Rubin’s apparatus for uterotubal insufflation, New York, United States, 1928

1928 in New York

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Utero-tubal insufflation apparatus, in case, metal, with instructions, advertisement and tin for typewriter ribbon, invented by Rubin, made by Becker, from Italian Hospital in London, American make, 1928

Potential blockage in the Fallopian tubes was assessed using this apparatus. It was developed by American gynaecologist Isidor Clinton Rubin (1883-1958). It blows carbon dioxide, via a cannula, into the uterus. The ease with which gas escaped through the Fallopian tubes was reflected by pressure changes on an instrument called a manometer. Blockage of the tubes is often due to previous infection or surgery. It is a common cause of infertility.

Rubin’s test formed a standard part of infertility investigations for many years. It was gradually replaced by an X-ray technique involving radio-opaque ‘dye’ injected into the uterus. The apparatus was made by American maker Joseph Becker and the Ohio Chemical and Manufacturing Company. It was used at the Italian Hospital in London.