Over the last 50-55 years, since the first description of peripheral angioplasty, interventional radiologists (IRs) are at the forefront in advancing minimally invasive treatments of various diseases from the head (endovascular treatment of stroke) to the toe (limb salvage peripheral vascular treatments with angioplasty).

Interventional radiologists participate in different multidisciplinary care teams in the treatment of various diseases including (but not limited to):

  • Peripheral vascular disease with endovascular therapies like balloon angioplasty, stenting, clot retrieval among others for patients with acute stroke and vascular disease involving the neck, aorta and branches, pelvis and legs for both occlusive and aneurysm disease
  • Cancer with different procedures like biopsies, venous access for chemotherapy and different image-guided therapies for various cancers including tumour ablation, chemoembolization and radioembolization
  • Dialysis interventions with different procedures for dialysis dependent patients including placement of hemodialysis catheters and maintenance of AV fistulas and grafts
  • Trauma and emergency interventions with different embolization procedures in patients with acute life-threatening bleeding
  • Inpatient interventions including many of the procedures listed, along with venous access procedures, enteral feeding procedures, abscess drain insertions, nephrostomy and biliary drain insertions among others

In addition, many Canadian IRs have followed the lead from their counterparts in other countries, by establishing clinical services. This includes outpatient IR clinics to allow for preprocedural clinical assessment, discussion of the intervention and development of a patient care plan, both in discussion with the patient and referring physician.  As part of this service, many Canadian IRs have inpatient privileges to admit and manage patients after their IR procedures.  As with any specialty, IRs should consult with any appropriate specialists to ensure good patient management, at their discretion.

This departure from “technician” and from the traditional role of diagnostic radiologist led to IR receiving subspecialty status from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and to the development of the IR residency.  Although the technical skills of an IR are paramount, clinical training is emphasized in the standards of training documents.

In summary, CAIR supports interventional radiologists in taking an active role in patient care, including outpatient clinics and inpatient admissions in the care of patients undergoing IR procedures.

CAIR Board of Directors