John Ormiston awarded the EuroPCR 2017 Ethica Award
The 2017 Ethica Award, the highest honour of the European cardiovascular intervention academies, was presented to John Ormiston, New Zealand’s most experienced interventional cardiologist. The Ethica Award celebrates people who have made an outstanding contribution to interventional patient care.
J. Ormiston had not been expecting to receive the prize, was bestowed upon him by EuroPCR course director Jean Fajadet at EuroPCR 2017. “I was initially very, very surprised and thought there must be a mistake. I am very proud, as it reflects well on our small country so near to Antarctica, our high standard of cardiology, and the high standard of my colleagues.”
John Ormiston is medical director and interventional cardiologist in Mercy Angiography at the Mercy Hospital in Auckland, and is an interventional cardiologist at Auckland City Hospital, New Zealand. He has investigated important innovations in interventional cardiology, such as bioresorbable scaffolds, transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), and renal denervation.
J. Ormiston has been involved with absorbable scaffolds from an early stage, and became a principal investigator of the ABSORB trials. He implanted the world’s first fully bioabsorbable polymeric drug-eluting stent. He says his biggest contribution to cardiology has been in assessment of stents on the bench and clinically.
“Some people accuse me of running a stent ‘torture chamber’,” he laughed. “I think of it as bench testing to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of different stent designs and different stenting techniques, especially for coronary bifurcation treatment. To this end, we used a number of imaging techniques, including conventional microscopic photography. But, in particular, we pioneered the use of micro computed tomography (CT) imaging. This provides unparalleled imaging, with the potential to post-process images, allowing rotation, slicing, and advanced viewing such as ‘fly-through’.”
John Ormiston graduated from Otago University Medical School in 1972 with distinctions in medicine and surgery, the Boyd Prize in medicine, and the Stanley Batchelor Memorial prize in surgery. He trained in cardiology at Wellington and Green Lane Hospitals before taking up a National Heart Foundation Scholarship for further training in Los Angeles. Following his senior staff appointment at Green Lane Hospital in 1984, he played a major role in developing the then new field of interventional cardiology in New Zealand and the Asia Pacific.
His interest in interventional cardiology was initially sparked when he heard Andreas Grüntzig speak at an American College of Cardiology meeting. Thereafter, three past Ethica Award winners have had a big impact on his development. Early on in his career Antonio Colombo was particularly influential because of his contribution to stenting, and to techniques that have almost wiped out stent thrombosis. Renu Virmani’s contribution to the understanding of the pathology of drug-eluting stents also inspired him. He cites the achievements of Marty Leon: “His series of well-thought out trials, achieved through collaboration with surgical colleagues at the highest level, proved the value of TAVI compared with conventional surgical aortic valve replacement. Also, M. Leon has contributed to many other branches of cardiology as well.” Although not an Ethica Award winner, Patrick Serruys has been a major influence.
J. Ormiston believes that the results from TAVI are stunning. He noted that there is now evidence for TAVI use in intermediate- as well as high-risk patients, adding that the technology will improve with lower profile delivery catheters and as we understand more about and learn how to limit complications. But, J. Ormiston commented, with the caveat that valve durability is sustained.
What does the immediate future hold for him personally? He wants to continue his work with stents. “I hope to expand my work in the ‘stent torture chamber’. I would like to increase penetration in New Zealand of TAVI for intermediate-risk patients where appropriate. And, I wish to increase patient choice and quality care options through the expansion of private cardiology services.”
J. Ormiston follows in the illustrious footsteps of previous Ethica Award winners, including in most recent years, John Webb, Shigero Saito, and Ferdinand Kiemeneij.
The award ceremony will be chaired by Haithan Amin and Jean Fajadet.