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Father of Artificial Organs ‐ The story of medical pioneer Willem J. Kolff (1911‐2009)

This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi:10.1111/aor.13990


This biography of serial inventor and medical doctor Willem J. (“Pim”) Kolff is written by scientific/historical journalist Herman Broers. The book provides an objective and multi‐perspective account of the life and work of Dr. Kolff, who put an undisputed mark on the history of organ‐replacement devices by secretly inventing the first clinically functioning hemodialysis machine (in a Nazi‐occupied Holland) and later in the United States leading the team that realized the first implantable fully artificial heart. Besides offering a solid historical account, the book also describes the present revival of innovation in the artificial kidney field and contains valuable lessons for a broad variety of readers. Suitable for an audience ranging from medical professionals interested in technology & technologists interested in medicine, to patients & their families, as well as policy makers & research funding parties. The review of this scientific/historic book was composed using the recommendations of Gupta for book reviews of scientific and technical books. Additionally, the reviewer team, composed of a biomedical engineer, a dialysis patient, and a nephrologist, tried to distil some lessons that may be learned from the book.

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