Timeline of respiratory therapy

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Ancient period[edit]

Eighteenth Century (1700s)[edit]

  • 1771: (US) Carl Scheele (1742–1786) makes "fire air" (oxygen) by heating magnesium oxide. His findings are published in June 1774.
  • 1774: (US) Joseph Priestley (1733–1804), credited with the discovery of oxygen, publishes his work on "dephlogisticated air" oxygen 3 months after a report by Carl Scheele.

Nineteenth Century (1800s)[edit]

Twentieth Century (1900s)[edit]


  • 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]


  • 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.


  • 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)[edit]


  1. ^ a b c 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. ^ a b c d e 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 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. Retrieved April 21, 2012. The Office of Regulatory Reinvention Made 63 Recommendations to Governor Snyder for Improving Michigan's Occupational Licensing Regulations