PGIMER, Chandigarh today boasts of some of the finest facilities available globally in radiology, with advanced technology and state of the art equipment in place to diagnose and treat patients, finds Priya Yadav of Elets News Network (ENN) while speaking to Dr N Khandelwal, Professor and Head of Department of Radiology, PGIMER, Chandigarh.
Radiology has come a long way from being an occasional diagnostic tool to an essential one in treatment of a large number of diseases. Almost every other patient coming to the hospital in PGIMER requires radiological intervention at some stage of the treatment.
Dr Naveen Kalra, a radiologist at the institute, said, “There has been an immense advancement in diagnostic tools like MRI, CT Scan. We are now able to do volume imaging – multipanel Sections—you can do very thin sections as thin as .5 mm. This was not possible earlier.
Now we are able to do intervention radiology which allows us to introduce a catheter through a pin hole under image guidance. We can do endovascular intervention where through a small hole we access a vessel, go all the way up to the area of pathology using guide wires, stent can be put – you can put treating agents directly to the site. We are working in tandem with other departments, hepatology, surgery, nephrology, oncology, urology. Intervention oncology is big.”
Dr Khandelwal says radiology allows you to put in needles and burn tumors and guide where to target micro invasive therapy. “We are able to target the focus area of abnormality and leave the normal area. Way forward is Picture Archiving and Communication System- kind of radiology information system where everything will be digitalised.
“What we want will go into back up – reports will be available online – people won’t have to keep running around for reports,” he said, adding: “We are doing coronary radiology for predicting the status of heart vessels – their narrowing and what kind of intervention is required. This has brought down the number of angiographies being done, as now only those are done where stent needs to be placed.”
PGI also has irreversible electroporation facility, one of its kind in the country. This is the means of burning tumors inside – even if you have a vessel close to it only the tumor is affected and the surrounding normal tissues are not damaged. Tracing the journey of radiology, Dr Khandelwal said: “Since 80s we used to have conventional X-rays but now technology is on a different path. What is available on a global-level is also available in PGI. The kind of CT scan, MRI, is of global standard. There is a sea change in diagnostic tools – huge impact on the overall morbidity and mortality and cost on economy.
“If you can diagnose a disease at early stage – your hospital stay decreases so does cost on treatment. We are diagnosing things at early stage. The flip side is that more and more investigations are done now. In the case of a patient coming with a cough, earlier X-ray of chest was adequate but now we will also do CT.”
The component where we were lacking was digitisation—whatever data we are generating we were not being able to take its advantage. But now the concept of radiology is changing fast – patient management will have a huge impact – the patients’ harassment will end – this movement across the hospital for the same job will reduce, patient sitting at home will get a sms about his report and he will not have to come again – it will go directly to the physician . Major advantage will be for long distance patients who will be able to access the report online.”
This huge data was also not being used for research purpose for not being digitised. Now this will happen. The other good point is dealing with shortage of radiologist — we can have community radiology. Mobile outreaching programme — patients at high risk are not going to come to you but we have to reach out to them. In the city, we also proposed to cover four corners of the city – ultrasound and X-ray can be provided on mobile vehicle and the whole city will have e-radiology with all reports digitised. To have a smart city tag, this would be smartest to have.