1. mechanical ventilation in which various devices that surround the thorax are used in such a way that the development of negative or subatmospheric pressure causes thoracic expansion and thus inhalation; the release of the negative pressure allows the thorax to relax and thus the lungs to exhale. This is the type of ventilation made famous by the “iron lung,” used in so many patients with poliomyelitis. Other such ventilators include the cuirass and the body suit.
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary © Wolters Kluwer Health. All rights reserved.