Division of nephrology

MUSC Nephrology History

Arthur V. Williams, M.D. (R)

Arthur V. Williams, M.D. (right), John Buse, M.D.(center) and Chives M. Smythe, M.D., perform a dialysis treatment (circa 1961).

Arthur V. Williams, MD, the first practicing nephrologist in the State of South Carolina, founded the MUSC Division of Nephrology. Dr. Williams participated in the development of an artificial kidney in 1949 inwork funded by the Allis-Chalmers Company, and was one of the first U.S. nephrologists to dialyze a human being (1955 in Charleston).

He also established the Renal Research Laboratory in Charleston in 1955, and went on to found the division in 1964. When chronic support of patients with end stage renal failure became technically possible in the late 1960's, Dr. Williams established the first dialysis program in South Carolina and one of the first dialysis programs in the Southeast. Dr. Williams remained active in the Division as a Professor Emeritus until his death on February 15, 2007.

Research was a major component of the division from the very beginning, supported by institutional moniesand a research arrangement between the division and Dialysis Clinics, Inc. Those funds have supported several research fellowships, start-up for junior faculty, and creation of four substantial Endowed Research Chairs in the Division of Nephrology. The first endowed professorship was awarded to Dr. David Ploth, who was recruited from University of Alabama-Birmingham in 1987 to be the second Division Director. Under his guidance, our dialysis population has grown to more than 500 patients. Dr. Ploth stepped down as Division Director in 2011 and Dr. Michael E. Ullian was appointed as the Interim Division Director.  Dr. C. Thomas Fitts established renal transplantation at MUSC more than 20 years ago. The transplant program has been extremely active, and has grown from one surgeon to five full-time faculty surgeons with a fellowship training program in transplantation surgery. The Transplant Surgery Division has performed approximately 2000 renal transplants. Currently the program ranks among the top 15 in the nation in activity, with about 200 transplants performed in each of the last few years. Dr. Titte Srinivas is the Director of Transplantation Nephrology and has been streamlining this area to better serve the patients.  The Nephrology fellows interface closely with the transplantation team, along with the two transplant nephrology fellows.

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