Book Review

The First Balloon-Expandable Coronary Stent: An Expedition That Changed Cardiovascular Medicine, A Memoir by Gary S. Roubin, MD, PhD

Book review by Mark Baker, RCIS, MICP, RCSA, CTAE, FSICP, Platte Valley Medical Center, Brighton, Colorado 

Book review by Mark Baker, RCIS, MICP, RCSA, CTAE, FSICP, Platte Valley Medical Center, Brighton, Colorado 

I was recently given the opportunity and great pleasure of reading and reviewing a book written by Dr. Gary S. Roubin, titled The First Balloon Expandable Coronary Stent: An Expedition That Changed Cardiovascular Medicine. Dr. Roubin is a pioneer in the field of invasive cardiology and worked with many of the true founding fathers of what we do in the cath lab. He has seen our selected field of healthcare grow from its infancy to where we stand today.  

Dr. Roubin addresses the history of invasive cardiology — not just simply balloons and stents —with a great passion that is palpable through the words that paint the images of his memories.  Many of the memories that he shares in this book help to create a timeline for the development of what we do and how we have been able to get to where we are. He speaks of the many brave, intelligent, industrious, and talented people that collaborated and shared ideas about invasive cardiology so that patients today can receive the highest level of care possible.

The author takes the opportunity to share his love and respect for many of the pioneers that he had the opportunity to work with, including Gruentzig, Dotter, Sones, Cook, Gianturco, Judkins, Palmaz, and Schatz, and how they helped to form the backbone of what we do for our patients today. Dr. Roubin takes a special amount of time to speak of Dr. Andreas Gruentzig. The reader can sense the love and respect that Dr. Roubin and the other cardiology pioneers had for Dr. Gruentzig, and the passion that he had for what he was doing and for his patients.

The author provides a fantastic firsthand account of the history of the industry and the creation of the balloons and the first balloon-expandable stent. This is not just simply a timeline provided by Dr. Roubin that addresses academic facts and studies, but he addresses thought processes and emotions that played a role in how things developed and how many of these pioneers had to overcome criticism and negativity from their peers.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone in the healthcare industry and feel it is a must-read for anyone in the field of cardiology and the cath lab. Dr. Roubin tells all of the stories and addresses all of the questions that cath lab professionals may have about the great minds that created what we do. Without them, we would not have the ability to do what we do to care for our patients and save so many lives in so many ways. A huge debt is owed to Dr. Roubin and all of the great minds that worked with him to create the dream that they all shared.  

This book provides a fantastic look at where we were and can be used to see where we are going.  Readers should be able to find the authors’ passion for what we do contagious and relatable. I left the book feeling informed, refreshed and inspired about my chosen profession.

“And as I walk out of the cath lab, I think to myself: ‘Andreas — if you’re watching from up there, I hope you have a big smile on your face.’” 

 — From The First Balloon-Expandable Coronary Stent: An Expedition That Changed Cardiovascular Medicine  

Published by University of 
Queensland Press 
ISBN 0702253480

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