So I promised a blog about my new job so here goes!
Interventional radiology (abbreviated IR or VIR for Vascular and Interventional Radiology, also referred to as Surgical Radiology) is a medical sub-specialty of radiology which utilizes minimally invasive image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interventional_radiology)
The above link will lead any interested parties to discover what our department is capable of doing on a regular basis.
So we have an awesome team. Each outpatient starts off in the Radiology Care Unit (ROCU) to be "worked up." The ROCU nurses obtain specimens for specific lab work that is needed, an IV, and review medical history and medications the patients are on. The MD's go over the procedure and obtain informed consent from each patient. My job comes in once the patient is ready in the ROCU. I personally review the patient's medical and sedation history and determine if the patient is a good candidate for moderate sedation (aka conscious sedation, aka twilight sleep). Moderate sedation is: A drug-induced depression of consciousness during which the patient responds purposefully to verbal command, either alone or accompanied by light tactile stimulation. No interventions are necessary to maintain a patent airway.(http://www.sgna.org/issues/sedationfactsorg/sedationadministration/sedationlevels.aspx)
I then transport the patient around to the procedure room, get them on the cardiac monitor and start sedating the patient. The radiology technologist set up the table and get the patient surgically ready (i.e. patient scrubbed with antimicrobial cleansers and draped with sterile towels, etc.). Once everything is set up and *hopefully* the patient is sleeping quietly, the MD comes in to perform one of many minimally invasive procedures that we are able to do. They are typically assisted by another doctor like a fellow or the rad technologist. The minimal part stems from the fact that our procedures usually require only a very small incision (an inch or so) or just a arterial or venous puncture site.
This is a good representation of some of the equipment in each procedure room. The C-shaped machine is the x-ray, which is able to swivel around the patient as they lie on the table. The monitors shown will display the live image taken by the x-ray. The Docs can see in real-time on the screen as them move the table back and forth under the x-ray.
After the procedure is completed, patients return to the ROCU for recovery and stay anywhere from the time it takes to get changed up to being admitted for 23hr observation. It all depends on the procedure that was done.
It is truly amazing what we can do at the hospital with technology now. It's so cool to be involved in fascinating procedures that spare patients a lot of extra pain and recovery time involved with more invasive procedures. Any questions? There will be a quiz Friday. .. JK