While conducting an imaging procedure in which dye was to be injected
into the aortic valve of a patient with valvular disease, Dr. Mason
Sones a pediatric cardiologist at The Cleveland Clinic discovered
that the catheter had accidentally entered the patient's right coronary
artery and, before it could be removed, 30cc's of contrast dye had
been released. He expected the heart to fibrillate, but it did not
and Sones discovered that the coronary arteries could tolerate contrast
dye. Sones recalled, "I knew that night that we finally had
a tool that would define the anatomic nature of coronary artery disease."
Sones went on to perfect a revolutionary new technique for producing
high quality diagnostic images of the coronaries using specially designed
catheters. This breakthrough would make possible, for the first time,
accurate diagnosis of coronary disease and set the stage for future
therapeutic interventions, such as bypass surgery and, later on, coronary
This dramatized reading of Sones' own words and historic photos from
his cath lab at the Cleveland Clinic illustrate his discovery of coronary
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