Following the launch of balloon angioplasty in 1977, its deficiencies-abrupt occlusion requiring emergency bypass surgery in one in twenty attempts and recurrence in one in three cases-became soon apparent. The attempts to eliminate the element of chance from this otherwise highly attractive technique resulted in the concept of intra-vascular scaffolding. Following the inception of self-expanding mesh stents made from stainless steel and extensive bench testing and animal experiments, the first clinical data were obtained in Switzerland almost 30 years ago in 1986 with promising, albeit not undisputed results. Technical improvements including potent platelet inhibitors have made the technique a cornerstone of catheter-treatment of vascular disease. This paper gives an account of the sometimes difficult beginnings of coronary and non-coronary stenting at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.
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