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SCAI Founders' Lecture traces impressive progress in interventional cardiology

CHICAGO--When pioneering interventional cardiologists introduced angioplasty and stenting more than 20 years ago, few could have imagined that, one day, severely diseased coronary arteries would be propped open virtually end-to-end with tubular metal scaffolding. Fewer still could have envisioned how to dismantle that mesh support system once the artery healed.

Dr. Richard S. Stack, professor emeritus of medicine at Duke University, Durham, NC, had that vision. Today, during the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) 29th Annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago, Dr. Stack will trace the evolution of interventional cardiology from inflation of the first angioplasty balloon to implantation of the first bioabsorbable stent, in a Founders' Lecture entitled, "How Can You Get Out of a Full-Metal Jacket?"

"It's been an amazing story. It's incredible to see how far we've come in 20 years," said Dr. Stack, who is also president of Synecor, a company that develops new medical technology, including the bioabsorbable stent.

In the early days of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), each procedure took three to four hours to complete, and fully one in 20 patients suffered a heart attack in the catheterization laboratory. There was little an interventional cardiologist could do, other than rush the patient to surgery.

Introduction of the steerable guidewire made PTCA easier to do and shortened procedure times. Development of the perfusion catheter meant that interventional cardiologists could re-establish blood flow to the heart and stabilize patients in case of a sudden arterial blockage.

Bare metal stents and new anti-clotting medications reduced the chances of sudden arterial closure. However, stents proved vulnerable to clogging with scar tissue and other debris months after implantation, a complication known as restenosis.

Drug-eluting stents, introduced just a few years ago, markedly
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Contact: Kathy Boyd David
jdavid62@juno.com
717-422-1181
Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
11-May-2006


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