Charles T Dotter

Last revised by Jeremy Jones on 18 Sep 2021

Charles T Dotter (1920-1985) is often considered the father of interventional radiology who in 1964 performed the very first peripheral angioplasty, and made many other major contributions in this field.

Charles Theodore Dotter was born in Boston on 14 June 1920. He graduated with a BA from Duke University in 1941 and then studied medicine at Cornell Medical College in New York City. He married Pamela Battie, a nurse at New York Hospital in 1944.

On 16 January 1964, Dotter performed the world's first transluminal percutaneous angioplasty. Laura Shaw was an 82-year old woman who had repeatedly refused amputations for a gangrenous foot.  Dotter diagnosed superficial femoral artery stenosis on angiography and used a dilator catheter he had been developing to dilate the vessel. There was rapid improvement of her leg pain and the gangrenous ulcer completely healed. Shaw lived for another three years after this groundbreaking procedure.

He was appointed Professor of Radiology, at the early age of 32 years, at Oregon University, USA. It is said that he is the youngest individual to ever be appointed a Chair of an academic radiology department in the United States 3.

He was a prolific researcher and published over 300 papers, over half as first author. Melvin Judkins, his co-author on his classic paper was his trainee and went on to become one of the twentieth century's great cardiac angiographers (and pioneer of the Judkin catheter).

Dotter was a polymath with an interest in music, painting, photography, flying and mountain climbing. In 1962 he was one of the earliest to write a paper on cardiac resuscitation.

He died from respiratory failure on 15 February 1985 4.

  • vascular interventional radiology
  • The Dotter Institute, recently renamed the Charles T. Dotter Department of Interventional Radiology, at OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University).

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