Irish Radiology & Radiography Tour de Force at ECR2016
There was the now traditional strong Irish presence at the 2016 European Congress of Radiology which took place from the 2 – 6 March 2016 in Vienna, Austria. One of the largest European medical conferences, the organising committee, the European Society of Radiology boast over 62,000 members from across Europe and the Mediterranean Countries. The meeting regularly attracts over 20,000 delegates in radiology, radiography and allied sciences. There were over 2,500 oral or poster presentations at the 2016 meeting, many of which were streamed live on the web and recorded for remote viewing.
The UCD Radiography & Diagnostic Imaging were as usual well represented particularly among the Radiographer-specific sessions as befits their standing within the European community. Dr Jonathan McNulty, who is Vice-President of the European Federation of Radiographer Societies, co-chaired a session on enhancing research in radiography and gave a presentation on new collaborations and initiatives within European radiography. This session also featured former president of European Federation of Radiography Societies, Dr Graciano Paulo (Chair of Medical Imaging at Coimbra Health School in Portugal), a long standing collaborator of the UCD group.
Dr Louise Rainford chaired a session on low dose research in medical radiation protection as part of the EuroSafe Imaging initiative. Also during this theme, Dr Shane Foley outlined the implications of the new EU Basic Safety Standard Directive on radiography practice and the radiographer’s role in supporting implementation of this legislation. Ms Nejc Mekiš described research involving UCD, the University of Ljubljiana and Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra on additional copper filtration for adult chest imaging and it's impact on dose and image quality.
It was a busy meeting for Dr Foley who also addressed challenges and opportunities in CT radiation dose optimisation in a special focus session on dose optimisation in this technique and reported on research by Ms Patricia Hogan (final year radiography student) on radiography staff uniforms as vectors for infection.
Indeed a number of our PhD and undergraduate students presented at the conference. Practising radiographer and PhD student, Mr Lee O’Hora described a multi-country research study into patient skin dose in interventional radiology which shows a widespread lack of understanding of dose metrics and tissue reaction trigger values. PhD candidate Ms Wijdan Alomaim gave a presentation on the impact of breast density on radiologist fixation time in mammography.
UCD Medicine student, Ms Sorcha Mullen presented her research done as part of the student summer research initiative on improving recall and awareness of radiation dose levels associated with cardiovascular interventional procedures. This research was undertaken with clinicians and radiographers at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Mater Private Hospital and at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin.
Also presenting her SSRA work, Ms Emma Tuthill (final year medicine student) described investigations of reference levels and radiation dose associated with abdominal endovascular aneurysm repair across several EU centres in Ireland and Italy.
A number of our alumni also presented with UCD Radiography graduate, Ms Réilitín Hayden (currently a final year graduate entry medicine at RCSI) addressing the frequency and relevance of extra-mammary findings on breast MRI. Double UCD graduate from radiography and medicine, Dr Brendan Kelly presented on malignancy risk stratification in multinodular goitre using ultrasound.
Ms Jennifer Grehan opened a session dedicated to the education of radiographers by previewing the continuous professional development considerations for the profession which has recently become subject of formal state registration within Ireland. As if to emphasise the Irish influence, Dr Jonathan McNulty followed Jenny by reporting on an international study of emotional intelligence and academic performance in radiography education. Dr John Stowe described the work of the UCD Radiography & Diagnostic Imaging Group on blending healthcare and educational technologies to enhance radiography healthcare information technology education.
Within a session on quality issues in ultrasound and CT, Ms Michelle O’Connor (Lecturer in Diagnostic Imaging) presented part of her PhD research which looked at visceral adipose tissue quantification in paediatric CT and Mr Abdulaziz Qurashi (PhD Student) outlined his thesis investigations into optimising scan parameters in abdominal CT imaging of obese patients. In the same session, Ms Amy Marie Ward (final year radiography student) discussed a study to investigate equipment quality assurance practices carried out by sonographers in Irish ultrasound departments.
Separately, in a session on optimising CT parameters, Ms O’Connor also presented her thesis findings in respect of noise variations across clinically accepted paediatric body CT scans. She noted that radiologists tolerate up to 5 fold differences in levels of noise measured and highlighted potential for further optimisation. In the same session, Mr Nicola Giannotti (Diagnostic Imaging PhD student) presented some of the software reproducibility challenges associated with using carotid plague PET/CT standardised uptake values as a biomarker for stroke.
The Department of Radiology at St Vincent’s University Hospital were also well represented at the meeting. In an interactive Emergency Radiology session, Prof Jonathan Dodd outlined a series of differential diagnoses in chest trauma clinical cases. Dr Colin Cantwell presented on the classification of cholangiocellular carcinoma (CCC) as part of a special focus session on this bile duct tumour type and Prof Dermot Malone co-chaired a scientific session on chronic liver diseases and primary liver tumours. Dr Caitriona Logan (Radiology, St Vincent’s University Hospital) presented two sequential audits which proposed a three point plan to optimise inferior vena cave (IVC) filter follow-up in the avoidance of pulmonary embolisms in patients who cannot be anti-coagulated.
Likewise from the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dr Michael O’Reilly (2nd year radiology resident) presented the use of high fidelity 3D printed anatomical models of the lower limb for femoral vessel access training in interventional radiology. Dr David Mitchell (Radiology Registrar at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital) gave an oral poster presentation assessing the knowledge of middle cerebral artery anatomy among radiologists involved in the care of acute stroke patients. Dr Robery Gibney described a study of scaphoid imaging with tomosynthesis as an adjunct to radiography. In a video interview with AuntMinnieEurope.com, Prof Leo Lawler described recent changes and challenges in radiology in Ireland including the use of locum radiologists and the impact of the country’s PACS system.
Dr Jonathan Portelli (Assistant Lecturer at University of Malta & UCD Radiography & Diagnostic Imaging PhD candidate) chaired a session on key issues in paediatric imaging and he concluded the contributions of the UCD contingent by giving a presentation on the use of referral guidelines and radiation dose awareness in a session entitled ‘Getting the radiation dose as low as possible’.
As is now commonplace at major international conferences, there was a strong social media presence around ECR2016 with 6,667 tweets from 2,220 participants attracting almost 30 million tweet impressions. Once again, UCD was well represented with both @mcnulty_j and @ucdmedicine appearing within the top 10 by mentions and by tweets. The School's twitter channel (@ucdmedicine) attracted over 430,000 tweet impressions as was in a top 10 list dominated by large equipment suppliers.