A Tribute to the Father of Vascular Ultrasound: Dr. Eugene Strandness
As vein disease is a surgical disease, many surgeons have made significant contributions to treating venous disorders. No one has contributed more than vascular surgeon, Dr. Eugene Strandness. He is referred to as the “Father of Vascular Ultrasound” because of the role that he, along with Dr. Robert Rushmer, a pediatrician and physicist, developed – a groundbreaking technique of using Doppler Ultrasound to peer deeply into the functions of the vascular system. His work in the development of vascular ultrasound has forever changed how we diagnose and treat vein disorders.
A Brief History of Dr. Eugene Strandness
Born in 1928, Eugene Strandness earned his M.D. from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1954. After completing his surgery training at the University of Washington, Dr. Strandness joined the university faculty in the surgery department. At that time, vascular surgery was in its infancy, and Dr. Strandness began to consider how the world of vascular disorders could benefit from a better way to see inside the vein and properly diagnose problems.
Dr. Strandness continued to study the dynamics of blood flow and the physiology of the vascular system while working in the University of Washington Medical Center. It was there that he had a breakthrough concept. What if technology from Doppler ultrasound could be used to more properly diagnose venous disorders in patients?
In order to test his idea, Dr. Strandness teamed up with several bioengineers named Robert Rushmer, Dean Franklin and Donald Baker to test his concept. They found promise in the idea and worked with Dr. Strandness to produce a version of the Doppler Ultrasound made for vascular use in 1967.
At first, the medical community had reservations about the effectiveness of his new approach. Using ultrasound to study the flow of blood through veins did not seem like a probable means of diagnosis for many of his colleagues; however, Dr. Strandness quickly turned the medical community around by consistently showing amazing results, and the new technology was adopted and has been in use ever since. Dr. Strandness truly was the father of vascular ultrasound.
Leaving a Legacy
Dr. Strandness died in 2002, but his pivotal work in ultrasound lives on and has greatly affected the medical world and the way patient diagnosis is made. Dr. Strandness’s ideas and contribution to medical technology have been the foundation of all kinds of breakthroughs, and it is doubtful that we would evaluate and treat veins today, if he had not developed the vascular ultrasound.