Nils Alwall
Nils Alwall a Swedish
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

, was a pioneer in hemodialysis
In medicine, hemodialysis is a method for removing waste products such as creatinine and urea, as well as free water from the blood when the kidneys are in renal failure. Hemodialysis is one of three renal replacement therapies .Hemodialysis can be an outpatient or inpatient therapy...

 and the inventor of one of the first practical dialysis machines. Alwall pioneered the technique of ultrafiltration
Ultrafiltration is a variety of membrane filtration in which hydrostatic pressure forces a liquid against a semipermeable membrane. Suspended solids and solutes of high molecular weight are retained, while water and low molecular weight solutes pass through the membrane...

 and introduced the principle of hemofiltration
In medicine, hemofiltration, also haemofiltration, is a renal replacement therapy similar to hemodialysis which is used almost exclusively in the intensive care setting...

. Alwall is referred to as the "father of extracorporeal blood treatment."

Artificial kidney

Willem Johan Kolff
Willem Johan Kolff
Willem Johan "Pim" Kolff was a pioneer of hemodialysis as well as in the field of artificial organs. Willem is a member of the Kolff family, an old Dutch patrician family. He made his major discoveries in the field of dialysis for kidney failure during the Second World War...

 constructed the first artificial kidney, however it was not very useful clinically, because it did not allow for removal of excess fluid. Dr. Nils Alwall modified a similar construction to the Kolff kidney by enclosing it inside a stainless steel canister. This allowed the removal of fluids, by applying a negative pressure to the outside canister. Thus making it the first truly practical device for hemodialysis. Alwall treated his first patient in acute renal failure
Renal failure
Renal failure or kidney failure describes a medical condition in which the kidneys fail to adequately filter toxins and waste products from the blood...

 on the 3rd of September 1946, who responded well to the treatment but died of pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 a short while after.

Alwall also was arguably the inventor of the arteriovenous shunt for dialysis
In medicine, dialysis is a process for removing waste and excess water from the blood, and is primarily used to provide an artificial replacement for lost kidney function in people with renal failure...

. He reported this first in 1948, where he used such an arteriovenous shunt in rabbits. Subsequently he used such shunts, made of glass, as well as his canister-enclosed dialyzer, to treat 1500 patients in renal failure between 1946 and 1960, as reported to the First International Congress of Nephrology
Nephrology is a branch of internal medicine and pediatrics dealing with the study of the function and diseases of the kidney.-Scope of the specialty:...

 held in Evian in September 1960.

As of 2007, two patients for which kidney replacement therapy was initiated by Alwall in 1968 and 1971 respectively have survived for over 35 years on hemodialysis. These patients represent two of the longest known survivors on hemodialysis worldwide.

Later life

Alwall was appointed to a newly-created Chair of Nephrology at Lund University
Lund University
Lund University , located in the city of Lund in the province of Scania, Sweden, is one of northern Europe's most prestigious universities and one of Scandinavia's largest institutions for education and research, frequently ranked among the world's top 100 universities...

 in 1957. Subsequently, he collaborated with Swedish businessman Holger Crafoord
Holger Crafoord
Holger Crafoord was a Swedish industrialist and founded Gambro along with Nils Alwall‎, a company that would commercialize Alwall's research into artificial kidneys. He donated the initial funds for the establishment of the Crafoord Prize for scientific research.-See also:*Lund School of Economics...

 to found one of the key companies that would manufacture dialysis equipment in the past 40 years, Gambro, Inc
Gambro is a global medical technology companythat manufactures products for Dialysis treatment.The company is a global leader in developing, manufacturing andsupplying products and therapies for Kidneyand Liver Dialysis, Myeloma Kidney Therapy, and other...


Nils Alwall Prize

In honor of Alwall's advancements and achievements, The Nils Alwall Prize is awarded every year for "Groundbreaking research in the field of kidney replacement therapy."
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