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Pioneering medical devices – the Palmaz-Schatz stent

ESC Congress News 2018 - Munich, Germany

The development of stents has revolutionised coronary angioplasty, improving and saving the lives of millions of patients. These days, many stent designs exist—both bare metal and drug-eluting stents—all of which are derivatives of the original Palmaz-Schatz stent.

Interventional Cardiology

Richard-Schatz-esc-congress-news-2018.jpgWith constantly evolving and improving designs, stents have become accepted worldwide as the cornerstone of interventional therapy for coronary artery disease. However, the history of stent development began back in the late 1970s.(1) According to Doctor Richard Schatz (Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, California, USA), co-inventor of the Palmaz-Schatz stent, the first coronary stent to be approved by the FDA, in 1994, “I began collaborating with Doctor Julio Palmaz, formerly at the University of Texas, USA, on stent development in 1985. I was at the Brooke Army Medical Center (San Antonio, Texas, USA) at the time. Dr. Palmaz had conceived the idea of a balloon-expandable ‘scaffold’ to hold the artery open after seeing ground-breaking research on balloon angioplasty presented by Doctor Andreas Grüntzig in 1977.” While dramatically successful at opening blocked arteries, balloon angioplasty was often limited by abrupt artery closure and restenosis. “Early exploratory stent devices included self-expanding springs; however, these were hampered by delivery issues and high complication rates. Dr. Palmaz designed a balloon-expandable stainless-steel slotted metal tube, instead of a spring or coil. By trying different designs and types of metal, we ultimately developed the Palmaz-Schatz stent. We placed our first stents in dog coronaries in 1985 and, with funding support from Johnson & Johnson, in the first humans in 1987.” continued Dr. Schatz.

“The impact stents have had on relieving mortality and morbidity, improving patients’ lives and on reducing health care costs has been immeasurable and thirty years later nothing has replaced them as the frontline treatment for atherosclerosis” says Dr. Schatz.

Following its success—the Palmaz-Schatz stent has been identified as one of the top 10 medical device patents of the last 50 years, and the basic balloon-expandable slotted tube metal platform design has stood the test of time—Dr. Schatz has continued his seminal work and currently holds the patent to a variety of coronary stents. “Newer stent designs have drug coatings with anti-proliferative agents to reduce the rates of in-stent restenosis. The challenge now is to develop the right mix of drugs and coatings to eliminate the risk of thrombosis and restenosis entirely.” 1. Tan C and Schatz RA. Intervent Cardiol Clin 2016;5:271–280.


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Notes to editor

About the European Society of Cardiology

The European Society of Cardiology brings together healthcare professionals from more than 150 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people lead longer, healthier lives.

About ESC Congress 2018

ESC Congress is the world’s largest and most influential cardiovascular event contributing to global awareness of the latest clinical trials and breakthrough discoveries. ESC Congress 2018 takes place 25 to 29 August at the Messe München in Munich, Germany. Explore the scientific programme