Patient Perspectives

Interview conducted by: Jacob Underwood MS4
Special thanks to Dr. Van Meter

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 had two Y90 treatments for cancer that had spread to both sides of my liver.

Had you ever been treated by an interventional radiologist before?
I had not. This was my first experience with that, I had never heard of interventional radiology before I had this procedure.

How did you end up with the interventional radiologist?
Actually, I went to the emergency room for some problems I was having with my esophagus. They helped me clear that up but I also found out I had cancer during that visit and was referred to an oncologist. My oncologist referred me to interventional radiology.

What is your understanding of what an interventional radiologist does?
Basically, my understanding of how they do this procedure is they went through my blood vessels, using a small tube, up into my liver and injected radioactive material which killed off the bad cells but kept the good cells. I’m not really familiar with any other procedures that interventional radiologists do.

How did this change from before your procedure to after?
Well, I had never heard about interventional radiology or Y90 before this, so it definitely made me more aware.

How did your medical condition impact your quality of life prior to the procedure?
I actually had zero symptoms before and after the procedure. I had no idea I had cancer until I went to the emergency room.

Prior to your procedure, did your doctor give you an explanation of the procedure in a manner that was easy to understand?

Did you have any concerns going into your procedure?
No, I did not. Not after that visit.

What was it like being in the IR suite as a patient?
It was really different from anything I’ve ever experienced but nothing I wasn’t expecting. The nurses and staff were all really nice and when I went into the room I had a chance to visit with the doctor so I really had no worries whatsoever. When they first put me under it was kind of a “twilight sleep”; I never did go completely out. I did move a little bit during the procedure and they asked me to stay still. When I came back for another treatment I requested to be put out completely because I was worried about moving, which they did. I kind of regretted that though because I recovered much faster the time I was conscious.

What was recovery like?
I went in for three total procedures. One for the mapping procedure and then twice for the Y90. I was a little sleepy and I had to lay on my back for about 3 hours to make sure that I didn’t bleed from the blood vessel they went into. I actually felt back to my normal self by the end of the day on each occasion.

Did you follow up with your interventional radiologist after the procedure?
Yes, he went over several things with my wife and I right after the procedure. Then he checked up on me several times in the weeks after that over the phone.

For how long did you follow-up with your interventional radiologist? How many times did you see them?
I saw him for several months, once for that first consultation and then three more times for the treatments following that.

Was the patient-physician relationship different than what you are used to? If so, how?
I would give it an “A+”. The whole experience was very professional, timely… our expectations were met and the outcome was great. I’ve actually been through some surgeries before and there was a delay getting me onto the schedule for the operation or something else that made it a less than perfect experience. With the interventional radiologist everything seemed to go as planned.

Are you happy with the care you received from your interventional radiologist? Is there anything you wish went differently?
I don’t believe so. I really couldn’t be happier.

How did your quality of life change as a result of the procedure?
I didn’t have any symptoms before or after the procedure but I’m hopeful that this improves my life in the long run. From what I understand this procedure was successful in taking out all of the cancer. There are a few “spots” still on my liver but they are inactive so I’m hoping it stays that way because of this procedure.

Do you have any other thoughts about your experience?
I don’t think so, I think that should do it.

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