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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The interventionalism of medicine: interventional radiology, cardiology, and neuroradiology

Shaheen E Lakhan*, Anna Kaplan, Cyndi Laird and Yaacov Leiter

Author Affiliations

Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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International Archives of Medicine 2009, 2:27  doi:10.1186/1755-7682-2-27

Published: 9 September 2009

Abstract

Interventional medical practitioners are specialists who do minimally invasive procedures instead of surgery or other treatment. Most often, these procedures utilize various imaging and catheterization techniques in order to diagnose and treat vascular issues in the body. Interventionalist techniques, including injecting arteries with dye, visualizing these via x-ray, and opening up blockages, developed from early pioneers' bold and sometimes controversial experiments which aimed to find safer and better ways to treat coronary artery and other atherosclerotic vascular disease. Currently, the major interventional specialties are interventional (or vascular) radiology, interventional cardiology, and endovascular surgical (interventional) neuroradiology. All three are perfecting the use of stents and other procedures to keep diseased arteries open, while also evaluating the application these procedures. The rapid new development of imaging technologies, mechanical devices, and types of treatment, while certainly beneficial to the patient, can also lead to ambiguity regarding specific specialty claims on certain techniques and devices. While these practitioners can be in competition with each other, cooperation and communication are the most advantageous methods to deal with these "turf wars." All of the interventionalists are needed to deliver the best medical care to patients, now and in the future.