25 Most Influential: Robert L. Kistner, MD

Robert L. Kistner, MD

Not long after completing his service in the Air Force, Dr. Kistner found himself in the middle of Paradise,
literally. Operating with Hawaii as his permanent home-base since the 1960’s, his participation in local
and worldwide vascular organizations has allowed for his contributions to be felt for decades through
innumerable presentations and publications.


A decade ago, few would have
foreseen the crossover in types of
vein treatments being offered at
other specialty practices. Where do
you think the next big movement is
going to be and how will it affect vein practice?

Probably in the further minimization of treatment methods
for primary chronic venous disease. Advances in chemical
and thermal techniques. Possible nanoscience applications to
thrombolysis, combinations with ultrasound, providing safer
and more effective DVT management.

What technological advances are contributing to
the quality of vein treatment that most excite you?

Better understanding of the effects of compression. Patientfriendly
treatment alternatives to venous reflux disease.
Natural history studies of primary venous disease.

What have been the main factors contributing to the
progression of venous disease over the last decade?
Lack of knowledge of the practicing physician about the
natural history of venous problems, both acute and chronic.

What is the biggest challenge in your work?
Dealing with lack of understanding of venous disease among
the medical profession and the community. Awareness of
venous disease and its natural history is seriously lacking and
leads to delay in effective management.

What efforts have you been involved in to foster
cooperation (rather than competition) between the
various venous educational organizations so that
the greatest number has access to the advances in
the diagnosis and treatment of venous disease?

Strong interest in fostering cooperation between allied
disciplines in venous disease, such as primary physicians and
specialties allied to blood clotting or surgical venous disease.
Interest in improved relationships among venous societies.

What made you decide to work in phlebology and
what do you wish you had known before you did?

My early research work led me to a passion to treat vein
disease by correcting venous deficiencies, and to understand
the venous circulation.

If you could share one bit of advice with a rookie,
what would it be?

Listen to the patient – he is trying to tell you the correct

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