In response to the growing subspecialty known as interventional radiology, Paoli Hospital opens a new interventional radiology lab to treat common conditions with latest minimally invasive techniques.
Paoli, Pa. (March 2005) — A fast-growing subspecialty of physicians, known as interventional radiologists, are bringing together advanced X-ray equipment and new minimally invasive techniques to treat conditions like uterine fibroids, varicose veins and compression fractures of the spine.
On March 21, Paoli Hospital is scheduled to open a new interventional radiology lab dedicated to these diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The centerpiece of the $1.7 million lab is the Philips Allura Xper FD20, a fully digital, 3-D X-ray system. According to Philips Medical Systems, manufacturers of the Allura, Paoli Hospital is among the first in the Delaware Valley to obtain this advanced equipment.
"Both our patients and our clinicians benefit from the speed and superior image accuracy of this new X-ray system," said Robert Pinsk, M.D., chief of the Department of Radiology at Paoli. "Procedures are completed faster and with less radiation exposure, and patients are on their way to recovery and discharge much sooner."
The Allura's highly flexible flat detector system provides a wide range of viewing angles, easy access to patients and superior detailed images of blood vessels to facilitate more accurate diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease, explained Atul Gupta, M.D., interventional radiologist.
"With the purchase of this enhanced technology and establishment of the interventional radiology lab, Paoli is ensuring that its patients receive state-of-the-art, safe and effective care for a variety of vascular conditions," said Gupta.
Gupta noted that one common interventional radiology procedure, uterine artery embolization, already has proven effective in relieving women of uterine fibroids, the most common cause of surgery in premenopausal woman. The hospital also recently acquired the VNUS Closure® system for varicose veins, a painful and unattractive condition that causes bulging blood vessels in the legs.
Other conditions, such as peripheral vascular disease, are promising candidates for interventional radiology procedures. "Only 25 percent of patients with peripheral vascular disease get any kind of treatment," said Gupta. "Typical symptoms include leg pain when walking, which a lot of people think is a normal part of getting older. We can open up blockages in the leg arteries with angioplasty and restore circulation in an outpatient procedure."
Procedures are completed on an outpatient basis or, in some cases, with an overnight hospital stay. They are generally easier for the patient because they involve no large incisions, less risk, less pain and shorter recovery times than open surgery. General anesthesia usually is not required.
Just as important as the advanced equipment is the staffing of the interventional radiology lab, said Gupta. Interventional radiology physicians at Paoli are board certified and fellowship trained with additional certifications. Nurses have critical-care training and experience in conscious sedation, and the technologists are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Interventional radiology began in the mid 1970s with advances in imaging technology that gave radiologists improved ability to see inside the body. Interventional radiologists invented perhaps the best known interventional radiology procedure—angioplasty, in which a small balloon is threaded through a catheter, guided into a clogged artery and inflated to open the artery.
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