01.03.2018 Interventional radiology can save lives –
cardiovascular disease in the crosshairs

Dr. Christian Loewe

38,000 Austrians die of cardiovascular disease each year. Interventional radiology and interventional cardiology can save lives – particularly when it comes to heart attacks and strokes. And to give young doctors a practical insight into the latest advances, the European Congress of Radiology will be focusing on these particular subspecialties from 28 February to 4 March at the Austria Center Vienna.  

“43% of all deaths in Austria are accounted for by people who die of heart attacks or failure of the cardiovascular system. Affecting more than 38,000 Austrians each year, they remain the most common cause of death in the country. But it does not have to be this way, as interventional radiology can help in many cases and save people’s lives,” confirmed Dr Christian Loewe, Head of the Division of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology at Vienna General Hospital. 

Radiology as a new way to treat vascular conditions

Most people are aware of the work done by radiology as a diagnostic discipline. However, over the course of the past 15 years, interventional radiology has made huge strides and is now used to successfully treat vascular blockages, strokes and even cancer. Such treatments require only minimal incisions, and procedures are conducted using X-ray imaging in various ways, primarily through the cardiovascular system. “This minimally-invasive approach reduces the burden placed on patients compared with open surgery, and it enables us to treat patients who would otherwise be ruled out. Aorta diseases are the best example.  In this particular case, operations are a major undertaking that not all patients can be exposed to. For patients like this, interventional radiology offers a minimally invasive, precise, targeted and less physically stressful alternative to conventional methods,” Loewe added.  

Heart attacks and strokes could become less threatening
Austria is especially well placed when it comes to interventional treatment of acute heart infarction. This procedure involves using interventional methods to open the blocked blood vessel causing the infarction. Over the past five years, interventional radiology has successfully used acute radiological treatment following certain types of strokes to extract blockages and dramatically reduce the damage they do. “If patients come to us very soon after the symptoms first emerge, they can go on with their lives with virtually no long-term consequences,” Loewe noted.

Viennese flagship project leads the way for stroke care
To help win the fight against time more often, a special programme was introduced in Vienna in 2017 under which responsibility for stroke therapy for the capital’s citizens was consolidated at three dedicated centres – Vienna General Hospital, the Rudolfsstiftung and the Krankenhaus der Barmherzigen Brüder. Neurologists and interventional radiologists are available at these centres, and paramedics and emergency rooms know which centre is on standby on which days. 

Interactive focus at the ECR
And since interventional radiology is becoming more and more important all the time, the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) is dedicating a special showroom, the Cube, to the topic this year. “We hope that it will provide young doctors with little-to-no experience of interventional radiology an insight into this fascinating subspecialty. Simulated procedures, interactive demonstrations, presentations of new innovations and other interactive challenges give them a hands-on experience,” said Loewe introducing the new interventional event, which is the largest of its kind ever to take place at the ECR

Press release
Christian Loewe © ESR- European Society of Radiology, Sebastian Kreuzberger
Susanne Baumann-Söllner (IAKW-AG) and Peter Baierl (ESR) © ESR – European Society of Radiology, Sebastian Kreuzberger
Konrad Friedrich (ESR), Susanne Baumann-Söllner (IAKW-AG), Peter Baierl (ESR) © ESR – European Society of Radiology, Sebastian Kreuzberger

About IAKW-AG 
Internationales Amtssitz- und Konferenzzentrum Wien, Aktiengesellschaft (IAKW-AG) is responsible for maintaining the Vienna International Centre (VIC) and operating the Austria Center Vienna (ACV). The Austria Center Vienna is Austria’s largest conference centre, with 24 halls, 180 meeting rooms, and some 22,000m² of exhibition space, and is one of the top players on the international conference circuit. Visit www.acv.at for additional information.

IAKW-AG – Austria Center Vienna
Claudia Reis
Press Officer
Tel: +43-676 3199-523
Email: claudia.reis@acv.at