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January 20, 1989

The Vascular War of 1988

JAMA. 1989;261(3):418-419. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420030092038

VASCULAR interventionalists owe much to the pioneering work of the recently deceased radiologists Charles Dotter and Melvin Judkins, who introduced the concept of percutaneous transluminal dilation of vascular obstructions.1 This concept was accepted more readily in Europe than in the United States and was significantly advanced by a young German cardiologist working in Switzerland, Andreas Gruntzig. Originally trained as an angiologist, Gruntzig studied radiology and cardiology to apply his ideas for treating vascular obstructions to the coronary arteries. He designed, developed, and tested balloon catheters for the percutaneous transluminal relief of hemodynamically significant vascular lesions, first in peripheral vessels and later in the renal and coronary arteries.2-4 The restraint he practiced and the scientific integrity he preached during the introductory phases of this potentially revolutionary technique are behavior patterns that, unfortunately, did not survive as a legacy after his untimely death. His procedure of percutaneous transluminal balloon angioplasty