Hemodialysis is a method that is used to achieve the extracorporeal removal of waste products such as creatinine and urea and free water from the blood when the kidneys are in a state of renal failure. Hemodialysis is one of three renal replacement therapies (the other two being renal transplant and peritoneal dialysis). An alternative method for extracorporeal separation of blood components such as plasma or cells is apheresis.
Many have played a role in developing dialysis as a practical treatment for renal failure, starting with Thomas Graham of Glasgow, who first presented the principles of solute transport across a semipermeable membrane in 1854.The artificial kidney was first developed by Abel, Rountree, and Turner in 1913,the first hemodialysis in a human being was by Hass (February 28, 1924) and the artificial kidney was developed into a clinically useful apparatus by Kolff in 1943 - 1945.This research showed that life could be prolonged in patients dying of renal failure.
Willem Kolff was the first to construct a working dialyzer in 1943. The first successfully treated patient was a 67-year-old woman in uremic coma who regained consciousness after 11 hours of hemodialysis with Kolff's dialyzer in 1945. At the time of its creation, Kolff's goal was to provide life support during recovery from acute renal failure. After World War II ended, Kolff donated the five dialyzers he had made to hospitals around the world, including Mount Sinai Hospital, New York. Kolff gave a set of blueprints for his hemodialysis machine to George Thorn at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. This led to the manufacture of the next generation of Kolff's dialyzer, a stainless steel Kolff-Brigham dialysis machine.
According to McKellar (1999), a significant contribution to renal therapies was made by Canadian surgeon Gordon Murray with the assistance of two doctors, an undergraduate chemistry student, and research staff. Murray's work was conducted simultaneously and independently from that of Kolff. Murray's work led to the first successful artificial kidney built in North America in 1945–46, which was successfully used to treat a 26-year-old woman out of a uraemic coma in Toronto. The less-crude, more compact, second-generation "Murray-Roschlau" dialyser was invented in 1952–53, whose designs were stolen by German immigrant Erwin Halstrup, and passed off as his own (the "Halstrup–Baumann artificial kidney").
By the 1950s, Willem Kolff's invention of the dialyzer was used for acute renal failure, but it was not seen as a viable treatment for patients with stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD). At the time, doctors believed it was impossible for patients to have dialysis indefinitely for two reasons. First, they thought no man-made device could replace the function of kidneys over the long term. In addition, a patient undergoing dialysis suffered from damaged veins and arteries, so that after several treatments, it became difficult to find a vessel to access the patient's blood.