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We are very sorry to announce the death of David King, a founder member of the SVT

8th Aug 2020


1941 – 2020


David King was a founder member of the Society of Vascular Technology of Great Britain and Ireland.

He worked tirelessly to introduce and improve the diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease for over fifty years.

Variously described as a ‘Gentleman Scientist’ and a ‘Maverick’, David was always enthusiastic and considerate to both colleagues and to the thousands of patients whom he measured in clinic. He particularly enjoyed the stories retold by older patients of their wartime and scientific experiences.


His enquiring mind and technical skills were put to good use with the creation of the Ultrasonic Angiology Research Group at Guys Hospital Medical School under the leadership of Dr (later Professor) Raymond Gosling ( .This started when Raymond and David returned from The University of West Indies, Jamaica, in 1967. Whilst there, they had been working on the causes of Atherosclerosis, which included using early CW Doppler ultrasound detectors. However, they also became accustomed to what Raymond called ‘Jamaica Time’, a highly personalised interpretation of timekeeping which both continued to use thereafter.


This research group was highly successful, with David initially developing instruments to assist research, including a hand-held turbulence detector, and a Transit Time device with Brian Coghlan. This early work also involved both human, animal, and in-vitro investigation into haemodynamics, from which many academic papers flowed including one in Nature, and in the creation of the ‘Pulsatility Index’.


David also contributed significantly to the development of a whole range of novel instrumentation for clinical measurement and was instrumental in the setting up of a vascular laboratory within Guy’s Hospital to offer the non-invasive detection of peripheral vascular disease in 1977.  This service was much appreciated and with ever developing instrumentation attracted NHS support, becoming ‘Ultrasonic Angiology’. David transferred to NHS employ in 1991 when Professor Gosling retired.


He was generous and enjoyed a chat and a good night out. A memory has been related that he took a couple of trainees at King’s College Hospital out for an after meeting meal, paid for their meals and gave them a lift in his Mazda RX-8 rotary engine sports car. He said that he had to top up the oil with every new tank of petrol. It is an individualist’s car.

He was always enthusiastic about new ideas in blood flow measurement and imaging. He could be relied upon, completely unselfconsciously, to come up with challenging questions which delved into the details of a problem or scientific presentation.


David independently developed a novel CW Doppler scanning device ‘QuickScan’. This drew a colour coded for velocity / Doppler shift arterial map onto a picture of the patient’s legs, and reduced the time needed for the investigation. This attracted commercial interest from Huntleigh Medical Ltd.

He also branched out into clinical measurement at other hospitals, setting up a vascular lab with David Goss at the London Bridge Hospital in 1993. This was a  physiological measurement ‘old style’ vascular lab. He always enjoyed the fine selection of sandwiches the hospital provided at the set up meetings and they normally went for a pint afterwards.  By 1997 he felt able to leave Guy’s hospital employ and become more independent, creating new vascular Labs at Lewisham Hospital and at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, where he oversaw and provided clinical services, aided by his partner Deborah Dorrance whom he had met at Guy’s some years before.

During this time he created an experimental 3D ultrasound scanning device, while by 2003 he had developed with others a simple two minute test for presence of arterial disease. By 2009 he had developed a method and obtained a patent with Dr Mohammed Al Qaisi for the estimation of mean blood pressure in an artery from the blood flow waveform.

From 2009 he acted as a locum Clinical Vascular Scientist to a wider range of hospitals, an activity he continued until health issues brought this to a close early in 2020.

His determination for innovation never waned, and from 2009 he drove forward the development of a device capable of exploiting the patent and introducing the concept of the ‘cuffless ABI’ for triaging lower limb vascular disease. He created a start-up Company, Bluedop Medical Ltd, and with others has strived to make a practical and cost effective device – the ‘Bluedop Vascular Expert’. The first commercially manufactured prototypes emerged in late 2017, though considerable time was still required to obtain CE approval, and sadly David did not live to see this finally achieved just weeks after his death.

David died peacefully in hospital in June 2020.  He leaves a wife, Deborah Dorrance King, and three sons Raph, Charles and Harry.


Written by Graeme Taylor, David Goss and Dominic Foy.


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