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 History of Vascular Surgery

NEW! History of Vascular Surgery Videosvideo screenshot cropped.png

Learn the history of vascular surgery in three narrated videos, covering three distinct eras:

Era l: Antiquity and Reparative Surgery

Era ll: Direct and Reconstructive Surgery

Era lll: Endovascular Surgery

This interview series features leaders and major contributors in the field of vascular surgery. The videos were created by the SVS History Project Work Group, chaired by Dr. James Yao, and followed more than 75 interviews with leaders in the subspecialty. 


Watch historical interviews with prominent vascular surgeons  to learn more about the start of modern vascular surgery and the pioneers who shaped this exciting field.

Historic Interview

In 1996, the 50th anniversary of Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS), Drs. Harry B. Shumacker, Jr. and Michael DeBakey were the two surviving members of the 31 founders of the Society. Drs. Shumacker and DeBakey were interviewed about their recollections of the history of the Society. The interviews were conducted by Calvin Ernst with Dr. Shumacker and by William Blaisdell with Dr. DeBakey. Both Drs. Shumacker and DeBakey have passed away – Dr. Shumacker on November 14, 2009 and Dr. DeBakey on July 11, 2008.

Interviews from Drs. Harry Shumacker and Michael Debakey are available on separate DVDs free-of-charge to SVS members. Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL, provided the original interview to SVS. To obtain a copy, email

Above photo: Michael E. DeBakey, MD (left), Harris B. Shumacker, Jr., MD (right)

History of SVS

The following publications provide information on the history of SVS. 
  1. Yao JST.  Society for Vascular Surgery—The beginning.  J Vasc Surg 2010;51:776-779
  2. Shumacker HB Jr.  The Society for Vascular Surgery—A history: 1945-1983.  Chicago: The Society for Vascular Surgery, 1984
  3. Journal of Vascular Surgery 1996;23(6):957-1157. Special issue commemorating the 50th anniversary (1946-1996) of SVS, edited by Calvin B. Ernst and James S.T. Yao. In addition to the history of SVS, this special issue provides historical information on recent activities of the Society, including accreditation of vascular training programs and certification of vascular surgeons; research and emergence of the Lifeline Foundation, the Research Initiatives meeting, and the National Institutes of Health; the Journal of Vascular Surgery; and the development of the Crawford Critical Issues Forum and the E.J. Wylie Traveling Fellowship. The issue ended with a section of photo memoirs to bring back fond memories of the Society. 
  4. Lilly GD.  The first ten years of the Society for Vascular Surgery.  Surgery 1957;41:1-5
  5. Thompson JE.  The founding fathers.  Surgery 1977;82:801-808
  6. Pearce, WH, Mannick JA, Clowes AW and Yao JST.  Twentieth anniversary of American Vascular Association/Lifeline Foundation: A celebration.  J Vasc Surg 2008;47:1351-1355

In 2003, the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, North American Chapter, merged with SVS to become one Society—The Society for Vascular Surgery. Two historical articles about ISCVS-NA provide the historical information of this important partnership.

  1. Haimovici H.  The history of the International Cardiovascular Society.  Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 1977; 18: 207-240.
  2. Connolly JE.  A view of the International Cardiovascular Society on its silver anniversary.  Arch Surg 1977;112: 1281-1286

History of Vascular Surgery

The following books and articles provide useful information on the history of the development of vascular surgery.

  1. Rob CG A History of arterial surgery.  Arch Surg 1972;105:821-823
  2. Rob CG.  The classics of vascular surgery
  3. Dale WA.  The beginnings of vascular surgery.  Surgery 1974;76:849-866
  4. Dale WA (author), Johnson G (editor), DeWeese JA (editor).  Band of brothers: Creators of modern vascular surgery.  George Johnson and James DeWeese, 1996
  5. Friedman SG.  A History of vascular surgery, 2nd ed.  Malden MA: Blackwell-Futura, 2005
  6. Barker WF.  Clio chirurgica: The arteries.  Austin TX: R.G. Landes Co., 1992
  7. Szilagyi, DE.  A brief account of the long life of D.Emerick Szilagyi, MD.  Evanston IL: Greenwood Academic, 2008
  8. Cohn I.  Rudolph Matas: A biography of one of the great pioneers in surgery.  New York: Doubleday & Co. Inc., 1960


Contact Us

Society for Vascular Surgery
633 North Saint Clair Street, 22nd Floor | Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-334-2300 | 800-258-7188
Fax: 312-334-2320

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VascularWeb® is the prime source for all vascular health and disease information, and is presented by the Society for Vascular Surgery®. Its members are vascular surgeons, specialists, and vascular health professionals who are specialty-trained in all treatments for vascular disease including medical management, non-invasive procedures, and surgery.