Jonathan Cardella, MD, is a vascular and endovascular surgeon who repairs blood vessels outside of the heart. While he performs many routine procedures, he specializes in highly complex treatments for conditions such as critical limb ischemia and diabetic atherosclerotic disease. He has extensive experience in complex endovascular surgery for aortic aneurysms and lower extremity occlusive disease, as well as hybrid surgical techniques for peripheral vascular disease, varicose veins, and dialysis access.
“If you come in early enough, the treatment may be zero invasive,” Dr. Cardella says. “Vascular surgeons have an extensive toolbox that ranges from exercise programs to medication to lifestyle management.” Some more aggressive treatments can be done through endovascular approaches that involve “literally a pinprick in someone's groin. We can do work from within the blood vessel that we certainly couldn’t do 15 years ago,” he says.
Dr. Cardella grew up in Toronto as part of a medical family—his father was a transplant nephrologist and his mother, an orthopedic head nurse. “As a young kid, I liked to hear my parents talk about the satisfaction they got from helping people and being involved in such an intimate way in people's lives, and that resonated quite strongly with me.”
Two experiences helped shape Dr. Cardella’s approach as a vascular surgeon. One was when he was walking through a crowded part of a hospital with balconies and tiers overhead, and a patient yelled down to get his attention. “The patient remembered the surgical cap I was wearing. He remembered a joke I made. He remembered everything about that day,” he says. The second experience happened when he was a surgical resident in an inner-city hospital, and he was walking to work huddled in his jacket on a dark winter morning. “A homeless man ran out of an alley, and it shocked me,” he says. “Then, he shouted, ‘Dr. Cardella!’ He lifted up his shirt and showed me his scar and said, ‘I'm doing great.’"
Patients remember their surgeries, sometimes down to the smallest details, Dr. Cardella says. “I learned that the privilege to be involved in such an intimate, life-changing event is incredible. Someone shares intimate details with me, and I really appreciate it. It’s a motivator.”
Dr. Cardella advises anyone to see a vascular surgeon if they feel pain in their feet in bed at night or in their calves when they walk, if they have a strong family history of atherosclerosis or cholesterol disease, or a family history of aneurysm disease.