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Inspiring Presentations at Vascular Surgery Lectureship

By Willis H. Wagner, MD
Clinical Chief, Division of Vascular Surgery

Benjamin Starnes, MD, chief of Vascular Surgery at the University of Washington, was the visiting professor for this year's Sanford Rosenbaum Lectureship in Vascular Surgery on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Starnes began the day with a captivating lecture on the management of extremity vascular trauma gleaned from three tours of duty as a military surgeon in Kosovo and Iraq. His tremendous experience both in the military and at one of the pre-eminent vascular surgery programs enlivened the discussion of cases scrutinized at the surgical morbidity and mortality conference.

The surgical residents also presented a series of unusual and challenging patient problems that Starnes expertly analyzed, to the benefit of our patients. His thoughtful commentary was consistently focused on maximizing the educational aspect of each case for all levels of the house staff.

The high point of the day was Starnes' presentation at the combined Medicine-Surgery Noon Conference of his pioneering work in the management of ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms. During his tenure in Seattle, he has established Harborview Medical Center as the premier referral center for the endovascular management of this profoundly challenging condition from an area that includes Washington, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and northern Oregon.

Traditional open aneurysm repair has been associated with mortality rates of 50 to 70 percent. Starnes was one of the first practitioners in the U.S. to treat this condition with minimally invasive technology. His many advances in this arena have led to significant declines in the mortality of patients who undergo both endovascular and open repairs. This is the second time that Starnes has shared his evolving techniques with the Cedars-Sinai community in the past five years.

All of the attendees were impressed by Starnes' courage both in the military arena and in civilian practice, tackling some of the most vexing problems that surgeons encounter.

The Division of Vascular Surgery is indebted to the Rosenbaum-Katz family for endowing a lectureship that advances both the clinical science of our specialty and the education of our residents, the next generation.