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January 27, 2012 -- 5:14pm EST

Stent Pioneer Gary Roubin Leaving Lenox Hill
Dr. Gary Roubin
Gary S. Roubin, MD,

Interventional cardiology pioneer, Dr. Gary Roubin, is leaving Lenox Hill Heart & Vascular Institute in New York, where he has served as chair of Interventional Cardiac & Vascular Services for almost a decade.

Dr. Roubin confirmed his departure to Angioplasty.Org and stated that he is "moving on to bigger and more challenging projects." Dr. Roubin's departure was first reported yesterday by Shelley Wood of

Roubin told me that he feels he has "much more to contribute to the field of cardiovascular medicine", although looking through his list of accomplishments, one might think that difficult to top because so many of those accomplishments start with the word "First", as in: First abstract on balloon angioplasty in multivessel disease (with Andreas Gruentzig, inventor of the procedure); First balloon expandable coronary stent; First carotid bifurcation stent; First intracranial stent.

And speaking of "Firsts", both Dr. Roubin and Lenox Hill figure enormously in the story of angioplasty and stenting.

Lenox Hill Hospital is where, in April 1978, the First balloon angioplasty in the U.S. was performed by Dr. Simon Stertzer, on the same day that Dr. Richard Myler performed one at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco. And Lenox Hill is where I got involved in this field as well, when I made the First film (ever) on coronary angioplasty in 1979 with Stertzer -- and where I produced the First live demonstration course on the Sones approach to angioplasty. And, yes, Mason Sones himself was in attendance.

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I subsequently traveled down to Emory Hospital in Atlanta to work with Dr. Andreas Gruentzig, the inventor of coronary balloon angioplasty, and there I met Gary Roubin, whom Andreas had recruited from Australia. A decade later, the very first coronary stent was approved by the FDA -- it was designed by Gary Roubin and radiologist Cesare Gianturco. Here's an early news report of Roubin's accomplishment:

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A 1987 news report from a local Atlanta TV station on a new medical breakthrough: the coronary stent

As fate would have it, Roubin eventually wound up at Lenox Hill Hospital where, for the past decade, he has continued innovating and evangelizing for endovascular solutions to vascular problems -- in particular the use of carotid stenting and the multidisciplinary approach to vascular therapy, where surgeons, interventionalists and clinical cardiologists work together towards the same end: the best and most appropriate treatment for patients. He lectures all over the world on these and many other subjects and, never forgetting the lessons of the "master", he formed and still heads the International Andreas Gruentzig Society. In 2007, he and co-chair, Dr. Bernhard Meier, organized a wonderful and moving event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first angioplasty.

Having worked closely over the years with Dr. Roubin, including producing a live course with him on carotid stenting (and so, as is the title of this blog, I have been "The Voice in His Ear") I can say that among his many accomplishments, angioplasty pioneer, co-inventor of the first FDA-approved coronary stent, etc., one of his most important contributions has been to carry forth the principles of Andreas Gruentzig in the treatment of patients, not just "blockages", in the care and accuracy of recording and reporting procedural outcomes and in the responsible use of this minimally invasive treatment of coronary artery disease.

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