Introduction of a simple artificial kidney in the United States

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IN the fall of 1964 while visiting the medical department of Dr. Hippocrates Yatzidis in Athens, Greece, to see his ‘charcoal' artificial kidney, I noted a ‘wind-it-yourself’ artificial kidney that greatly impressed me. It had a large coil that could be wound easily, with a cellophane tube in it, and the hospital technician or nurse newly wound the coil every time an artificial kidney was needed. The principle of a wind-it-yourself coil has appealed to me since 1948 when I saw it first applied by Bodo von Garrelts.

Until inexpensive, disposable units become available in drugstores throughout the country, the wind-it-yourself artificial kidney offers a partial solution to the financial burden of thousands of patients who will depend on hemodialysis for the rest of their lives.

The design of the ‘Greek’ artificial kidney had actually been reported by Hillenbrand, Hoeltzenbein, and Schmandt1 in Germany, and at one time was produced commercially; it is not now being manufactured. The German manufacturers were no longer interested in the product, therefore I communicated with one of the inventors of this artificial kidney, Dr. Josef Hoeltzenbein, and invited him to visit us in Cleveland. Before he came, efforts to make simpler kidneys had been well underway at the Cleveland Clinic.

During the last few years we had kept an eye on all the new artificial kidneys whenever and wherever they were developed. Great impetus was derived from the experiences in the dialysis center of Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland. Dr. Victor Vertes, Mr. Marion . . .



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