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Feature: SIR 2018 highlights 

04-18-2018 10:22

IR world celebrates the specialty at SIR 2018 annual meeting

Spring 2018 (preview) 

SIR 2018 mirrored the field’s accelerating growth, and the diversity, energy and commitment of the IR community could be felt throughout the Los Angeles Convention Center. The research-driven scientific programming, wide array of valuable workshops, and new products and services on display in the Expo combined to showcase the dynamic nature of the specialty.

The society thanks the Annual Meeting Committee, faculty, volunteers, corporate supporters, attendees and all others who made the meeting such a historic success.

Here are some highlights from the research presented (read more on or at the links below):

  • Freezing the nerve that carries hunger signals to the brain may help patients with mild to moderate obesity lose weight.
  • Geniculate artery embolization may significantly reduce pain and improve range of motion in patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis. 
  • Interactive virtual reality can bring medical images to life on screen, showing interventional radiologists a patient’s unique internal anatomy to help physicians effectively prepare and tailor their approach to complex treatments, such as splenic artery aneurysm repair.
  • A relatively inexpensive 3-D-printed model of a patient’s blood vessels may be as effective as current commercially available models for training medical students in interventional radiology vascular access. 

The workshop program featured 67 different case-based and hands-on workshops on a wide range of timely topics throughout the IR domain.

The program of Compelling Conversations, located at SIR Central in the Expo, continued to draw large crowds with discussions on such topics as practice building, the new ABR Online Longitudinal Assessment, the International Giveback Project and more.

The SIR International Scholarship Program hosted 15 new scholars from China, Columbia, Egypt, India, Iraq, Italy, Mauritius, Nigeria and Spain. This program provides grants that enable physicians within 10 years of completion of training who are practicing outside North America an opportunity to attend the SIR Annual Scientific Meeting.


Read much more SIR 2018 session previews and live coverage on the digital version of the show daily, SIR Today, at, or click the titles below to read the full versions of the articles.

Programs spread the word about IR opportunity, diversity

IAMIR was created in 2017 to help physicians inspire interest in interventional radiology, particularly among underrepresented minority and women medical students. IAMIR also draws attention to the extraordinary breadth of IR’s clinical and research capabilities while showcasing the way it leads patient-centric care.

IAMIR materials provide basic information about interventional radiology along with testimonials from career interventional radiologists about the rewards of an IR career. These stories are also found on video interviews available on SIR’s YouTube channel and other social media.


WHO, WHAT, WHERE: SIR Gold Medalists

This year, SIR Today saluted each of the 2018 Gold Medalists with a look at their outstanding careers, asking them to describe an important person, place or thing that shaped his or her life and career. Click the names below to read their answers.


Dotter Lecture: Fearless innovation, bold creativity continue to drive IR’s success

Beginning with the rendering of the first known arteriogram in 1896, the long road to the establishment of interventional radiology as the distinct specialty it is today was paved by a long list of pioneering and persistent visionaries, many of whom found themselves initially dismissed—often ridiculed—by the mainstream medical community. Indeed, the man known today as the “father of interventional radiology,” Dr. Charles T. Dotter, was no stranger to that treatment and found himself dubbed “Crazy Charlie” by some for his ideas, said SIR Past-president Timothy P. Murphy, MD, FSIR, when he delivered the 34th Annual Dr. Charles T. Dotter Lecture, “Still Crazy After All These Years.”

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Trainees discuss the promise of IR that drew them to the field

The past and future of interventional radiology shared the stage during the “IR EVOLUTION” plenary session, including a retrospective on the history of the specialty and the pioneers who laid the groundwork for where IR is today and presentations from early career IRs and trainees who discussed the reasons they were drawn to the specialty. It culminated with a discussion on the evolving professional identity of the interventional radiologist.

The next generation of IRs was well represented at SIR 2018 with more than 1,000 trainees in attendance, including approximately 400 medical students. Among those future leaders of the specialty are Funmilola Oladini, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, who just matched to the Stanford Interventional Radiology Residency Program, and Erica Alexander, MD, an R2 radiology resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Oladini and Dr. Alexander shared some of their reasons for selecting interventional radiology as their career.


Scientific Program Chair Nadine Abi-Jaoudeh, MD, FSIR, describes plans for SIR 2019

The latest addition to the Annual Meeting Committee, 2019 Scientific Program Chair Nadine Abi-Jaoudeh, MD, FSIR, has been to every SIR annual meeting since her first in 2006, when she was a PGY-4. She has presented, moderated and served on several committees at those meetings.

This year, in addition to her usual meeting workload, she watched SIR 2018 with a careful eye toward the 2019 scientific program.

Looking ahead, Dr. Abi-Jaoudeh said that she wanted to help increase visibility at the meeting for women and underrepresented minorities while making sure research and basic-science abstracts have a prominent place in the meeting. She also wants to highlight the work of junior faculty.


Q&A with SIR President M. Victoria Marx, MD, FSIR

SIR President M. Victoria Marx, MD, FSIR, is professor of clinical radiology, residency program director, and vice chair for education in the Department of Radiology at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California (USC).

Dr. Marx has played a critical role in the evolution of IR training from fellowship to residency while maintaining an active clinical practice and educational role at USC.

She was the first IR fellow at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University in St. Louis and the IR section chief at the University of Michigan before moving to California.

Before SIR 2018 started, Dr. Marx talked with SIR Today about the society and interventional radiology.


Women in IR Section works to increase visibility, leadership roles

The Women in IR Section (WIR) looks to continue growing in 2018 and beyond.

WIR, which promotes women in the specialty by providing the tools and inspiration to reach professional and personal goals, will strive to increase the group’s visibility and membership in the coming year, said Barbara Nickel Hamilton, MD, WIR chair.

One of the primary goals of the section has been to increase the participation of women in interventional radiology meeting sessions as speakers and moderators. Speaking at national meetings is essential for building a professional reputation and career promotion, and women have historically been underrepresented at national meetings. A speakers bureau was established that maintains a list of qualified and capable speakers as well as their areas of expertise. Under the leadership of Meridith J. Englander, MD, FSIR, immediate past chair of the section, significant improvements in benchmarks have been realized two years into this initiative. WIR serves as a resource to meeting coordinators to match women speakers into appropriate sessions.


Stroke Course participants get experience in CT perfusion imaging

SIR 2018’s “The Stroke Course” included the latest cutting-edge training based on the most recent trials in the field.

This year’s sessions included a new hands-on training segment for CT perfusion imaging based on new data. Martin Radvany, MD, FSIR, University of Arkansas for Medical Science, said that the results of CT perfusion imaging trials that were announced at the International Stroke Conference in January provided a new paradigm for treating patients within the 6- to 24-hour time window.

“We added a whole segment to teach people how to process these images themselves so they really understand the pitfalls and how to use this technology properly to achieve the best results for patients,” said Dr. Radvany, a co-coordinator for the 2018 Stroke Course along with Venu Vadlamudi, MD.

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Life on “the other side of the glass” teaches empathy lessons to all

James G. Caridi, MD, FSIRalways thought of himself as a “blue-collar doctor”—someone from the Northeast and a family with no medical experience who loved Rocky Balboa, had a close relationship with his patients and a focus on patient care.

Then, in August 2011, he was diagnosed with myeloma.

“On the other side of the glass, it is very, very different," he said. "I thought I was a good blue-collar doctor until I went on the other side of the glass and saw how much I was leaving behind.” Read the full article for his 13 tips on maintaining focus on the patient amid the procedure


Plenary explores AI’s expanding role in radiology

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning may concern many in the medical world, but the speakers at the final plenary of SIR 2018 said that the technological advances will help improve patient care and expand care to people around the world lacking access.

A trio of presenters from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford University Medical Center talked about the impact of machine learning and AI on medicine during the plenary “Big data, Watson, and why your diagnostic colleagues may not have jobs in 10 years.” 


Proper precautions, common sense can allay exposure concerns for pregnant IRs

The risk associated with radiation exposure is a legitimate occupational concern for interventional radiologists. For women IRs who are pregnant, that concern takes on a heightened significance and might actually be a factor in why a comparatively low percentage of women opt for a career in interventional radiology, according to Christine E. Ghatan, MD, of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

“For women who are pregnant, the list of dos and don’ts is very long; however, the messages women receive are not always evidence-based,” Dr. Ghatan said. “Fears of radiation are pervasive, and even physicians have been shown to overestimate the teratogenic risk of exposure to medical radiation.”


Latest match day results show residency training momentum

The transition of interventional radiology from diagnostic radiology subspecialty into a primary specialty is well underway and gaining momentum.

A lot of that momentum is coming from the growing residency training programs as IR gains its place as its own primary medical specialty. Friday, March 16, was the third match day for medical students applying for integrated interventional radiology residencies.

Applications for IR residency started four years ago. In that time, the number of accredited integrated residency programs has increased to 75. On March 16, 136 integrated IR training spots were offered, and 136 spots were filled. That’s an increase from 125 integrated IR training spots in 2017, with the competition for those spots becoming even more competitive, said SIR President M. Victoria (Vicki) Marx, MD, FSIR, member of the Radiology Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), former chair of the IR Residency Task Force and associate director of the IR residency program at the University of Southern California.


Musculoskeletal opportunities expanding in IR

Shifting demographics make this a perfect time for interventional radiologists to add musculoskeletal (MSK) procedures to their practice.

The population of the United States and Canada is aging. Kieran J. Murphy, MD, FSIR, FRCPC, from University Health Network Toronto, said that most of the patients he sees are older than 70.

“Many of these people have very healthy brains but their spines are letting them down,” said Dr. Murphy, who has been teaching spine techniques for almost a quarter century and invented many devices used today. “They’re determined to stay well and healthy. It’s a very rewarding thing to do in terms of technology. There are really exciting things happening.”


Training changes will bring changes to entire workforce

The start of the new IR Residency has created a lot of excitement, but now that the program has begun, more are considering the realities that come with change. And those training changes will impact all IRs, according to those who’ve helped developed the new training paradigm and other IR leaders.

Interventional radiologists practicing in academic centers may have a better understanding of the intricacies of the new integrated and independent residencies that will eventually replace fellowships, said Saher S. Sabri, MD, FSIR, Medstar Washington Hospital Center. Other types of practices haven’t experienced the changes first-hand but they will once the first groups of residents complete the new training program.

“We spent a lot of time on the nuts and bolts and details about how to train IRs and getting the programs ready to train them, but now we have to prepare the job market to receive them,” said Dr. Sabri, a co-coordinator of Monday morning’s “IR/DR–Developing our future leaders” categorical course.

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