Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe
PublicationsCIRSE InsiderA CIRSE student’s experience

A CIRSE student’s experience

July 14, 2023

Alexander Necula, a fourth-year medical student and CIRSE student ambassador, wrote to us to share his experiences with CIRSE and the Student Internship Programme, through which he found an internship at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

CIRSE is an incredible organization with amazing professionals and has greatly enriched my academic journey, and I am delighted to share my experience as a student and ambassador within CIRSE and its Student Programme. I am currently in my fourth year as a medical student at “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and over the last couple of years I have developed a profound interest in interventional radiology.

At the end of my first year of medical school, I had a transformative encounter with IR while doing a summer internship at the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Institute in Cluj-Napoca, where I had the opportunity of assisting in TACE procedures. Under the guidance of Dr. Mihai Comsa, I was introduced to the “nuts and bolts” of IR, which sparked a deep curiosity in me for this field of medicine. Later on, I learned about CIRSE from radiology residents and senior students who spoke highly of their previous experiences at the annual CIRSE congress.

Intrigued and eager to learn more, I started exploring the opportunities that CIRSE provides for students. It was during this time that I came across the student internship programme. I applied for it at the end of my second year of medical school, recognizing it as a valuable opportunity to enhance my knowledge and gain hands-on experience in IR procedures. It was with great pleasure that I received the news of being accepted into my first-choice hospital, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

With Dr. Rafael Duran in the angiosuite at CHUV, Lausanne at the end of my CIRSE internship in 2021.
Me at CIRSE 2022 in Barcelona, Spain.
With Dr. Andrei Roman in the CT Scan Room at the Oncology Institute, Cluj-Napoca – a truly great mentor in percutaneous procedures.

During my internship at CHUV, I had the privilege of being mentored by Dr. Rafael Duran, whose guidance proved invaluable throughout the whole period. The exceptional team of professionals I worked with in the angiosuite not only shared with me an extensive knowledge of IR but also demonstrated the importance of teamwork. They patiently explained to me the intricate aspects of various procedures, making them more approachable and helping me seamlessly integrate into the hospital environment. I had the chance to participate in a wide range of endovascular procedures, including TACE, SIRT, adrenal vein sampling and UFE, as well as percutaneous ablations using radiofrequency, microwave, or cryo-ablation. The team dynamic was remarkable, with everyone striving to offer their best advice and foster a collaborative spirit.

Having established a solid foundation in IR procedures and techniques, I furthered my studies through the comprehensive resources available via the CIRSE Library, as well as the on-demand courses offered by the CIRSE Academy, which proved to be incredibly useful. In 2022, the CIRSE Annual Meeting returned to its on-site format in Barcelona and I was fortunate enough to attend. CIRSE facilitates the participation of undergraduate medical students by providing free registration and travel grants to the first 200 registered students. Throughout the conference, I actively engaged in the CIRSE Student Programme, Be inspIRed, which featured lectures tailored for undergraduate students and hands-on training sessions. It was an extraordinary experience that not only enriched my understanding of IR but also provided a unique opportunity to connect with fellow students and IR trainees from different countries around the world.

Back home, at the beginning of my fourth year, I got involved in a study on CT-guided lung biopsies, conducted by Dr. Andrei Roman, at the Oncology Institute in Cluj-Napoca. We tried to examine whether there is any significant reduction in the incidence of pneumothoraxwhen using saline sealing of the needle tract during lung biopsies. With Dr. Roman’s guidance, our team successfully completed the study, thus allowing us to submit our findings in time for the ECIO conference, an incredible event dedicated to interventional oncology (IO) and multidisciplinary oncology teams. We were delighted to have our scientific poster accepted.

With Dr. Brian Wong from Houston, USA – ECIO 2023 was an incredible networking experience alongside the amazing scientific sessions.
In the angiosuite at the County Emergency Clinical Hospital, Cluj Napoca alongside Dr. Duma’s team. From Left to Right: Dr. Antoniu Hart, Dr. Dan Duma, Dr. Horia Comaniciu, me, and Daniela Terec RT.

ECIO 2023 in Stockholm proved to be an incredible experience, featuring distinguished keynote speakers, an introductory IO foundation course, and engaging hands-on training sessions. The event was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of IO, interact with experts in the field, and gain practical insights into IO procedures.

During the last few months, I have had the opportunity of being involved in the IR practice at the newly established centre at the County Emergency Clinical Hospital in Cluj-Napoca. Led by Dr. Dan Duma, the team here manages to perform a large spectrum of procedures, ranging from peripheral vascular interventions to percutaneous cryoablations and embolotherapy. Furthermore, we are thrilled to have received the recent news of our two abstracts on embolotherapy for peripheral aneurysms and arterio-venous malformations having been accepted for CIRSE 2023!

The CIRSE society and its exceptional academic community have been instrumental in shaping my academic career and directing my path towards IR. The support and guidance I received over the past few years have been invaluable. I am eagerly looking forward to the future and hope that by sharing my experience, more students will be inspired to explore the field of IR and actively engage with CIRSE.

-Alexandru Necula, medical student

Since 2010, CIRSE has supported undergraduate medical students who are considering interventional radiology as their future career. Follow the links below to learn more about what CIRSE has to offer to students!