Deep Vein Valve Failure InterVene, Inc.
Co-Founder & CEO
Biodesign Innovation Fellow 2009-10
"Mr. P seemed like a nice, blue-collar guy. He was built like a football player – strong, athletic, and in shape for his mid 50s. He didn’t seem like a crier. But walking out of his fourth vascular surgery clinic appointment in two years, Mr. P was crying like a baby.
He was generally healthy. But about 10 years prior, following a routine knee surgery, Mr. P was one of the 500,000 people that year who developed a blood clot in one of the deep veins of the leg, known as a deep vein thrombosis [DVT]. First, he started feeling pain in his left leg. Then it turned red and the pain intensified. He was referred to a vascular surgeon, who put him on anticoagulation drugs and watched him over the next six months. The DVT resolved, and Mr. P enjoyed several years without any issues. Then, shortly after turning 50, he started noticing that his left leg would swell around the ankle. Swelling turned into pain and, ultimately, he developed an open wound on his left ankle. This was his first venous leg ulcer. He would have four more over the next five years. Sometimes they lasted for months. One lasted an entire year.
Mr. P became a frequent visitor to Stanford’s vascular clinic, where they tried everything to help him. He received multiple diagnostic ultrasounds that showed no evidence of superficial vein problems, which could have been easily treated. Unfortunately, his prognosis was post-thrombotic syndrome, which meant that the DVT he experienced years ago had destroyed the vein valves throughout his thigh.
On his most recent clinic visit, Mr. P was told that compression therapy was the best available option to control his swelling and pain. I caught him in the hall as his face turned red, unable to hold back tears. He had been polite to the doctor, but once in the hallway his disappointment turned to anger. Not toward anyone in particular – just over the futility of his situation. 'Tight socks?' he asked in frustration. 'That’s the best they can prescribe for me?'
It was at that moment that I committed myself to solving this important problem. At Intervene, we have a very simple goal: to develop a better solution to deep vein valve failure for the millions of patients, like Mr. P, who suffer for years and yet are only offered a regimen of tight socks."
“I caught him in the hall as his face turned red, unable to hold back tears.... ‘Tight socks?’ he asked in frustration. ‘That’s the best they can prescribe for me?’”
Disclaimer of Endorsement: All references to specific products, companies, or services, including links to external sites, are for educational purposes only and do not constitute or imply an endorsement by the Byers Center for Biodesign or Stanford University.