Richard Karl Myler
Richard Myler (1936-2013)
Dr. Myler was a pioneer in modern interventional cardiology and performed the first angioplasty in the United State on March 1, 1978. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his medical degree from Harvard University in 1960. He moved to California where he was at UCSF and then the Director of St Mary’s Hospital. He founded the San Francisco Heart Institute (SFHI) at Seton Medical Center in 1982, where he continued to develop PTCA techniques and subsequent interventional technologies.
While at St. Mary’s, Richard became acquainted with Andreas Grüntzig’s work and became an early supporter and close friend. He visited Andreas in Zurich and suggested that he come to San Francisco to perform intra-operative dilatations with his surgeon Elias Hanna, an essential prerequisite for Andreas to verify that his balloon was effective and safe and that, most importantly, there was no distal debris related to the balloon inflation.
In August 1977, Richard asked Andreas to come to San Francisco to perform the first PTCA on one of his patients, but no eligible patient was found. Andreas returned in Zurich in September 1977, where finally a patient open to the idea of being dilated was found by Bernhard Meier.
It should be noted that another coronary angioplasty by Dr. Simon Stertzer was also performed in New York city on the same day using the brachial approach. Richard and Simon later joined forces at SFHI, hosting several live teaching courses to help early adopters of PCI technology.