A Look Back at the Milestones in the Study of the Respiratory System

As modern medicine and research continue to advance we understand more and more about the respiratory system and discover new ways to treat pulmonary diseases. Throughout history, humans have made some significant discoveries that have paved the way for today’s research and treatment.

According to livescience.com, here are a few of the most important milestones which have led us to where we are today:

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Thirteenth century: The anatomist Ibn Al-Nafis theorized that blood must have to pass through the pulmonary artery, then the lungs, and then into the heart to be pumped to the rest of the body. This is generally considered the first accurate description of how pulmonary circulation works.

1897: A pork bone was extracted from the bronchus of a farmer by German laryngologist, Gustav Killian, who used a rigid esophagoscope for the procedure.

1898: The first bronchoscopy is performed in the U.S. by A. Coolidge at Massachusetts General Hospital.

1905: The American Thoracic Society is formed by a small group of doctors who wanted to improve tuberculosis treatment by sharing their own experiences.

1907: Instruments for esophagoscopy and bronchoscopy are developed and improved by Chevalier Jackson in Philadelphia.

1963: The first human lung transplant took place at the University of Mississippi. The procedure was done by James Hardy and the patient survived for 18 days post-surgery.

1964: A prototype for a flexible bronchoscope was developed by Japanese physician Shigeto Ikeda.

1983: The world’s first successful lung transplantation occurred in Toronto and was carried out by thoracic surgeon Joel. D. Cooper.

1986: Dr. Joel D. Cooper performs the world’s first double lung transplant.

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