Five Questions With: Dr. Peter Soden

Dr. Peter Soden, a vascular surgeon, arrived at Brown Surgical Associates in September, joining the practice’s division of vascular and endovascular surgery.

Soden discusses his own specific clinical interests, as well as minimally invasive technology that allows surgeons to perform complex procedures on patients who may not be able to withstand a traditional operation.  

PBN: You recently completed a two-year fellowship in vascular surgery at Beth Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. How was the transition to Rhode Island and Brown Surgical Associates?

SODEN: The transition has been great. I moved to Rhode Island with my wife and three children, and we are loving the beautiful beaches, welcoming community and great food.  I have an excellent and supportive group of partners who have made the transition to Rhode Island and Brown Surgical Associates very smooth.

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PBN: According to several doctors that I interviewed last spring as COVID-19 hospitalizations were beginning to climb, people were so anxious about visiting the hospital for any reason, including heart problems, that some were staying away until they experienced a real medical emergency. From your perspective, do you think that this has caused an increase in cardiac problems that may have been preventable if treatment was sought earlier? 

SODEN: Yes, definitely, people have been afraid to come to the hospital to seek care, and so we see patients presenting later in the course of their illnesses. This often leads to worse outcomes, especially if the medical issue is urgent. This includes heart disease and peripheral arterial disease. I encourage everyone to seek timely medical care, as that will lead to the best possible treatment outcomes, and I know that at our hospitals, extensive safety measures are in place.

PBN: What are some of the conditions that you most often see that require surgery?

SODEN: Vascular surgeons treat diseases of arteries and veins all over a patient’s body. We use both open operations, as well as endovascular techniques, which utilize a variety of balloons and stents in a minimally invasive way.

Some of the more common conditions I see that require surgery include advanced atherosclerotic conditions, which lead to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries and cause narrowing of the carotid and peripheral arteries, thereby putting patients at high risk for stroke or amputation of their leg, respectively.

I also see aneurysm disease, which is an abnormal enlargement of the artery resulting in a high risk of rupture, which requires timely surgery to mitigate this risk.

PBN: What are some of your specific clinical interests? 

SODEN: My clinical interests include diseases of the aorta, carotid and peripheral arterial systems. Aortic disease includes both aneurysm, an enlargement of the artery that weakens its wall, and dissection, which is a tear in the layers of the aorta that is often due to high blood pressure. Carotid and peripheral arterial disease are mainly caused by a buildup of plaque, or atherosclerosis, in the arteries going to the brain and limbs. These conditions often require a thoughtful treatment plan and access to the latest technologies in order to reestablish proper blood flow through these vessels.

That is why it is so great to have joined Brown Surgical Associates, where I have access to cutting-edge technology and the latest devices and treatment options at both Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital.

PBN: Is there any new technology available now or on the horizon that has, or will have, made a significant difference for you as a surgeon and for your patients? 

SODEN: Vascular surgery is an exciting and quickly evolving field. By being able to perform both open and endovascular operations, vascular surgeons can provide each of our patients with the best treatment plan possible for that individual. For example, transcervical carotid artery revascularization, which uses an open incision at the base of the neck to deliver a carotid stent, has improved our options for treating carotid disease and preventing stroke, especially in individuals with complex anatomy or who are at high risk for an open operation.

For treating complex aneurysms of the abdominal aorta, advancements have also been made with stent grafts that have branches for the renal arteries, which allows vascular surgeons to treat this area in a minimally invasive way. This is important, especially in older patients who may not be able to tolerate an open operation.

Through Brown Surgical Associates and our hybrid operating rooms, I have access to all these devices and have operating room staff, as well as the advanced imaging systems necessary to perform such complex procedures safely.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.

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