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. Patient friendly 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 diagnosis.