The heart-lung machine was
invented in 1930 by a surgeon names John H.
Gibbon, Jr. He had seen a woman die from an
operation because the brain was deprived of
oxygen a minute too long. He and his wife were
spurred by this tragedy to work on a machine that
could take over the function of the heart and the
lung during surgery.
To substitute the lungs, a
pump is used to send blood from the body to the
machine. In the machine, blood is enriched with
oxygen by blowing oxygen on a thin film of blood
on a wire screen in a turning metal cylinder.
In this manner, the heart
can be stopped for hours. Later manifestations of
Gibbon's heart-lung machine have made heart
transplants, implantation of artificial hearts
and all types of open heart surgery possible.
The Lungs... a person's gas exchanger