The Development of Coronary Angioplasty

Updated on May 15, 2017

What follows is a chronological review of Andreas Grüntzig’s experience in Zurich, then in Atlanta, as well as the expansion of coronary angioplasty indications (with the role of Geoffrey Hartzler). We shall also examine key improvements in equipment and complication management and will conclude by discussing the initial French experience in coronary angioplasty.

Andreas Grüntzig: Initial Experience in Zurich (1977-80)

P17. Andreas Grüntzig testing one of his balloon catheters –Zurich, 1980. (Courtesy Maria Schlumpf)

The lonely “wizard” doctor, discredited in his country of residence, suddenly became the man to be seen with working in his cathlab. Very quickly, cardiologists from all over the world wanted to try to perform angioplasty, thinking that spending one day with Andreas Grüntzig was enough. Patients started coming to Zurich to be dilated by him. Companies, aware of the potential market, began to ask for his advice on future prototypes.

It became necessary to control this sudden “balloon fever”. As Andreas Grüntzig continued to develop and improve and increase his personal experience, he also had to:

publish his results in order not to be taken advantage of or copied by others; share his experience in live demonstration courses, something which he organized twice...
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