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UTHSC to honor Palmaz, inventor of first balloon-expandable stent

San Antonio (Jan. 23, 2003) — The radiologist who discovered one of the world's most successful medical devices — Julio C. Palmaz, M.D., of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) — has been selected to receive the university's highest honor.

Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., will present the Presidential Distinguished Scholar Award and other recognitions in a ceremony starting at 11 a.m. Jan. 28 in the UTHSCSA auditorium. Dr. Palmaz patented the first balloon-expandable stent, a device now routinely used with balloon angioplasty to treat patients with coronary and vascular blockages. The Palmaz Stent® has revolutionized care of heart disease around the world. Innovations including the stent have dropped the occurrence of death due to heart disease from nearly 500 per every 100,000 Americans in 1970 to less than 200 per every 100,000 today. IP Worldwide magazine recently named the Palmaz Stent® among the 10 patents that have changed the world. Each year, at least 2 million stents are placed in patients worldwide.

Dr. Palmaz is available Thursday and Friday, Jan. 23 and 24, for advance interviews. Please call (210) 567-2570 to make an appointment. Equipment in his laboratory makes an interesting backdrop for interviews. Video of a stent inside the body is available on request.

Fifteen other faculty and staff members also will be honored, including two coordinators of UTHSCSA's South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) program, which provides a month-long, hands-on elective course on environmental medicine in Laredo for medical residents and medical, nursing and public health students.

Contact: Will Sansom or Aileen Salinas