New kind of treatment

By Liu Xiangrui| (China Daily )| Updated : 2018-09-16

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Ding Mingchao from the Aerospace Center Hospital in Beijing stares at a screen with images during an interventional peripheral vascular surgery. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Rizhao, in Shandong province, was recently the venue for a key two-day medical conference on a relatively new subject — intervention radiology — which is helping save lives in many difficult cases.

The conference, organized by the Aerospace Center Hospital based in Beijing, has been held five times since 2008.

This year's event was attended by nearly 500 doctors who are engaged in interventional therapy, including more than 100 well-known experts and scholars.

During the conference, nearly 40 academic lectures were delivered by clinical and nursing experts.

The conference aim was to share the experience of interventional therapy in the field of emergency medicine, says Ding Mingchao, executive chairman of the organizing committee and director of the vascular intervention department at the hospital which organized the event.

Interventional therapy is a relatively new subject which combines imaging diagnosis and clinical treatment.

It refers to a series of technologies that, guided and monitored by imaging technologies, send specific equipment to the location of the lesions with the help of puncture needles, tubes and other equipment through the body's natural channel or tiny wounds, to carry out minimally invasive treatment.

Interventional therapy is characterized by less trauma, convenience, safety, effectiveness, less complications and short hospitalization, making it one of the most important treatment methods for some diseases, such as acute and chronic ischemic diseases, hemorrhagic diseases, solid tumors, and venous thromboembolism.

According to Li Xuan, the director of Peking University Third Hospital's department of interventional vascular surgery, who has been one of the pioneers in the field in China, the country has witnessed the significant growth in interventional therapy over the past few decades.

"In the 1980s, it was rare to see a hospital own any equipment for interventional radiology. But nowadays, almost every large and medium-sized hospital in China has machines, and usually the latest ones," says Li.

Interventional therapy is differentiatedinto various subcategories while becoming a major clinical branch.

"The fast growth of the interventional technology lies not in pure technological and equipment innovations, but in the improvements of doctors' concepts and procedures during clinical treatment," says Li, explaining that more physicians and surgeons nowadays regard interventional therapy as a choice over traditional treatments, and such a trend has gradually changed the whole picture of medicine.

According to Ding, emergencies is one of the main areas where interventional therapies are applied, and such applications have greatly contributed to the growth of interventional therapies.

"The greatest charm of interventional therapy is its use in emergencies," says Ding.

"It is an ideal choice to save lives in many urgent cases."

According to Ding, the advantages of interventional therapy suit the needs in urgent situations, especially for those diseases with contraindications or great risks when adopting surgical treatment, or with poor curative effect using internal medicine.

With the development of interventional technologies and materials, interventional therapy has become an extremely important support in emergency treatment, Ding says.

And the conditions range from acute massive hemorrhage, acute occlusive vascular disease and acute inflammation to trauma and removal of intracavitary foreign bodies.

For example, percutaneous coronary intervention, which involves coronary angiography and thrombolytic therapy, has been widely used in clinic to deal with acute myocardial infarction.

And it can greatly reduce the mortality thanks to its convenience and timeliness compared with traditional therapy. According to German expert Karsten Papke, who attended the conference as an invited guest, he is impressed by the progress of China's interventional therapy, especially the development in some sub-specialized fields.

"What we need to do is not to lose contact between those sub-specialties, and also between countries," he says.

Papke, who is from the Bonifatius Hospital in Lingen of Germany, has worked with the Rizhao hospital in recent years to help improve its imaging and workflow.

According to Ding, he hopes the conference can also serve as a platform for Chinese doctors to explore standard procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and severe cases and the implementation of green passes for interventional therapy in emergent cases, as well as explore an optimized interventional care management system in China.

Ding adds that efforts are still being made to turn interventional therapy into an independent discipline in current medical education, which the attending experts believe is crucial for its future development and the nurturing of talent.