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The First Dialysis Machine - Part 2

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Hello, and welcome back to Hemowear’s blog! In our last post, we talked briefly about the first dialysis machine created by Dr. Kolff constructed from sausage casings, drink cans, a washing machine, and other odds and ends. Though successful treatment using the machine wasn’t immediate, Dr. Koff’s invention paved the way for the modern dialysis machine and saved the lives of many along the way. 

Though many in the medical industry thought Dr. Kolff’s invention was “an abomination,” he and his colleagues continued to research better treatments for dialysis patients. Today, we are are continuing our history lesson of those that contributed to the advancement in treatment for those with acute renal failure and those with chronic end stage renal disease.

The 1950’s and More Advancements

As mentioned above, Dr. Kolff’s invention was revolutionary and solved the problem of acute renal failure. However, those with chronic end stage renal disease (ESRD) still needed something more. Not only did American doctors feel that a machine could not replace the function of the kidneys, but also many found it difficult to find a vessel to use after repeated dialysis treatments: Many patients suffered from damaged veins and arteries after treatments.

Dr. Scribner and the Solution

Dr. Belding Scribner was the one to make a breakthrough for patients with ESRD. He was the first to suggest using plastic tubes for the purpose of dialysis. One tube would be inserted into a vein and the other into an artery. After treatment, instead of the tubes being removed, they would be kept inside the patient and a U-shape device would connect the two. Though Scribner's Shunt is no longer used today, this advancement paved the way for better treatments in the future.

If you enjoy our blog, come back next time for more interesting posts about the history of dialysis, care tips, and other related topics. Also, be sure to shop Hemowear’s selection of PD belts and dialysis clothing! We pride ourselves in offering patients comfortable PD belts and other accessories. Shop our store online!