IR videos, a few clicks away


The internet, so fundamental to our lives, is teeming with videos. There are videos of common and not-so-common IR procedures, explanations and justification for controversial studies and trials, and also videos of physicians advocating for the subspecialty itself. There are videos for patients, for fellow IRs and also educational videos for younger IRs. Interventional News spoke to some key IRs and found out why these internet videos are so important, and why it is vital that they are monitored.

Internet videos showing IR procedures are available, literally at your fingertips. Key audiences (IR physicians seeking information about new or difficult procedures, non-IR physicians who want to understand what IR has to offer, medical students, patients who are looking for alternatives to traditional therapy or information about procedures that they will undergo, hospital administrators who need to learn what IR does, insurers, government regulators, and politicians) will at some point, turn to the internet for help. And there is a lot to find — right from short clips from the ‘Father of interventional radiology’, Charles  C Dotter’s 1965 film “Transluminal angioplasty”, in which he introduces the concept of angioplasty, to videos where interventionalists appear to describe a procedure, only to actually promote new and untested products.

A picture is a thousand words and a video is a thousand pictures

John Kaufman, associate director, Dotter Interventional Institute and chief, Vascular and Interventional Radiology, Oregon Health & Science University Hospital told Interventional News what would draw him to watching videos made by his colleagues. “We are all craftspeople, and each of us develops a specific and different way of accomplishing the same goal. I can always learn from my colleagues. Besides, it is one thing to hear someone describe how they do something; it is another thing entirely to see it for yourself,” he said.

Konstantinos Katsanos adds, “Digitisation of radiological images and procedural videos has produced a wealth of teaching files storming the internet. Online resources include digital image files, lecture web-casts, online conferences or just interesting everyday cases. The vast majority of this educational material is usually available free of charge to your laptop or mobile smart-phone and is poised to play a major role in continued lifelong training of physicians ranging from student to resident and attending or consultant level.”

Katsanos believes that video recordings of interventional radiology procedures are set to play a major role in the dissemination of knowledge among involved practitioners and interested patients. “A picture is a thousand words and a video is a thousand pictures. Internet videos of novel, interesting, complicated or just routine IR cases are unique in demonstrating the key elements, tips and tricks of interventional techniques, which remain the essence of the IR discipline. Looking at colleagues’ video cases is not just fun, but extremely educational,” he maintains.

Dimitrios K Filippiadis, consultant interventional radiologist,  Evgenidion University Hospital, Athens, Greece agrees: He says “It is vital to remember that interventional radiology is a technique-oriented field. Even though there are guidelines pertaining to technique, each interventionalist when he carries out a procedure adds his own personal touch. I am certain that by means of internet videos on how a procedure is performed, interventional radiology can assist the growing number of interventionalists globally to expand and improve their standards.”

Filippiadis also points out that by closely watching a video where an IR procedure is performed, one can appreciate not only details on the technique itself and the imaging modality used, but also how interventionalists in different countries act inside their own suites and how they work and collaborate with their own teams.”


Unregulated patient videos, a cause for concern


While interventionalists almost unanimously accept that the internet is a fantastic medium via which to take their message to their patients, many are expressing concern about the rather unregulated nature of the videos.

Kaufman says, “Well-done videos that are designed for patients can be enormously important for this specialty. However, it would be best to provide these videos in a regulated manner so that patients can be comfortable about the quality and reliability of the information in the video.

“The quality of the content on the internet is essential but very hard to ensure. Anyone can post anything. Physicians posting videos of their procedures should adhere to the same ethical standards as any other scientific publication. The goal is to promote IR procedures from which patients will benefit, not to promote IR or IRs,” he says.

Filiappiadis concurs. “Patients who have already decided on an IR procedure as their therapy mode, could watch a video and this may reduce his/her fear of the unknown. But I must emphasise on the quality of the information provided. From a patient’s point of view, less-than ideal quality level of the provided information is simply not acceptable. So patients and others should be urged to visit specific patient and public websites of the major interventional societies like CIRSE or SIR for reliable content.”

The respondents also pointed out that while e-learning could help young interventionalists to gain exposure to basic or advanced procedural techniques before actual practice, and appreciate the involved risks and treatment of potential complications, it misses the invaluable person-to-person mentoring, the value of which cannot be overstressed. “Therefore, use of online resources should always be considered in the context of real-life training and hard work,” they said.