Grand opening of the interventional radiology suite at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire
On September 9, 2021, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust inaugurated its new Interventional Radiology Theatre Suite with an opening ceremony followed by lectures. The IR Suite includes two GE Healthcare angiographic rooms installed within the last year (Discovery IGS 7 and Innova IGS 5). It also features two multipurpose imaging labs and a seven-bed radiology day-case unit which allows the trust to admit patients directly to the unit and discharge them without ever needing to go to a general hospital ward.
Dr Ian McCafferty, president of the BSIR (British Society of Interventional Radiology), opened the ceremony with the cutting of the ribbon, calling the suite a “fantastic facility” and “up the ladder of West Midlands IR departments”. Following this, the 60 guests were taken in small groups to tour the department. Dr Neil Gupta, IR consultant at UHCW gave the first lecture introducing the role of interventional radiologists and what they were doing, covering the main procedures that the team at UHCW deliver routinely: non-vascular (nephrostomy, PTC, vertebroplasty), vascular (angioplasties, embolisations), oncology (tumour ablation, TACE, etc). Dr James Harding, IR clinical lead at UHCW, then continued with a lecture about the future of interventional radiology. He reminded the audience that IR was a unique discipline, requiring the physicians to be trained as clinicians, diagnostic imaging experts and operators. He traced the key dates in the evolution of the IR practice in UHCW: from its first EVAR in 1998 to the 24/7 IR availability in 2012, the first TACE, UAE and PAE by 2014 and to the completion of the IR suite in 2021 after nine years of design, and a team comprising seven consultants. The vision of the department is to expand and deliver a high quality, high volume elective service for the patients of Coventry and Warwickshire. Potential areas of new IR activity include developing SIRT for liver cancer, geniculate artery embolisation in patients with osteoarthritis to delay their first knee replacement, and pelvic congestion syndrome in women.
To help deliver excellence in IR services, the GE angiographic systems deliver great image quality at a reduced dose, as well as a range of augmented guidance tools. For example: on table cone-beam CT, liver ASSIST to detect tumour feeders and plan the embolisation paths, and needle guidance to treat endoleaks.
The last lecture was delivered by Dr Ian McCafferty, who demonstrated the wonders of IR as a speciality, in particular through spectacular cases of vascular malformations on the face and in abdominal paediatrics. Despite the issues linked to IR finding its identity in the modern hospital environment and the shortage of staff, Dr McCafferty underlined that UCHW was in “a very good place”, thanks to a state-of-the-art IR suite with the day-case unit, the great team collaboration with radiographers and nurses, and the skilled operators who want to put patient care at the heart of the hospital’s decision-making process.
Lead picture: Dr Ian McCafferty cutting the ribbon.
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