Noninvasive Vascular Testing—A 35-Year Reflection
Noninvasive vascular testing has made a major contribution to the care of vascular surgery patients. This article a reflection on a 35-year corroborative association with Doctor Norman Rich, during which many of the advances in noninvasive vascular testing have been witnessed and effected. I served my vascular surgery fellowship under Doctor Rich in 1967–68 at Walter Reed Army Hospital. The only noninvasive vascular equipment then was a pencil probe Doppler. The value of the Doppler in the management of peripheral vascular disease that year and in determining limb viability in combat surgery in Vietnam the following year was established, and both experiences were published. Later, Doctor Rich established the annual Military Vascular Surgery Meeting and was appointed as the first Chair of the Department of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University for Health Sciences (USU). I entered private practice in Central California in 1976, and ultrasonic imaging was developed which allowed noninvasive examination of the carotid arteries. I then developed a protocol to screen for the three silent, immediate causes of stroke, employing a “a quick carotid scan” for carotid artery disease, a lead II rhythm strip for atrial fibrillation, and blood pressure determination for hypertension so that these common causes of strokes could be recognized and treated, and potentially prevent the majority of strokes. My association with USU, Doctor Rich, and others involved proved instrumental in initiating implementation of stroke prevention screening. The structure established at USU provides a means of establishing the protocol nationally. Noninvasive vascular testing is an addition to Medical Science that has led to significant improvements in individual patient care and that has the potential of allowing a major reduction in death and disability from stroke and other vascular diseases. Throughout a 35-year collaborative association with Doctor Norman M. Rich, I have witnessed and developed many of these advances. These contributions to noninvasive vascular testing reflect the value of our collaboration.
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