About us

After a long year with 3 waves of COVID we are now hopefully nearing the end with vaccinations of vulnerable patients and staff taking place. Interventional Radiology has acquitted itself extremely well during the COVID pandemic with many units continuing to treat patients in high numbers throughout this time. Those who have been most successful are the units with dedicated IR beds and IR day units enabling a COVID safe environment.

We cannot however be complacent. Variants of CV19 have emerged with higher infection rates and reportedly higher mortality. The UK government has taken the decision to delay the second dose of the vaccine. This includes hospital staff. This means a reduced efficacy; therefore, it remains vital that we adhere to guidelines on the use of PPE. Our advice for the use of FFP3 respirators and eye protection which we produced in March 2020 still stands. Consideration should also now be given to the more widespread use of these higher levels of protection with the emergence of new types of CV19. There is no national shortage of PPE.

Vaccinations:

We fully endorse the following statement from the Academy of Medical Colleges:

The Academy sincerely hopes that everyone for whom the vaccine is suitable is vaccinated, for their own benefit and to protect the health of those who are vulnerable.

The Academy fully endorses the GMC guidance that doctors should be immunised against common serious communicable diseases, unless this is contraindicated as set out in Good Medical Practice (Paragraph 29).

The need for doctors to act as exemplars and do all they can to ensure they protect themselves and avoid spreading COVID-19 to patients or colleagues means that unless there are good reasons why it is not personally appropriate, doctors should be vaccinated.

Where personal circumstances mean it is not possible to be vaccinated, individual healthcare professionals should seek advice from their supervisors on ensuring they remain adequately protected.

In the same way, doctors and other healthcare professionals have a duty to maintain the highest standards in terms of infection control ensuring they meet IPC and social distancing requirements as far as is practical in clinical and social settings.

 

Vaccination of patients awaiting procedures:

Minor systemic effects may occur within 24-48hrs post vaccination, Fever is uncommon after the first dose but may occur in about 15% after the 2nd dose. It would therefore, be reasonable to delay any non-urgent procedures for a few days post vaccination, so that any systemic symptoms are not attributed to a complication of the procedure.

Details of vaccination side effects:

Some IR procedures have a significant ‘traumatic’ effect similar to surgery. The highest mortality occurs in the over 70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable. It would be sensible for patients undergoing major elective IR procedures such as EVAR, SIRT, TACE, TIPSS to be vaccinated pre procedure where possible.

Summary:

  1. Consider more procedures performed as day cases where it is safe to do so.
  2. Be aware of more contagious variants of CV19 and consider higher use of FFP3 respirator masks.
  3. Encourage staff vaccination within your department.
  4. Consider patient vaccination prior to major IR procedures.

Dr Phil Haslam (BSIR Vice President)

Dr Ian McCafferty (BSIR President)