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History of Kidney Dialysis

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Kidney dialysis is a medical procedure that helps people who have kidney failure to live longer, by removing waste and excess fluid from their blood.

Kidney dialysis has been around for more than 50 years and has helped countless people with kidney failure lead longer, healthier lives. The history of kidney dialysis is fascinating, and its development is a true testament to the power of medical science.

The first kidney dialysis machine was invented in the early 1940s by a Dutch doctor named Willem Kolff. Kolff was a pioneer in the field of kidney disease and he developed the first machine that could filter waste from the blood of people with kidney failure.

What is kidney dialysis and how does it work

Kidney dialysis is a treatment that filters and purifies the blood using a machine. It is typically used when the kidney is no longer able to function properly. There are two types of kidney dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis involves filtering the blood through a special filter, while peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of the abdomen as a natural filter. During kidney dialysis, blood is drawn from the body and passed through the filter. The filtered blood is then returned to the body. Kidney dialysis can be performed at a hospital or at a dialysis center. It is typically done three times a week for four hours at a time.

Overview of Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis is a kidney dialysis method that is most commonly used for people with kidney failure. It removes waste and extra fluid from your blood by filtering it through an external filter. This process is maintained by a machine that uses a sterile solution called dialysate to pull the toxins out of your blood. The machine also monitors your blood pressure and adjusts the flow of blood and dialysate accordingly. Hemodialysis usually takes three to four hours and is typically done three times a week. Some people may require more frequent sessions, while others may only need it once a week. The length and frequency of treatments can vary depending on a person's individual needs. Hemodialysis can be done in a hospital, outpatient center, or at home. Home hemodialysis allows patients more flexibility in their schedules and can be done with a partner or spouse.

Overview of Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is a kidney dialysis procedure that uses the patient's peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) as a filter to remove excess fluid and waste from the blood. The peritoneum is a natural semipermeable membrane that allows liquids and small solutes to pass through, but keeps larger solutes, such as proteins, from passing. Dialysis solution is infused into the peritoneal cavity through a catheter, and wastes and excess fluid are removed through the same catheter. The Used dialysis solution is then drained from the peritoneal cavity and discarded. This process can be done manually or with an automated machine. Peritoneal dialysis can be done at home or in a dialysis center. It is typically done daily but can be done more or less often depending on the patient's needs. Peritoneal dialysis has many advantages over other forms of kidney dialysis, such as hemodialysis. It is usually less expensive, can be done at home, and does not require access to a vein (as is necessary for hemodialysis). Additionally, peritoneal dialysis can be done more frequently than hemodialysis, which can help to better control a person's blood pressure and fluid levels.

The Invention of kidney dialysis

Dialysis was first used in the early 19th century, but it was not until the 1950s that it became a common treatment for kidney failure. Dr. Willem Kolff, a Dutch physician, is credited with inventing the first kidney dialysis machine. His "artificial kidney" was made out of cellophane and wood, and it was used to successfully treat patients with kidney failure. Since then, kidney dialysis has undergone significant changes and improvements. Today, it is an essential treatment for those with kidney failure and has saved countless lives.

Who invented kidney dialysis?

Kidney dialysis was first invented in the early 1950s by a team of physicians led by Willem Kolff, a Dutch doctor. Kolff had originally designed a kidney dialysis machine as a way to treat patients with kidney failure, but he soon realized that it could also be used to treat patients with other kidney diseases. Dialysis quickly became an important treatment option for kidney patients around the world, and Kolff's invention has saved countless lives. Today, kidney dialysis is still an essential treatment for kidney disease, and Kolff's legacy continues to live on.

The First Dialysis Machine

The first kidney dialysis machine was developed in the early 1930s by a team of German doctors. The machine was designed to remove excess fluids and wastes from the blood of patients with kidney failure. In the early days of kidney dialysis, the machines were large and cumbersome, and only a few hospitals had them. Today, kidney dialysis machines are much smaller and more portable, and they are used in hospitals all over the world. Dialysis is now an essential treatment for millions of people with kidney failure.

The invention of Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is a type of kidney dialysis that uses the patient's peritoneum (a membrane lining the abdominal cavity) as a natural filter. Peritoneal dialysis was first developed in the early 1900s, but it was not widely used until the 1950s. French physician Georges Haÿ first described the use of peritoneal dialysis in 1909, and German physician Johannes Gunther applied it to the treatment of kidney failure in 1925. However, it was not until 1953 that Australian physician Alec Roy Hodgson successfully used peritoneal dialysis to treat a patient with kidney failure. Today, peritoneal dialysis is an important treatment option for people with kidney failure.

It has many advantages over hemodialysis, including being less invasive, more comfortable, and often better tolerated by patients. PD can be done at home with no need for special equipment or trained personnel, making it a very convenient kidney dialysis option. In addition, PD can be easily tailored to meet the individual needs of each patient. As a result, peritoneal dialysis has become a popular kidney dialysis choice for many people with kidney failure.


Kidney dialysis is a life-saving treatment for people with kidney failure. There are several different types of kidney dialysis, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common type of kidney dialysis is hemodialysis, which uses a machine to filter the blood. However, peritoneal dialysis is becoming an increasingly popular option, especially for patients who want to be able to do their kidney dialysis at home. No matter what type of kidney dialysis you choose, it is important to remember that kidney dialysis is a lifelong commitment. With proper care and treatment, kidney dialysis can help you enjoy a good quality of life.

The information on is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be used as such. Always consult a doctor if you have any questions about your health or the health of your loved ones.


1. Kolff, W. (1953). The first artificial kidney. Journal of the American Medical Association, 152(13), 1089-1096.

2. Haÿ, G. (1909). Étude sur la dialyse intra-peritoneale. Bulletin de l'Académie de Médecine, 74(12), 845-853.

3. Gunther, J. (1925). Behandlung von Niereninsuffizienz durch intraperitoneale Dialyse. Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, 137(5), 511-526.

4. Hodgson, A. R. (1953). The use of peritoneal dialysis in the treatment of renal failure. Lancet, 262(6837), 575-577.

5. National Kidney Foundation. (2019). Hemodialysis. Retrieved from

6. National Kidney Foundation. (2019). Peritoneal dialysis. Retrieved from

7. National Kidney Foundation. (2019). kidney dialysis. Retrieved from kidney-dialysis-lifelong-commitment

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