SVS Fact Sheet

Why is vascular health newsworthy?

  • As the United States' population of Baby Boomers continues to age, the potential for vascular disease increases. In 2020, the youngest Baby Boomers turned 55. Because many vascular diseases occur in the elderly, these 76 million Americans will create a demand for more vascular health services and will have access to far more treatments than their parents could have imagined.
  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects between eight and 12 million people in the United States. African Americans and those over age 50 are especially vulnerable, according to the National Institutes of Health. In advanced cases, when the diagnosis is made late, amputation may be necessary, particularly among patients with diabetes.
  • Nearly 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed annually with an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Approximately 14,000 Americans die each year from a ruptured AAA.
  • Vascular disease can block the carotid arteries to the brain and cause paralyzing strokes. Stroke remains the third leading cause of death in the United States with nearly 137,000 people dying annually according to 2010 American Stroke Association statistics. A large proportion of strokes are caused by plaque in the carotid arteries. In 2010, it was estimated that Americans would pay about $73.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability.

What do vascular surgeons do?

Vascular surgeons treat all the veins and arteries in the vascular system except those in the cranium and heart. Today’s vascular surgeons are trained to care for patients using noninvasive diagnostic tests, medical treatments, minimally invasive procedures and open surgeries when necessary. This expertise uniquely qualifies vascular surgeons to determine the most accurate diagnosis and prescribe the best treatment. In some other medical disciplines, surgeons perform less invasive treatments but cannot perform surgery. In other medical disciplines, surgeons are skilled with one particular organ but they are not specialists in the entire vascular system.

In addition to this clinical expertise, many members of the Society for Vascular Surgery advocate for vascular health:

  • Many are leaders who have developed unprecedented advancements through research
  • Others head vascular departments at medical colleges
  • Some work with legislators to make vascular health care available to all. An example of a legislative success is the passage of the Screening Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Very Efficiently Act providing a free AAA screening for qualifying Medicare beneficiaries

What is SVS?

The Society for Vascular Surgery is a not-for-profit professional medical society composed of vascular surgeons and vascular health care professionals like nurses and PAs trained in vascular care. SVS members work to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research and public awareness. SVS is the national advocate for those dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease.

  • Press releases are distributed via email and news wires reporting life-saving research and vascular health information.
  • offers comprehensive SVS news and information on vascular disease including disease descriptions and treatments in the patient resources section.
  • SVS meets annually at the Vascular Annual Meeting, where members present groundbreaking research and studies. The media is invited to attend.

For expert comments and interviews with vascular surgeons, call 312-334-2300 or email us for more information.