Julio C. Palmaz
Starting with a discarded piece of metal from the floor of his garage, Julio Palmaz invented the first commercially-successful intravascular stent, the Palmaz Stent®. His stent revolutionized cardiac care, with more than a million people undergoing coronary artery stenting annually to repair clogged arteries.
The stent–an open mesh tube that once inserted expands the vessel, holding it open to restore normal blood flow–has had a major impact on the management of atherosclerotic arterial disease. Specifically, it has revolutionized the management of coronary artery disease. Many coronary by-pass surgeries that would have once been inevitable can now be avoided through stenting.
Born in Argentina, Palmaz studied at the National University of La Plata in Argentina, earning his medical degree in 1971. He practiced vascular radiology at the San Martin University Hospital in La Plata, before moving to the University of Texas Health and Science Center at San Antonio. Palmaz developed his stent, the first balloon-expandable stent, between 1978 and 1985 at UTHSCSA, and received a patent for his invention in 1988. It was approved by the FDA for peripheral arterial use in 1991, and for coronary use in 1994. Palmaz continues to innovate on his initial designs, developing new endovascular devices.