25 Most Influential: Suresh Vedantham, MD

Suresh Vedantham, MD

A colleague had this to say: “One of the greatest up-and-coming minds in venous research and treatment today."

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?

I feel the next big movement in vein treatment is towards the popularity of multidisciplinary vein centers, where a patient will have access to a number of specialists with different backgrounds, who can offer different perspectives on venous disease treatment.

In your opinion, which area of research is yielding the most advancement in the field?

Over the last 5-10 years, what we have seen is great progress in the development of measure of outcome with patients with venous disease, and how to determine if a patient is better or not. Now that we are able to do so, it will allow us to do much more in combating venous disease.

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

The incorporation of endovascular techniques in the treatment of venous disease is the most exciting to me, in a number of areas – venous reflux has been revolutionized by laser ablation, radio frequency; deep vein thrombolysis, new thrombolytic drugs. Not only can these advances be applied to those who suffer from venous disease, but they can reach a greater scope of patients, as well, advancing patient care through new technology.
What advancements are long overdue?

Setting up an infrastructure to conduct large-scale clinical trials. Many of the treatments making their way into clinical practice haven’t really been subjected to the most rigorous forms of testing.

How does the current state of health insurance affect you{r practice} and what are the pitfalls?

It is very challenging to see so many patients with different gradations & severity of venous disease; but only those with the most extreme manifestations are considered to be legitimate candidates for insurance companies. In reality, though, the quality of life is affected in so many – they simply can’t go about daily living, and many insurance companies don’t accept that, and feel treatment should be reimbursed.

Describe an unlikely success story.

Recently, the “attract trial” through the National Institute of Health funded randomized trials looking at deep vein thrombolysis– getting that ten million dollar funding for a study looking at post-thrombolytic syndromes is something most would have never considered to be a possibility. But, having developed our new outcome measures to evaluate venous disease, investigators came to the front line to push it through, and the community came together to support trial, which is just now about to get started.

Are you involved in leading or teaching educational symposiums at clinics, hospitals, universities, etc? Please share your experiences.

One of my highlights is definitely having helped to develop and now serving as the Vice Chair of the Venous Disease Coalition, which is composed of thirty-four major medical organizations that have come together to increase public awareness and education in venous disease. We were honored that the Surgeon General announced a call to action on deep vein thrombolysis at our meeting in September, and we are optimistic that the coming together of these organizations will provide a strong emphasis to educate the public.

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?

Having been a big part of developing the Venous Disease Coalition is clearly an example of bringing these organizations together, as well as the forging and developing of the attract trial by bringing together sub-specialists from a number of disciplines, and, in the process, garnering endorsements from other specialty organizations (like the American College of Phlebology).

Have you been actively involved in any public awareness campaigns? Please give us the details on how the campaign was structured, examples of campaign materials and the response received from the community in which you practice.

The effort that many have put into getting the US government on board with the threat venous disease poses to the US public has met a lot of fruition recently; especially with the Surgeon General’s call to action (the Surgeon General was kind enough to thank me and my fellow Venous Disease Coalition members for our efforts.). Two million dollars have been put into a program to investigate how to tackle venous disease, and the National Institute of Health has a number of initiatives working with medical associations to assist in public awareness,

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

I was lucky enough to be trained in a center (Stanford University) where many different cutting edge treatments were being used in the newest treatments for venous disease. I also had the pleasure and benefit of meeting many leaders (and future leaders) in the field, which I felt was an important factor in winding up being a phlebology specialist.

If you could do anything else for a living, what would it be? Why?

Easy – a rock star!