Guidewires were initially invented and used by Dotter and Judkins to cross a disease segment of the artery for further intervention. However, the initial wire used for coronary intervention was a spring coil guidewire over which a series of large rigid dilators were advanced.
Andreas Gruentzig replaced these dilators with inflatable balloons, which were introduced percutaneously, hence pioneering the era of percutaneous coronary angioplasty. After Gruentzig pioneered the first angioplasty, a group of cardiologists met and formed a registry under The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Since then, significant improvement in different types of equipment and techniques were made.
The original dilatation catheter with a short tip of guidewire could not be modified once the catheter was introduced, providing the operator with no control to maneuver the catheter/wire inside the vessel. In 1981, Dr. Simpson developed a new catheter system with an independently steerable guidewire located in the balloon catheter’s central lumen, replacing the short fixed non-steerable wire tip (5 mm) manufactured by Andreas Grüntzig. The introduction of the coaxial steerable guidewire was the first revolution in the history of coronary angioplasty.
Compared to the early version of guidewires, modern guidewires are designed to combine tip softness, trackability around curves, precise torque control, which allow the guidewire to be steered through tortuous vessels and side branches