Interventional Radiology Hits Milestone of 1,000 Patients Treated
St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s (SLCH) interventional radiology suite, opened in October 2008, reached a milestone of 1,000 patients in December 2010. That number outpaced projections for the service, which grew 40 percent between its first and second years.
“It’s been gratifying for all the interventional radiologists and team members to see the acceptance of our capabilities by other Children’s Hospital services, as well as the acknowledgement of the added value we bring to the care of pediatric patients,” says Jim Duncan, MD, PhD, interventional radiologist with the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology.
A factor contributing to the success of interventional radiology at SLCH is the ability to offer more routine procedures like peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) placement and abscess drainage along with new, more complex procedures.
“Among the new procedures we’ve adopted are image-guided biopsies and treatment of venous blood clots,” says Dr. Duncan. “We also can treat children with appendicitis, draining the infection through an incision rather than having patients on long-term antibiotics or undergoing major surgery. Patients can quickly turn around with this type of treatment.”
Integral to the SLCH’s interventional radiology suite is a recording system that allows physicians to document procedures from start to finish. The capability provides valuable insight for physicians into how they may improve their techniques and approaches to procedures. A recent improvement to the system is the ability to track the amount of radiation being used midway through procedures. It allows physicians to pinpoint at what points during their procedures they were able to reduce radiation usage and hopefully duplicate those actions in the future.
“The recording system also acts as a safety check for us,” says Dr. Duncan. “We regularly monitor whether we are taking time to complete our safety checklist prior to beginning our procedures. If we are not, then we know what areas to work on.”
Another major advantage of the interventional radiology service at SLCH is its accessibility, says Melissa Fitzpatrick, RT(R). “We are available 24 hours a day and on weekends, which is an importance convenience for our referring physicians,” she says. “And this is a suite dedicated to children, which means pediatric anesthesiologists, nurses and technicians—even the appropriate supplies—are all close at hand.”
Interventional radiology accepts referrals from both in-house and community physicians. For additional information, contact Children’s Direct at 800.678.4357 or Childrens_Direct@bjc.org.