the seven areas of Respiratory Therapy in the United States.

A Doctor of Physical Therapy or Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT) degree is a qualifying degree in physical therapy. In the United States it is an entry-level professional degree, while in the United Kingdom it includes advanced professional training and doctoral-level research. A DPT is a practitioner who is educated in many areas of rehabilitation.

Registered respiratory therapist certification for respiratory practitioners

A registered respiratory therapist (RRT) is a certification for Respiratory Care Practitioners. In the United States, the certificate for the RRT is issued by the National Board for Respiratory Care after passing the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination NBRC-TMC and Clinical Simulation Examination NBRC-CSE examinations. Eligibility for the NBRC-CSE examination is based on scoring high enough on the NBRC-TMC, and holding at least an Associate of Science in Respiratory Care. In Canada the RRT certification is granted by examination from the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists. Internationally, respiratory care is governed by local governments and certification or license to practice as a respiratory practitioner is managed locally without the use of separate organizations as in the United States and Canada.

Western Schools is a company based in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA, that provides continuing education programs to health care professionals. The company was founded in 1979 and was a division of Specialty Commerce Corp. until August, 2018, when it was bought by Colibri Group.

A Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT), formerly Certified Respiratory Therapy Technician (CRTT), is a therapist who has graduated from a respiratory therapy program at a university or college and has passed a national certification exam. A CRT or RRT is typically expected to adjust, modify or recommend therapeutic techniques within well-defined procedures based on a limited range of patient responses. In the healthcare setting, usually required supervision by a physician experienced in respiratory care.

Health professional requisites refer to the regulations used by countries to control the quality of health workers practicing in their jurisdictions and to control the size of the health labour market. They include licensure, certification and proof of minimum training for regulated health professions.

American Career College is a private, for profit vocational college that specializes in health care training programs. It was founded by David Pyle in 1978. American Career College offers both Diploma and Associate Degree programs through three campuses in the Los Angeles metro area.

In the United States, Certified Pulmonary Function Technician (CPFT) is a medical technician who is at least a Certified Respiratory Therapist and at most a Registered Respiratory Therapist that has successfully passed the national certification exam. A pulmonary function technician assists a Registered Pulmonary Function Technician with performing function tests on patients. Tests are done both inpatient and outpatient and in specialty clinics such as asthma clinics and sleep centers.

American Association for Respiratory Care

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is a non profit organization and is the only professional organization supporting Respiratory Care in the United States. In addition to attempting to help lobby for beneficial legislation nationally and locally, the AARC is trying to promote the profession as a whole to increase interest and membership. The AARC began in 1943, as the Inhalation Technician Association and has evolved rapidly and repeatedly since.

The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Inc. is a non-profit organization formed in 1960 with the purpose of awarding and maintaining credentialing for Respiratory Therapists in the United States. The NBRC is the only organization in the United States which develops certification examinations for Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs) and Certified Respiratory Therapists (CRTs). The NBRC also offers additional specialization credentialing for respiratory practitioners that hold its certifications. The CRT and RRT designations are the standard credential in respiratory care for licensure requirements in the portions of the United States that have enacted a Respiratory Care Act. States that license respiratory therapists sometimes require the practitioner to maintain their NBRC credentialing to maintain their license to practice. The NBRC is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas. It has been in the Kansas City metropolitan area since 1974. The NBRC is located at 10801 Mastin St, Suite 300, Overland Park, KS 66210.

A polysomnographic technologist performs overnight, daytime, or home sleep studies, polysomnograms, on people with suspected sleep disorders. In the United States and worldwide, the process for becoming a polysomnography technician or technologist is primarily either on-the-job or certificate based. There are associate level programs offered by for-profit schools that award a degree in polysomnography technology in the United States, though not necessary to attain employment with the same title. After an education program or adequate on-the-job training is complete, the student is eligible for credentialing by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT), a non-profit credentialing agency based in the United States but serving polysomnographers worldwide. The BRPT maintains credentialing for over 35 countries including Canada and the United States as well as over 17,000 individuals working in the industry.

The Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) was founded in 1964 as the Canadian Society of Inhalation Therapy Technicians. Currently it is the Canadian national professional association for respiratory therapists.

A Pulmonary Scientist is a health care occupation in the field of diagnostic studies related specifically to pulmonary function, the term Respiratory Scientist may also refer to a Pulmonologist who holds a medical degree and a doctoral degree (MD-PhD). Internationally pulmonary scientists have many different titles, such as: pulmonary function technologist, respiratory scientist, pulmonary scientist, cardiopulmonary specialist and in some places registered respiratory therapists are also used in the role of pulmonary scientists. A physician in respiratory science is generally referred to as a physician in their title.

A Sleep disorder specialist (SDS) is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT-SDS) that has successfully passed the certification examination NBRC-SDS. The respiratory therapist may also be a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT-SDS) under certain conditions. The sleep disorder specialist scores and performs polysomnography and also assists in diagnosing and preparing a treatment plan for the condition. Some of the conditions the sleep disorder specialist helps evaluate and treat are; insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.

Healthcare professional credentials are credentials awarded to many healthcare practitioners as a way to standardize the level of education and ability to provide care.

American Respiratory Care Foundation organization

The American Respiratory Care Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by the American Association for Respiratory Care formed to provide funding for research in the field of pulmonology and respiratory care. Formed in 1974 as the American Respiratory Therapy Foundation and then changed to the American Respiratory Care Foundation in 1986. The ARCF is a partner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, who has awarded grants to the ARCF in order to help fund research directly related to asthma and asthma education.

The Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care is a four-year academic degree in the science and principles of respiratory care, granted by a tertiary education university or similarly accredited school. In the United States one is eligible to sit for the NBRC-WRE licensing examination to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist after graduating from either a two-year program with an associate degree or from a four-year program with a bachelor's degree, the bachelor's degree prepares respiratory practitioners for a professional role away from the bedside with coursework in science, research, leadership, and informatics.

An Associate of Science in Respiratory Care (ASRC) is an entry-level tertiary education respiratory therapy degree. In the United States, this type of degree is usually awarded by community colleges or similar respiratory schools. Some four year colleges also offer this degree. Students in the United States awarded an Associate of Science in Respiratory Care are qualified to sit for the NBRC-ELE and then the NBRC-WRE and NBRC-CSE then apply for state licensure as a Registered Respiratory Therapist.

College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario (CRTO) regulates the profession of respiratory care by setting out requirements for entry to practice in Ontario, Canada. Authorized by the legislation "Regulated Health Professionals Act" in Ontario, the role of the College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario is to regulate the practice of respiratory therapy and govern the registered respiratory therapists. Respiratory therapy has been an established health care profession in Canada since 1964.


  1. 1 2 3 Severinghaus JW, Astrup PB (1986). "History of blood gas analysis. VI. Oximetry". J Clin Monit. 2 (4): 270–88. PMID   3537215.
  2. March 25, 1899 edition of The Lancet , "Bronchitis, Pulmonary Emphysema, and Asthma"
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Ward JJ, Helmholtz HF: Roots of the respiratory care profession. In Burton GG, Hodgkin JE, Ward JJ, editors: Respiratory care: a guide to clinical practice, ed 4, Philadelphia, 1997, Lippincott.
  4. http://www.aarc.com%5B%5D American Association of Respiratory Care
  5. Sleep Disorders Specialty Examination Receives NCCA Accreditation Press Release, http://nbrc.org
  6. "Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 466D-RespiratoryTherapists" http://hawaii.gov/dcca/pvl/hrs/HRS466D.pdf; July 2011
  7. "Office of Regulatory Reinvention Issues Recommendations to Deregulate 18 Occupations; Eliminate 9 Boards" (Press release). Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. April 16, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-04-20. Retrieved April 21, 2012. The Office of Regulatory Reinvention Made 63 Recommendations to Governor Snyder for Improving Michigan's Occupational Licensing Regulations