Patients experience high anxiety before an interventional radiology procedure, yet no consensus guidelines exist to address its assessment or management. A Wayne State University School of Medicine student is trying to change that.
“The vast majority of research that has been done regarding patient anxiety has been done in other specialties and may not be applicable to the unique peri-procedural setting of interventional radiology. My research, therefore, sought to elucidate interventional radiologists’ current views regarding pre-procedural patient anxiety assessment and management,” said Arif Musa, a medical student in the Class of 2022.
Interventional radiology is a specialty founded in the 1960s by Charles Dotter, M.D., who invented angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent first used to treat peripheral arterial disease. Today, interventional radiologists perform minimally invasive, image-guided treatment of medical conditions that once required open surgery.
Musa is part of a team that surveyed the membership of the Society of Interventional Radiology last year. The more than 1,000 survey respondents described pre-procedural anxiety as important for their practice and important for the patient – and also a barrier to the delivery of health care.
“However, 88% of our responses did not formally assess their patients’ anxiety. Respondents preferred a variety of strategies to reduce anxiety in their patients, including patient education, anxiety medication and empathetic communication. Importantly, radiologists were given the greatest amount of responsibility to address their patients’ anxiety, but radiology nurses and patients were also given sizeable responsibility,” he said.
He presented the findings at the Michigan Society of Interventional Radiology’s quarterly meeting, held April 17 in Northville.
The podium presentation, “Views of pre-procedural anxiety assessment and management according to interventional radiologists: a survey of the SIR Membership,” revealed that high amounts of anxiety can increase intra-procedural pain and require more sedative administration and opiate consumption. High levels of anxiety can also negatively impact the results of the procedure.
Musa has collected several honors for the project this year, including the 2019 Michigan Society of Interventional Radiology Medical Student Research Award; Society of Interventional Radiology Medical Student Travel Scholarship; Society of Interventional Radiology Dr. Constantin Cope Medical Student Research Award; WSU Medical Student Research Symposium Clinical Research Section first place; and Detroit Medical Center QuESST Symposium Medical Student Research Poster Award first place.
“Our research has been described by several judges at these conferences as a novel approach to addressing a current hot topic in interventional radiology – pre-procedural patient anxiety,” Musa said.
“Interventional radiology is unique because the patients scheduled for procedures are most often given sedation rather than anesthesia, which means that their anxiety levels prior to the procedure greatly influence the outcome.”
WSU Assistant Professor of Radiology Maysoon Al-Hihi, M.D., is one of several physicians who contributed to Musa’s project.
“As my chair Dr. Hani Abujudeh says, 'In my radiology practice, I make it a priority to specifically gauge the individual level of patients’ anxiety when interviewing them before interventional procedures. I do believe pre-procedural anxiety plays a major role in procedures outcomes and patients’ satisfaction,'” she said.