Balloon cathetersFlexible medical catheters have been used since the 18th century to access the urethra. But it was Dr. Thomas Fogarty who in the early 1960s came up with the idea of the embolectomy catheter — a catheter with an inflatable balloon at the end that could be inserted into a blood clot and inflated to remove it. The initial invention helped spark what is Edwards Lifesciences’ vascular business.
Health practitioners today use balloon catheters in more than 300,000 procedures worldwide annually, with the devices estimated to have saved the lives and limbs of 20 million patients, according to Fogarty’s bio on the website of the Fogarty Institute for Innovation in Silicon Valley.
Since Fogarty’s innovation, minimally invasive surgical procedures have been developed to treat all kinds of medical conditions.