Public Release: 

Forty years, 1 procedure, millions of lives saved

Global Interventional Cardiology Society celebrates 40 years of angioplasty, a game changer in stopping heart attacks

Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions

While heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, advances in medicine over the past 40 years have led to a substantial reduction in cardiovascular-related deaths.

This year, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of coronary angioplasty, a procedure that revolutionized the way heart disease is treated and has since saved millions of lives around the world. This celebration will occur in conjunction with the Society's 40th anniversary at the SCAI 2017 Scientific Sessions (SCAI 2017) in New Orleans May 10-13.

"Heart disease is not the death sentence it used to be 40 years ago when one in four people who had a heart attack died," said SCAI President Kenneth Rosenfield, MD, MHCDS, MSCAI.

Angioplasty, a procedure that uses a small tube with a tiny balloon on the end to open a blocked heart artery, was performed on the very first patient in 1977, a 38-year-old man in Switzerland, who is still alive today. Prior to angioplasty, survivors of heart attacks often faced life-long disability and physical restrictions.

"Angioplasty has been a game changer in the medical field," said Rosenfield. "It is a minimally invasive procedure that can help prevent heart attacks, has a high success rate and has a relatively quick recovery time. Many patients are able to leave the hospital the next day and return to work and their normal activities a few days later."

SCAI 2017 will host a special panel presentation in New Orleans bringing together some of the specialty's most iconic figures to discuss medical innovations and the impact of interventional and invasive cardiology over the past four decades.

"Medicine is about always moving forward, and researchers are continually working on ways to improve current angioplasty practices," said Christopher White, MD, MSCAI, an interventional cardiologist at Ochsner Medical Center who will moderate the panel discussion.

"In the last decade and a half, we've seen revolutionary changes," continued White. "We've gone from FDA approval in 1994 of metal stents, which were designed to address the problem of sudden collapse of an artery, to drug-coated stents in 2003 and, more recently, to the first fully absorbable stent, which was approved by the FDA last year. When we look ahead to the future of angioplasty, I'm excited about the positive impact it could have for people's lives."

In addition to angioplasty, SCAI 2017 will bring together world-renown experts who can talk about a range of topics, including:

  • Structural heart disease interventions
  • Complex coronary artery disease treatment
  • Cardio-oncology, pediatrics and other vulnerable populations
  • High-risk percutaneous coronary intervention
  • Innovative device technologies


Note to editors: For media registration or to arrange an interview, please contact Kimberly Brown at

For the most up-to-date program information, please visit: Join the conversation online by using the official meeting hashtag, #SCAI2017, and follow @SCAI on Twitter for the latest updates.

About SCAI

The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions is a 4,300-member professional organization representing invasive and interventional cardiologists in approximately 70 countries. SCAI's mission is to promote excellence in invasive/interventional cardiovascular medicine through physician and allied health professional education and representation, and advancement of quality standards to enhance patient care. For more information about SCAI, visit Follow @SCAI on Twitter for the latest heart health news.

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