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On 30th Anniversary, Angioplasty Celebrated as Modern Medical Breakthrough in Stopping Heart Attack
Date:9/13/2007

sive therapy angioplasty, which opens blocked arteries, and stent insertion, which keeps them open, have contributed significantly to these improvements, according to Steven Bailey, M.D., SCAI Secretary and Interim Chief of the Division of Cardiology, Professor of Medicine, and Janey Briscoe Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Research at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio. "Although heart disease continues to be the number one killer in the United States, the success and progress of angioplasty is one of modern medicine's most inspiring stories," said Dr. Bailey.

Dr. Gruentzig's discovery that balloon catheters could serve as tools for delivering medical therapies to arteries launched a new era of "interventional cardiology." Until then, emergency coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) and clot-busting drugs were the only interventions to stop heart attacks and treat coronary artery disease.

Angioplasty's ability to stop heart attacks, its low risk to patients and the quick recovery it makes possible often make angioplasty the preferred method of treatment for heart disease. Angioplasty, which is frequently accompanied by stent implantation, is a minimally invasive procedure that requires no general anesthesia. Compared with bypass surgery, angioplasty is a much less invasive procedure -- and patients are typically able to resume normal activities within days. In bypass surgery, a surgeon sews a blood vessel taken from the leg or other part of the body beyond blockages in heart arteries. This allows blood to "bypass" the blockage in the artery and restores normal flow to the heart. Recovery is typically much longer, with a minimum of several days' recovery in the hospital.

Steady advances in the techniques and tools of angioplasty have made the procedure a treatment option for more patients, according to Dr. Weiner.

In the early years, an estimated five to 10 percent of patients with heart disease were candidates
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SOURCE The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and
Interventions
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