Interventional radiology is robust and active Down Under


The 2009 Interventional Radiology Society of Australasia (IRSA) scientific meeting was held at Hamilton Island, Queensland from July 5–10. IRSA has over 230 members in Australia and New Zealand and is affiliated with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists.

“The IRSA meeting is unique, combining an excellent scientific content with a family friendly environment where delegates are encouraged to bring partners and children every second year. Alternate years are a more typical interventional radiology meeting, similar but much smaller than CIRSE or SIR,” said James Burnes, IRSA president.

He told Interventional News that interventional radiology in Australia and New Zealand is a subspeciality operating along similar grounds to that in Europe. “There are a number of full-time interventional radiologists working in the larger teaching and private hospitals in both countries, with many radiologists performing varying degrees of intervention in their day to day practice. Those performing full-time interventional radiology generally work along similar clinical lines to their European counterparts, with dedicated patient consulting and review sessions, however these would be the minority or interventional radiologists in Australia and New Zealand. There is a robust fellowship programme available in most capital cities of Australia and in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland in New Zealand,” he said.

Burnes emphasised that “Like our European and American counterparts there is often keen competition from our non-radiology colleagues for procedures, particularly in the field of peripheral vascular intervention, however areas such as interventional oncology continue to grow at a rapid rate. Interventional radiologists are well accepted by our medical colleagues, but it would be fair to say that the general public lack much understanding of what we do. I am sure we are not alone in Australia in this regard,” he added.

Some key messages from the meeting came out in the area of IVC filter placement in trauma patients. “It clearly emerged that there is a need for a robust database of all patients to allow tracking and facilitate filter removal. There is a reduced incidence pulmonary embolism and death from pulmonary embolism in selected trauma patients receiving IVC filters and an increased risk of PE in trauma patients sustaining significant lower limb and/or pelvic fractures compared with those without significant lower limb or pelvic trauma,” said Dr Burnes. Two other areas that were a focus of the meeting were the increasing role for interventional radiology in treatment of malignancy and treatment of limb threatening ischaemia.

The scientific presentations included a number of lively debates comprising expert panelists, a film review session as well as scientific papers and reviews. There were also a number of sessions aimed at the basics of interventional radiology. The meeting benefitted from renowned international speakers Ziv J Haskal, professor of radiology and vascular and interventional radiology at the University of Maryland Medical Centre trials, H Bob Smouse, assistant professor of radiology and surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and David J Breen, clinical director of radiology at Southampton University Hospitals, UK, Thomas Jahnke, and SC Wang, from Sydney.

The 2010 IRSA scientific meeting will be held in Queenstown, New Zealand, from August 29- September 2.