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Medical profession concerned with assisting the respiratory function of individuals who have severe lung disorders. Practices include suctioning to clear secretions from the airway, use of aerosol mists (sometimes medicated) or gases to ease breathing, and tilting the body and chest percussion to promote drainage. A respiratory therapist also manages mechanical ventilation, a process in which a machine generates a controlled flow of a gas mixture into the airway of a patient who cannot breathe efficiently.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on respiratory therapy, visit Britannica.com.