Abbott’s Absorb “Dissolving Stent”
There’s a lesson for the Absorb BVS in the history of interventional cardiology (an area of particular interest in this 40th anniversary of angioplasty year). There’s no question that the concept of a stent that dissolves and disappears is intriguing, and potentially clinically significant. Stents were invented because after balloon-only dilatation, the artery would sometimes collapse, or the spongy plaque would not compress neatly against the arterial wall, or the plaque would regrow, resulting in a very high rate of restenosis (reblocking of the artery).
Stents prevented all of this. Stents reduced the 3-5% acute closure rate that sent patients to bypass surgery after balloon angioplasty almost to zero. Continue reading
Angioplasty balloon being manufactured on the kitchen table in Gruentzig’s apartment
Today marks the 39th anniversary of the first percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) which was performed in 1977 by Dr. Andreas R. Gruentzig in Zurich, Switzerland. This angioplasty procedure utilized an expandable balloon, fashioned on a kitchen table in Gruentzig’s apartment by Gruentzig’s assistant, Maria Schlumpf (note the bottle of wine…and yes, she used Krazy Glue). So, as I always ruefully think about on my own birthday, one is actually celebrating the completion of that numeric year, and sometime later today, coronary angioplasty will be entering its 40th year. Kind of amazing. Continue reading
Today being TBT (Throw Back Thursday) on Twitter, Dr. Jordan Safirstein (@CardiacConsult) posted a photo this morning of a poster that appeared 40 years ago at the 1976 American Heart Association meeting. (At the left is our photo of that poster from our history archive.)
It’s a meaningful poster, since it was the first public presentation of the concept and initial studies of something called “Percutaneous Dilation of Coronary Artery Stenosis” or simply, coronary angioplasty. This procedure had not yet been done in humans, but this poster directly led to that ground-breaking development within a year. Continue reading
Mason Sones in a Philips cath lab of the 50’s
This week the Radiological Society of North America, a.k.a. RSNA, is holding its annual meeting in Chicago. RSNA is an international society of radiologists, medical physicists and other medical professionals with more than 54,000 members from 136 countries across the globe. And this year the 55,000 attendees in Chicago are celebrating something special: the 100th anniversary of the RSNA.
To help honor the work of the Society, Angioplasty.Org would like to offer the video below which details the impact that imaging had on our field: the treatment of coronary artery disease. Continue reading
Seton Medical Center
It was over a dozen years ago that I saw my first transradial PCI. I had booked a photo shoot with Dr. Felix Millhouse at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, California, to get some shots for our web site. I did one case and was told that Dr. Millhouse was doing an urgent PCI in cath lab #2. So I went over to shoot it, but by the time I got to the lab, I was too late. I saw a man with his arm extended off the table. And Dr. Millhouse was removing his gloves. “Sorry,” he said. “We’re all done.” Continue reading
I recently was rifling through some old files of news clippings (you remember those pesky things, don’t you?) and came across a major New York Times Magazine feature from 1983. It was titled, “Toward the Conquest of Heart Disease.”
Three decades ago, as the article describes, the main treatments were surgical: valve replacement and the “far more complicated, technically demanding” bypass graft surgery. The author, Harry Schwartz, also identifies some exciting new advances in heart disease treatment: artificial hearts, heart transplants, new drugs, something called nuclear magnetic resonance (N.M.R.) that was “being used in a handful of hospitals” (today we call it MRI!). Continue reading
Lutonix and IN.PACT drug-coated balloons
Last week saw the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approve reimbursement for the two drug-coated balloons that recently were approved by the FDA: C. R. Bard’s Lutonix and Medtronic’s IN.PACT.
C. R. Bard’s Lutonix drug-coated balloon (DCB) was approved in October 2014, while Medtronic’s IN.PACT Admiral was approved in January of this year. Both devices have shown superior results when compared to uncoated balloons (a.k.a. “plain old balloon angioplasty” or POBA). Continue reading