#OnThisDay 36 years ago - First ever balloon angioplasty in 1977 | Heart and Vascular Health | Scoop.it

Andreas Roland Grüntzig was born in Dresden, Germany, in 1939 and died in a plane crash in the United States in 1985. In his short life he invented a number of medical techniques and changed cardiology for ever with one. Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) as it is called today, was not the first catheter-based invasive treatment in cardiology. Yet it is the one that created the discipline called interventional cardiology, meaning catheter-based therapy for coronary or structural heart disease. Electrophysiology should be but is not subsumed under this heading. On September 16, 1977 Dölf Bachmann, a 38-year-old salesman, was the world’s first patient to undergo PCI. He had a single discrete stenosis in the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery and unstable angina. Andreas Grüntzig had been looking for a straightforward case like that for almost 3 years. Coronary angiography at that time period was only done in patients with advanced and drug refractory symptoms and almost invariably multivessel disease with impaired left ventricular function was found. The procedure went well and neither an abrupt closure (later occurring in 7% of balloon angioplasties) nor a restenosis (problem in about 35% of balloon angioplasties) occurred. The patient, an age-mate of Grüntzig is celebrating his 72nd birthday in 2011 and enjoys excellent health. He needed one additional PCI in another place in 2000.