October 18, 2023 – Lachezar Lalov wrote to us to tell us more about his experiences as a CIRSE Student ambassador, his participation in the CIRSE Student Internship Programme, and his recent attendance at CIRSE 2023. Dr. Lalov is now a radiology resident, having recently finished his studies at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
A CIRSE student’s internship and congress experience
My interest in Interventional Radiology (IR) was sparked during my first-ever clinical rotation in medical school, where I had the opportunity to witness and participate in numerous minimally invasive procedures. This exposure fueled my curiosity, prompting me to delve deeper into this potential career path. My curiosity led me to the CIRSE website, which not only provided valuable information but also introduced me to the possibility of attending the 2022 CIRSE annual congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Despite my university schedule preventing me from attending the event in person, I made sure to follow all available sessions on the online platform. This remote experience significantly enhanced my knowledge across various IR topics and solidified my passion for this relatively lesser-known specialty. Subsequently, I continued my engagement by participating in European Trainee Forum (ETF) webinars and staying up to date with the latest developments in IR. Additionally, I began working on my Master’s thesis project related to thermoablation.
All this newly acquired knowledge was incredibly exciting and I was eager to put it to practice and get more hands-on experience in the field. The CIRSE Student Internship Programme team assisted me in contacting Dr. Rafael Duran and in organizing an internship in his department at the CHUV in Lausanne, Switzerland. Throughout my one-month internship, he and his colleagues made me truly feel part of their team – from explaining each procedure in detail and answering my questions, to allowing me to assist them in a series of different procedures and inviting me to take part in multidisciplinary tumour boards with them.
One particularly memorable experience involved assisting Dr. Duran in a catheter placement for hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) chemotherapy in a patient with unresectable colorectal metastases. Witnessing his concentration, dexterity, and fast-paced work left an indelible impression on me, motivating me to aspire to treat my future patients with similar skill.
I cannot thank the CHUV IR team enough for all the knowledge and experience they offered me. I would strongly encourage other students seeking to discover more about this wonderful specialty to apply for an internship.
In September 2023, I had the privilege of attending the CIRSE 2023 Annual Congress in Copenhagen. Immersing myself in the world of Interventional Radiology was nothing short of inspiring. The talks delivered by world-renowned IRs expanded my horizons, providing me with an abundance of knowledge that I look forward to applying in my future practice, while the hands-on training sessions allowed me to gain practical experience in procedures such as PAE and thermal ablation.
As a CIRSE Student Ambassador, I was also delighted to witness the enthusiasm and interest displayed by medical students not only from Belgium, but also from the rest of the world. Overall, my participation at CIRSE 2023 was an invaluable experience for me — from continuing to grow my knowledge in IR to discovering cutting-edge technology and forming lasting relationships with like-minded individuals from across the globe.
I sincerely hope that my experience will inspire more students to dive deeper into the amazing field of IR!