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Vascular Medicine

Vascular medicine focuses on a non-invasive approach to the diagnosis and treatment of many problems involving the circulatory system (arteries, veins, and lymphatics). It is a relatively new and rapidly growing subspecialty of internal medicine, first recognized by the American Medical Association in 1998.

Vascular medicine specialists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions like peripheral artery disease, carotid artery stenosis, renal artery stenosis, aneurysms, and deep venous thrombosis.  Because these conditions are often associated with heart disease and cerebrovascular disease it is essential to identify and treat them early in their course.

Columbia University’s Division of Cardiology opened its vascular medicine program in 2003, one of the first such programs in the New York region.

The program’s state-of-the-art cardiovascular ultrasound laboratory is located on the 4th floor of the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center. Here, under the guidance of medical director Timothy J. Crimmins, M.D., a board-certified vascular medicine specialist, we offer the latest diagnostic options, including:

  • Non-invasive flow studies
  • Carotid Dopplers
  • Venous ultrasound
  • Arterial ultrasound
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound screening
  • Renal artery ultrasound

Dr. Crimmins works in partnership with Debra Q. Kolodner, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine. Dr. Kolodner is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology. Once a patient is diagnosed with a vascular condition, Dr. Crimmins and Dr. Kolodner work with them on medical and lifestyle management, using an aggressive approach to modifying the person’s risk factors to help control their condition. “We find out what’s going on and help to improve their risk factors and make them feel better without resorting to intervention unless it is absolutely necessary,” Dr. Crimmins says. “That’s where our expertise is.”

For example, they work with patients on:

  • Management of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol
  • Lifestyle modification with smoking cessation, weight loss, and exercise; and
  • Medical treatment of claudication symptoms (the pain and cramping caused by too little blood flow).

Dr. Crimmins and Dr. Kolodner work with a wide range of specialists in other disciplines who refer patients to their practice, including internal medicine and family medicine physicians, cardiologists, and vascular surgeons.

Dr. Crimmins’ clinical practice is located on the 6th floor of the Herbert Irving Pavilion. Dr. Kolodner sees patients in the Associates in Internal Medicine East clinic, located at 1150 St. Nicholas Avenue, which serves primarily Medicare and Medicaid patients. Columbia is deeply committed to providing vascular medicine services to this community.

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