Nils Alwall – one of precursors of dialysis treatment


Nils Alwall (1904-1986) came from a small village in southern Sweden. In 1923 he began his medical studies at the Lund University, to graduate in 1932. During his studies he conducted experimental work and in 1935 defended his doctoral thesis in pharmacology. In 1936 he was awarded the title of associate professor of pharmacology and started clinical practice combined with experimental research in the Department of Medicine at Lund. In 1940 Alwall obtained the position of assistant professor of practical medicine and in 1957 was promoted to professor of nephrology at the world’s first Department of Nephrology. His medical interests were many-sided but mostly related to kidney diseases and replacement therapy after the loss of renal function. From 1941 he worked on the construction of the vertical drum artificial kidney, tested mostly in rabbits, which also enabled ultrafiltration. The dialysis was first applied in September 1946 in a patient with severe uremia, and soon afterwards the first ward for artificial kidney therapy was established. Thenceforward Lund department became the leading center for treatment of acute and later also chronic renal insufficiency. Alwall was also the inventor of the arteriovenous shunt (1943-1948) and the pioneer in the use of renal biopsy (1943). He also inspired creation of the Gambro Company in Lund (1964) which resulted in construction of coil dialyzer (1966) and sheet single-use plate dialyzer (1967). Alwall was also involved in the founding of the International Society of Nephrology (1960), European Dialysis and Transplant Association (1964), and Swedish Society of Nephrology (1964), engaged at leading positions in these organizations, also after his retirement in 1971. He is an author and coauthor of 203 publications.


Keywords: Nils Alwall, Dialysis Treatment, artificial kidney

Ci spiace, ma questo articolo è disponibile soltanto in Inglese Americano.