Patient Perspectives

Interview conducted by: Abhi Jairam, MS4 – UC Davis School of Medicine
Special thanks to Dr. Vatakencherry and the Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center

Patient perspectives is a series of interviews conducted by medical student members of the patient and family centered care committee of the SIR medical student council. The goal of these interviews is to inform the reader of patient’s experiences as they undergo various IR procedures. We hope that these interviews shed light on the effects that IR physicians and the procedures they perform can have on patient’s lives. We also hope that they answer the questions that some patients and patient’s families may have regarding a potential IR procedure. All personal health information has been removed from the below interview to ensure the anonymity of the interviewed patient.

What procedure did you have done?
I have undergone multiple transarterial chemoembolizations for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Had you ever been treated by an interventional radiologist before?
Prior to meeting receiving this cancer treatment, an interventional radiologist gave me frequent paracenteses for my recurrent ascites.

How did you end up with the interventional radiologist?
My Hepatologist referred me to IR because I was not a candidate for surgical resection or a liver transplant.

What is your understanding of what an interventional radiologist does?
They read images to provide targeted treatments.

How did this change from before your procedure to after?
I learned how extensive and targeted their treatment options could be, especially for those patients with my condition.

How did your medical condition impact your quality of life prior to the procedure?
I really had no issues with my quality of life prior to the procedure. After the procedure, I felt fine with no side effects, which I was also happy about.

Prior to your procedure, did your doctor give you an explanation of the procedure in a manner that was easy to understand?
Yes, it was very well explained.

Did you have any concerns going into your procedure?
No, not really. Everything was very well explained and Dr. Vatakencherry answered all my questions.

What was it like being in the IR suite as a patient?
Apart from the temperature being a little cold, the entire staff treated me extremely well.

What was recovery like?
I stayed overnight my first TACE. I had no side effects, and I appreciated the sandwiches for lunch!

Did you follow up with your interventional radiologist after the procedure?
Yes, Dr. Vatakencherry reviewed the CT and MRI findings with me after the procedure and I continue to follow-up with him every 3 months.

For how long did you follow-up with your interventional radiologist? How many times did you see them?
I have been seeing Dr. Vatakencherry every 3 months since 2016.

Was the patient-physician relationship different than what you are used to? If so, how?
Dr. Vatakencherry and I have of course become much closer over the years. He takes the time to understand every one of my health conditions, not just my cancer, which I appreciate.

Are you happy with the care you received from your interventional radiologist? Is there anything you wish went differently?
I am happy with the care I have been receiving here and do not wish for anything different.

How did your quality of life change as a result of the procedure?
I feel cared for.

Do you have any other thoughts about your experience?
I encourage other patients in my position to ask questions and find a doctor willing to answer all of them.

The SIR medical student council would like to thank the above patient for their time and for sharing their experience.