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Dotter Interventional Institute

Angioplasty, Discovered at OHSU, Celebrates 50 Years

It's one of the most common medical interventions on the planet. Each year, millions of people undergo the procedure. And it has spawned some of the most important innovations in biotechnology. It's angioplasty, and it all started in a small radiology suite on the 11th floor of Oregon Health & Science University Hospital 50 years ago today.

"Although Dr. Charles T. Dotter is credited with conceiving and performing the first angioplasty on an artery, his vision went far beyond blood vessels," said John A. Kaufman, M.D., M.S., professor of interventional radiology in the OHSU School of Medicine, and director of the Dotter Interventional Institute. "He foresaw the use of imaging guidance and catheters to perform many different types of procedures on almost every organ in the body. A conservative estimate is that over 60 million patients worldwide have benefited from angioplasty of arteries; hundreds of millions have benefited from image-guided intervention on other organs. And all of that started on the 11th floor of the main hospital at OHSU, in a room still used today."

The medical technology industry also was inspired by Dotter's methods. Soon after his discoveries, Dotter began working closely with Bill Cook, who founded the medical device manufacturing company Cook Medical, to develop tools that would spur the advancement of angioplasty. In 1989, four years after Dotter's death, Cook donated $2 million to establish the Dotter Interventional Institute as a multidisciplinary center directed toward education, research and patient care in interventional treatment.

The Dotter Interventional Institute's interventional radiology research continues to produce techniques and technology that help doctors excel in what's been called "surgery without scalpels." Education in image-guided interventions is advanced through institute-sponsored training programs, educational meetings, and symposia. This summer, OHSU and the Institute will sponsor IGI50, a one-time meeting in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of angioplasty by looking forward to future developments in this exciting area of medicine.