Historical Perspective

Modern invasive cardiology is dedicated to catheter-based diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. It encloses right and left cardiac catheterization, selective coronary angiography, aortography and levography and was introduced in Switzerland in 1963 by A. Essinger, an invasive radiologist working at the cantonal hospital of Lausanne.

Interventional cardiology focuses on therapeutic cardiovascular procedures, such as coronary artery angioplasty. Modern interventional cardiology is born in Switzerland with the successful development of plain (old) balloon angioplasty by A. Grüntzig,  on September 16, 1977 at University Hospital, Zurich, as well as the upgrading of the technique with the begin of intracoronary stent by Medinvent in cooperation with U. Sigwart in Lausanne in 1986.

The Working Group (entitled "PTCA and Fibrinolysis") was built in 1982 by U. Sigwart upon request by the then president of the Swiss Cardiac Society, Dieter Burkhardt. The annual wintermeeting was subsequently created in 1992 by JJ. Goy.

Since then tremendous progress has been made in improving diagnostic and interventional material, and antithrombotic therapy resulting in safer and superior procedural success. The improved results with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) over time were associated with expansion of the indications of PCI.

In 2010, more than 42,000 coronary angiograms and 20,000 PCIs were performed in Switzerland by 180 invasive and/or interventional cardiologists, which made the highest density of operators in Europe.