Dr. Mason Sones

Mason Sones

Interventional cardiologist / Cardiologist
Cleveland Clinic Foundation - Cleveland, United States

Mason Sones (1918-1985)

Selective cine coronary arteriography


The first coronary arteriography was performed accidentally. Frank Mason Sones Jr (1918-85) graduated from the University of Maryland, USA. He learned the techniques of cardiac catheterization at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, prior to joining the Cleveland Clinic in 1950, as the head of the pediatric cardiology department and the chief of the cardiac catheterization laboratory. Early in his career, he had the idea of combining catheterization and selective arteriography data. In 1958, after performing a ventriculography to explore rheumatic valvular disease in a young patient, Mason Sones removed the catheter from the ventricle to the aorta to opacify it.

As the injector was triggered, he became aware with dismay that the catheter had entered the ostia of the right coronary artery.


In the process of removing the catheter, 30 ccs of contrast agent were accidentally injected in a dominant right coronary artery. As asystole occurred, Mason Sones had the presence of mind to get the patient to cough, allowing the sinus activity to recover. It was therefore possible to selectively opacify coronary arteries by adjusting the amount of injected contrast.


Mason Sones established standards of care for selective cine coronary arteriography techniques. He had the determination to improve the quality of X-ray imaging and would contribute to the development of the C-arm, permitting cranio-caudal views. His role in the birth of coronary angioplasty was essential