RAVST and Russian links with Europe


Vascular News has heard of the work of a dynamic young Russian vascular surgeon, Alexei Svetlikov. A true European, Svetlikov is working tirelessly to bring the news and views of Russian vascular surgery to the international arena.

Svetlikov, born a mere 32 years ago in St Petersburg, is currently a trainee at the Division of Vascular Surgery and Angiology in St Petersburg State Medical Academy where he graduated. He was the first Russian to get a research grant from the ESVS funds. Thanks to the Fellowship of International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis Svetlikov spent several months in Harvard Medical School hospitals in Boston, which he described as “an unforgettable and extremely interesting experience in both open and endovascular surgery on aorta, carotids, and peripheral arteries. He has single-handedly created a vascular register in the St Petersburg region for procedural activity in vascular surgery, and he also contributed data to the annual report on vascular surgical activity (Eurovasc). These are just the tip of the iceberg in the vast list of achievements made by this veritable dynamo, who is rapidly becoming synonymous with the cause of young Russian vascular surgeons.

Work for the EASVT

Svetlikov is a phenomenally productive committee member, belonging to numerous Russian and international vascular surgery societies and has been an executive committee member of EAVST (European Association for Vascular Surgeons in Training) for 18 months. This is an organisation that collects information on the training and education of European vascular surgeons and performs surveys or research in relation to this. EAVST promotes intra-European exchange programmes for vascular trainees as well as the formation of national associations of vascular surgeons in training. Svetlikov’s role in the EASVT is to be responsible for international relations between EAVST and other societies of vascular surgeons in training. This is what made him found RAVST, the Russian Association of Vascular Surgeons in Training, in 2002.

Why a RAVST?

Forging international links was not the only reason to form an association for young vascular surgeons in Russia. The influence and power of the professors and heads of departments in Russia is great, so it is an achievement in itself that the younger Russians are coming together in a formalised structure, the embryonic framework that is the RAVST. Svetlikov alluded to this in his comments on what other important reasons there were for the formation of RAVST. “I felt it was important to unite the young vascular surgeons of Russia because I realise that the younger generation must get together in a formalised structure. When I attended international meetings, which I have been doing since 1998, I noticed that the information about vascular surgery in Russia was rather insufficient. I would say that vascular surgery in Russia, for the majority European surgeons, is an unknown world. I am sure that our vascular surgeons have great world level experience and achievements in their specialty. I believe that the young generation of Russian vascular surgeons are very flexible and will be able to join the ESVS in the near future. I would like to thank Professor Pokrovsky for his support in this initiative

RAVST was founded at the Annual Meeting of Russian Cardio-Vascular surgeons and the next All Russian Meeting of RAVST will take place next year in September 2003 in Rostov at the annual meeting of the Russian Vascular Surgery Society. Svetlikov intends to organise the RAVST General Assembly and Young Vascular Surgeons Forum, of which there are currently more than 50 members from all over Russia.

Education on the Internet

One of the most important agreements made by EAVST was to form an educational website (www.eavst.org). Alexei Svetlikov took on the responsibility for the editing of these pages. “This was my idea and I had to edit and collect all the papers and materials myself. Because this is pretty hard work, it took me about a year. I am still alone, but as you know, not everybody is able to start. I believe that when somebody looks through this page at least some of them will join me.”At the ESVS in Istanbul last year, it was decided to ask all trainees to help in the creation of this part of the website. “This will allow us to have more opinions and speed up this very hard work. It is an extremely important part of EAVST activity,”says Svetlikov. The information that he has collated is under two main headings; a page on atherosclerosis and another on vascular surgery and angiology. He is still in need of vital assistance with this work and made a plea through Vascular News that trainee vascular surgeons contact him if they would like to play a role. “Please ask all trainees to send me material on the topic that they are interested in. I shall summarise what we receive and send it to the web designer.”To contact Alexei, email him at [email protected]

Plans for the future

In his capacity as international relations coordinator for EAVST, Svetlikov has plans for the upcoming 25th Charing Cross International Symposium in London this April. He is applying to junior members and vascular surgeons in training everywhere to join EAVST as corresponding members. There will be a special Training Session, organised by Mr Alun Davies with the support of Vascutek, to be held at both the Charing Cross and the Annual ESVS Meeting in September in Dublin. Svetlikov describes it as “an excellent revision course for all trainees and also for vascular surgeons taking the EBSQ-Vasc Examination.”The session is to cover the epidemiology of vascular disease, outcome and statistical analysis, medical therapy, vascular anaesthesia and concludes in a debate on clinical cases (more information can be found on the EAVST website). “We are supported in this idea by past ESVS Presidents Professors Paaske and Pokrovsky and Christos Liapis, the Secretary General of UEMS Division and Board of Vascular Surgery,”he said. “This will be another step towards the foundation in the near future (I believe 2003-2004) of the International Association of Vascular Surgeons in Training (IAVST) which will come under the umbrella of the International Society for Vascular Surgery (ISVS). I am sure this action will contribute to the success of future relations between vascular surgery societies.”Svetlikov does not just have big names in European vascular surgery behind him either. He is forging links with societies all over the world and has the support of Dr Field, President of the ANZSVS (Australian and New Zealand Society of Vascular Surgery) and Professor Riles, President of the AAVS (American Association for Vascular Surgeons).

The bigger picture

Past ESVS President William Paaske is extremely enthusiastic when it comes to the tireless work of this young man and the interesting developments he is instigating. “Alexei needs our support to get things moving for the younger vascular surgeons in Russia. They need to get many more international contacts, to travel to Western centres for training and education, and to become integrated into the vascular clinical and scientific mainstream in the West. Also, I know from recent first-hand experience that Russia has so much to contribute to the international community of vascular surgery that exchange programmes should also be developed for young surgeons from Western Europe to go to Russian centres of excellence.”He was particularly impressed with the formation of RAVST when it is seen as part of the bigger picture. “RAVST will be coupled to the EAVST with Alexei as the representative for Russia. Thus, through the EAVST, he will be represented in the ESVS Council and the Board of Vascular Surgery of the UEMS. In short: the channels of information dissemination are beginning to be created as part of this socialising strategy.