Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Historical Contribution: 1964, Schirmer & Walton, Hypothermia and Kidney Function

Schirmer HKA, Walton K. The Effet of Hypothermia upon Respiration and Anerobic Glycolysis of Dog Kidney. Invest Urol. 1964. 1;6:604-9.


The first deliberate partial nephrectomy for the excision of a tumor was credited to Vincenz Czerny in 1887. Numerous studies over the next decades defined the surgical anatomy and feasibility of partial nephrectomy for a variety of localized kidney processes (including cancer). Lack of early diagnostics and technical challenges prevented the operation from being widely utilized in the early 1900's. While these early researchers investigated repair mechanisms of the kidney, advances in the understanding of segmental blood supply and renal hypothermia to prevent ischemic damage were not introduced until the 1950's and 1960's.[1] 
Horst Schirmer, MD

In 1964, Horst Schirmer and Kenneth Walton of the Brady Urological Institute investigated the effects of hypothermia on the kidney. Prior work demonstrated that, with local cooling, renal function would only be temporarily depressed and irreversible damage (under normothermic conditions) could be limited. They investigated ox'ygen consumption and glycolysis in the kidneys of dogs. They found:

  • With decreasing temperature, the reduction in glycolysis associated with ischemia was tempered (33% at 27C, 17% at 17C and near zero at 7C).
  • After achieving hypothermia of 7C, normal function returned after 1 hour.
  • Interruption of blood flow for 4 hours resulted in:
    • 75% reduction in function in the normothermic kidney
    • Unchanged function in the cooled (7C) kidney
  • By examining both tissue from the cortex and medulla of the kidney, the cortex is nearly 7x more active than the medulla – providing evidence that cortical cooling is sufficient to provide effective hypothermia.


To read the entire manuscript: follow the link above, visit the Centennial Website or click here.


HISTORICAL CONTRIBUTIONS highlight the greatest academic manuscripts from the Brady Urological Institute over the past 100 years.  As the Brady Urological Institute approaches its centennial, we will present a HISTORICAL CONTRIBUTION from each of the past 100 years.  In the most recent experience, the most highly cited article from each year is selected; older manuscripts were selected based on their perceived impact on the field.  We hope you enjoy! 

[1] Herr HW.A history of partial nephrectomy for renal tumors.J Urol. 2005 Mar;173(3):705-8.


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