Category Archives: History

Coronary Angioplasty Enters Its 40th Year

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

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Filed under History, Innovators, Video

40 Years Ago, There Was a Poster at the American Heart Association Meeting….

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

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Filed under History, Innovators, Meetings & Conferences, Video

Happy 100th Anniversary to the RSNA

Mason Sones in a Philips cath lab of the 50's

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

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Filed under ACC, Angiograms, History, Imaging, Innovators, Meetings & Conferences, Video

Radial Revolution in the U.S.

Seton Medical Center

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

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Filed under Business & Industry, Global Trends, History, Transradial Approach

“A Type of Interventional Radiology”: A Quaint Memory from the New York Times

1983_NYT_Mag_280sqI 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

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Filed under History, Media Coverage

Medicare Approves Drug-Coated Balloons for Outpatient Leg Angioplasty

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

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Filed under Back to the Future, Endovascular, FDA, Health Insurance, History, Innovators, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), Video

New Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease is Approved by the FDA

Dr. Charles Dotter in LIFE Magazine (1964)

Dr. Charles Dotter in LIFE Magazine (1964)

Who is that mad scientist in the 1964 issue of LIFE magazine? Oh, just the man who invented the concept of angioplasty; in fact he’s the man who actually coined the word “angioplasty!” And he’s the doctor who performed the first angioplasties in the leg, in order to save limbs from amputation without resorting to surgery.

Like many innovators, he had a crazy idea: to open blocked arteries from the inside out. No cutting, suturing, or stitching. Less trauma, lower morbidity, quicker recovery. His name was Charles Dotter and he was a radiologist in Portland, Oregon who, 51 years ago next week, performed an angioplasty on the blocked leg artery of an 82-year-old woman. Continue reading

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Filed under Back to the Future, Endovascular, Europe, FDA, History, Innovators, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), Video