Medical tourism, patients seeking care outside their native country, is the subject of hundreds of news reports. Vascular surgery represents one of the top medical specialties sought by health care travelers in North America and on other continents. Medical tourism in Costa Rica, for example, is a growth industry, because of the country’s popularity and its abundance of skilled physicians. Nevertheless, the prospective patient should understand the facts about vascular disease prior to seeking treatment abroad.
Although many cardiac surgeons treat heart disease, heart surgery is a subspecialty within the larger discipline of vascular surgery. The word vascular means blood vessel, and vascular surgeons perform thousands of heart bypass procedures annually. Vascular surgeons also treat carotid artery conditions like stenosis, a major risk factor for stroke, disability and mortality worldwide.