Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe
OnlineCIRSE Academy coursesIR Management - online coursesPharmacology of IR (CME) – online course

Pharmacology of IR (CME) – online course


Authors: F. Cornelis, A. Cullen and L. Razakamanantsoa

Reviewers: Z. Aldin, T. Bilhim, P. Lohle, C. Nice and C. Sommer

This course corresponds to chapter 2.1.7 Pharmacology of interventional radiology in the European Curriculum and Syllabus for IR.



The practice of interventional radiology (IR) requires knowledge of a number of broad categories of pharmacological agents to ensure the safety and efficiency of the procedures performed. In contrast to traditional surgical disciplines, most IR procedures are performed under moderate sedation and local anaesthetic, sometimes without requiring anaesthesiologists. The ability to prescribe and supervise safe and effective sedation and analgesia is an important part of the interventional radiologist’s role and requires an understanding of their pharmacological properties and the methods of reversal. Managing the coagulation status of patients undergoing percutaneous image-guided interventions is complex because of the wide range of patient demographics, comorbidities and diversity of procedures. Interventional radiologists must understand the principles of anticoagulant and antiplatelet agents to ensure effective peri-procedural management. Infections occurring after an IR procedure are a relatively rare occurrence, however, antibiotic prophylaxis is an important step to avoid such complications. Interventional radiologists must be familiar with current antibiotic prophylaxis indications, potential contraindications and side effects of different classes of antibiotics. Interventional radiologists should be also prepared to recognise any adverse events that may occur following the administration of intravascular contrast media and institute appropriate therapies to manage them. Control of blood pressure is essential to reduce the risk of haemorrhage during interventional procedures and to mitigate postoperative morbidity, particularly in patients of advanced age. Interventional radiologists should know which drugs are suitable to manage peri-procedural hypertension. This module gives an overview of the management of these various medications used in IR and describes their related risks of complications. After completing this module, the reader will be able to identify the options as well as the role of IR.


Learning objectives

At the end of this training, the trainee will understand the indications, contraindications, interactions and side effects of the principal pharmacological agents in common usage in IR, including but not restricted to:

  • Anticoagulants
  • Anaesthesia pharmacology
  • Antibiotics
  • Contrast media, anti-hypertensive and diabetes medications
  • Develop the ability to plan optimal management before, during and after IR procedures
  • Achieve technical competence in anaesthesia and sedation
  • Achieve technical competence in the performance of emergency care
  • Understand the working principles of different medications


Further information

This course covers a basic level of IR knowledge and is designed for trainees, students or young consultants aiming to acquire essential knowledge or prepare for the EBIR exam. Thereby, it is tailored to the European Curriculum and Syllabus for IR and corresponds to chapter 2.1.7 Pharmacology of interventional radiology.

The format of the course is interactive and easy to use, including texts, graphics and a quiz to support your learning. The course duration is around one and a half hours and is accredited by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) to award 1 European CME credit (ECMEC). The CME accreditation for this course will expire on March 30, 2025. A non-CME accredited version of the course will remain available for two more years.

The acquired CME Certificate will be available in the myCIRSE area under CIRSE Academy.

The enrolment period of this course is linked to the validity of the All-Access Pass.

Release date: March 2023