Dr. Dinker Belle Rai is a Board Certified Indian American vascular surgeon who worked at the Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, as the Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Chief of the Department of Vascular Surgery/Vascular Laboratory. Born on 28 April 1947, in Puttur, Karnataka, India. His father is a famous criminal lawyer. Dr. Rai received his MBBS degree from Bangalore Medical College and his surgical training in the General Surgery Residency training program at the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital and Medical Center of New York. Dr, Dinker was the first to develop a method for retrograde catheterization of the venous tree; along with that, he discovered the motion of venous valves in human beings. Dr. Rai is also an accomplished author. He wrote two chapters in a textbook of Angiology and a beginner's manual on sclerotherapy and management of varicose veins with stab phlebectomy. In addition to being a doctor and an author, Dr. Rai is also a sportsman and an artist. He captained and won for his university team multiple times. His name is on the Honor Roll at the Chinnaswamy Stadium Cricket Museum in Bangalore.
Rai was born in Puttur, Karnataka, India on 28 April 1947 to Kedambady Narayana Rai, a famous criminal lawyer practicing in Mangalore and Belle Sanjivi Rai. He spent his early childhood in Mangalore and studied at St. Aloysius School and College. During his school days, he represented Mysore State in school cricket games. A portrait he painted of the then US President John F Kennedy during his school days is displayed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, MA. He currently lives in Old Westbury, Long Island, New York with his wife Shakila Rai. They have three children - Seema, Arjun and Rahul.
Rai did his schooling at St. Aloysius School Mangalore from 1952 to 1963. He completed his pre-university degree from St. Aloysius College Mangalore in 1964. After finishing pre-university, he attended the Bangalore Medical College. He graduated from Bangalore Medical College with a distinction in Pathology and as captain of an All Indian Regional University Cricket team (South Zone). He was awarded the "Best Outgoing Sportsman and Student of the Year" award for the academic year 1969–70. After completing his M.B.B.S (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) from Bangalore Medical College India, he was a rotating Intern at Victoria Hospital Bangalore, India from 1970 to 1971.
He did his surgical training in the General Surgery Residency training program at the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital and Medical Center of New York from 1974 to 1977, Chief Residency in Surgery in 1977 to 1978 and Fellowship in Vascular Surgery specializing in venous diseases at Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York in 1979. He served as the Director of the Phlebology Society of America in 1989. He participated in the first ever historical strike by the resident doctors of New York to reform the working conditions of New York while under training. The historical strike changed the Medical Residency working conditions throughout the nation.
He has received the following certifications:
He has been a member of:
He has held the following positions at the Jewish Medical Center now known as Interfaith Medical Center:
In addition to this, he serves on the Interdisciplinary Advisory Board for the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. He is an Editorial Board Member of the International College of Angiology Journal and Tracks Journal and is on the Board of Directors of the Phlebology Society of America.
He has authored the “Manual of Sclerotherapy and Phlebectomy of Varicose Veins and Telangiectasias for New Practitioners” published by Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists, Bangalore Chapter in 2006. He has contributed the following two chapters to the "Textbook of Angiology", published by Springer Verlag, 2000 Textbook of Angiology.
Rai is a pioneer in chronic venous disease research. He implemented new techniques for descending phlebography to diagnose venous disease. He devised a surgical procedure for vein valve transplantation and a surgical procedure for venous embolectomy. He also invented a diagnostic test for venous hemodynamics. He created a surgical technique for small vessel anastomosis in arterial surgery and vein patch arterioplasty. Earl U. Bell of the national news channel CBS interviewed him about vein valve transplant surgery and his invention, the Rai’s Catheter.
Invention of Catheters: Rai is credited with creating the following catheters
- The Rai’s catheter for percutaneous extremity approach
- The Rai’s three lumen balloon catheter – for groin approach
- The Rai’s “J” tip catheter – for groin approach
- The Rai’s antegrade venous embolectomy catheter
- The Rai’s retrograde venous embolectomy catheter
NOTE: Catheters a, b and c are used in the diagnosis of venous disease to perform descending phlebography.
He displayed his Venogram Catheter at the 5th European American meeting for venous disease, Vienna, 1990, American College of Surgeons, San Francisco, 1990, Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery, New York City, 1989 and the American College of Surgery, Atlanta, 1989.
Rai's videotapes on these surgical procedures is available in the American College of Surgeon Education Library: Infragenicular Arterial Reconstruction (15 minutes). He also has videotapes on Vein Valve transplantation - A New Technique (15 minutes), Descending Phlebography – Pericarpal Subcutaneous Approach (15 minutes), Venous Embolectomy – A New Technique (15 minutes).
Rai discovered the motion of venous valves in human beings i.e. its rhythmical opening and closing during each cardiac beat. This new information on venous valves comes almost 500 years after discovery by Fabricus Acquapedente of Padua University that venous valves are one way doors allowing blood to go towards the heart.
He discovered that venous blood flow is pulsatile which, prior to Rai's discovery, was described only as linear flow.
He is best known for his discovery of the mechanical function of atrial chambers of the heart. With experimental evidence on the canine heart, he discovered that atrial diastole is the key force that creates a negative pressure that brings blood back to the heart. Diastole is an - active expansion of the muscle on which the cardiac return depends. This is an addition to Starling’s law of muscle contraction that muscle not only actively contracts but expands as well. This significant historic discovery was made approximately 500 years after Sir William Harvey's discovery of the mechanical function of Ventricular Systole. This discovery has opened doors for new understanding / treatment of heart failure, atrial fibrillation and in improving the design and functioning of prosthetic hearts.
Rai captained the Bangalore University cricket team that won the South Zone finals and that, for the first time, went all way to the All India finals in 1969. He captained the Combined Universities Cricket team of the South Zone of India and Sri Lanka in 1969. He was selected for the Karnataka Ranji Trophy team in 1970. In lieu of his contribution to cricket, his name is on the Honor Roll at the Chinnaswamy Stadium Cricket Museum in Bangalore.
He is an avid golfer and his interest in the sport led him to promote a project to build a PGA standard 18 hole golf course through his company, Indus International Golf Resorts and Estates in Bangalore, India. The project is currently in progress. The architects of the golf course are Ronald Fream and Kevin Ramsay of Golf Plan and the construction is being managed by an American construction company, Heritage Incorporation.
Under the guidance of Indian artist B. Gulam Mahammad, Rai learnt the "India Ink Wash work" technique using a brush. The portrait he made of then US President John F. Kennedy was based on a photograph by Yousef Karsh.
Rai has also served on the Board and as the Chairman of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan United States. He has contributed various articles to the Bhavans Journal - A Travellers Experience, Goddess Kali, Mystery of Om, Gita The Gospel of Krishna, Lingering Feelings, Conversations with Swami Bua, Masters of all Masters, salutations to Sage Kapila, Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga. Under his chairmanship, the Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan (US) conducted conferences on Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology conference, and Bhagavad Gita. He is a founding member of American Academy of Ayurvedic Medicine, Inc. (AAAM).