Thirty Years of the Balloon Catheter – Andreas Gruentzig and Percutaneous Balloon Angioplasty


Authors: P. Jerie
Published in: Čas. Lék. čes. 2004; : 866-871
Category:

Overview

Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty – PTCA – will forever be linked withA. Gruentzig’s name. Buildingon the work of Charles Dotter andMalvin Judkins be developped novel technique of revascularisation and establisheda new speciality – interventional cardiology. The aimof this article is to sum up themost important data onGruentzig’srevolutionary work. Andreas Roland Gruentzig was born on June 25, 1939 in Dresden, Germany. In 1957 he receivedhis B. A. in Leipzig (German Democratic Republic). In 1958, Andreas emigrated to the German Federal Republic,received another B. A. in Heidelberg, and entered the Medical School in Heidelberg where he qualified in 1964. In1969 he moved to Zurich, Switzerland, in the Dept of Angiology of the University Hospital. He soon appreciatedthe potential of recanalising partially occluded lower limb arteries using the Dotter-Judkins catheter but alsorecognised its risks. In 1972–1973 he developped his balloon catheter and performed the first femoral angioplastyin February 12, 1974, and in January 23, 1975 the first one using his new double-lumen catheter. The first experimentalcoronaroplasty in a dog followed in September 24, 1975. He presented his results with balloon catheters in November15, 1976 in Miami. After a further period of arduous experimental research – stil manufacturing the catheters withhis small crew in the kitchen – he dilated a stenosed coronary artery in a 37-year-old man on September 16, 1977in Zurich, with immediate relief of symptoms. The results of PTCA in five first patients were published in theFebruary 14, 1978 issue of Lancet; the coronarography in the first patient, on April 10, 2000, revealed normal patencyof the site that had been dilated (Prof. B.Meier, Bern). However, the news in Zurich 1978 was received with a certainincredulity and Gruentzig was unable – in spite of Professor Å. Senning’s support – to obtain facilities to expandhis research program and clinical activities. In September 1980 he accepted the Chair of Medicine (Cardiology) andRadiology with the additional title of Director of the Dept of Interventional Cardiology at Emory University inAtlanta, Georgia. Prof. Hurst gave him half of his office suite at Emory and later even further facilities to expandhis program. Here, at Emory, Gruentzig gave 10 angioplasty courses and performed with Dr. S. King and Dr. J.Douglas 5000 PTCAs till 1985. Before reaching the peak of his scientific carrier, he died in a flying accident, withhis second wife Margareth Ann, near Forsythe, Monroe County, Georgia, on October 27, 1985. His work wasappreciated in tributes from the U. S. A., U. K., Switzerland and Germany, by many international awards and honors;numerous interventional laboratories in the world carry A. R. Gruentzig’s name.

Key words:
balloon angioplasty, balloon catheter, PTCA - historical aspects, A. R. Gruentzig, interventional cardiology,Å. Senning.

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