Mount Sinai and the History of Nephrology

The Mount Sinai Hospital Division of Nephrology has a distinguished history that dates to the 1940s. Following World War II, Dr. Wilhelm Kolff was invited to the Mount Sinai Hospital from Holland to train physicians in the use of his newly developed artificial kidney. In 1948, the first successful hemodialysis in the United States was performed at Mount Sinai on a patient with acute renal failure.

In the 1950s, Dr. Marvin F. Levitt was asked to create a Postgraduate Training Program in Renal Disease at Mount Sinai. Dr. Levitt had trained in renal pathophysiology under Dr. Homer Smith, known as the father of modern renal physiology.

Under Dr. Levitt, the program initially focused research on problems of fluid and electrolyte balance, renal hemodynamics, and the action of diuretics. Human and animal studies were designed to analyze the pathophysiologic basis for a variety of common clinical conditions. As the program evolved, micropuncture techniques were employed to study renal uric acid transport and the pathophysiology of acute renal failure.

Simultaneously, as dialysis approaches expanded, the Nephrology division led the development of innovations in the performance of CAVH (continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration), peritoneal dialysis, and hemodialysis.

Graduates of the Fellowship Program rose to national prominence as professors, division chiefs, heads of departments, including the Division of Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

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