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School of Medicine discoveries

August 6, 2011

Radiology resident’s research honored, has potential to shape care of injured patients

A research study by Brian Strife, M.D., has been unanimously chosen as the best resident project by the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Radiology. His research could alter the manner in which interventional radiologists treat patients whose spleen has been injured by blunt trauma.

Brian Strife, M.D.

The spleen is the most commonly injured organ in the abdomen. Over the past three decades a treatment shift has taken place, away from its surgical removal and toward embolization – an approach that uses X-ray-like images to guide catheters to the injury and deliver particles that stop dangerous bleeding. This approach preserves the spleen and its important role in the body’s immune response while at the same time avoiding postoperative complications like infection. A proven approach known as Splenic Arterial Embolization focuses treatment on the main artery that supplies blood to the spleen, but improved microcatheter technology has led some radiologists to favor the ability of Distal Splenic Embolization to get closer to the injured area.

Strife compared the two approaches head-to-head by reviewing 83 patients who were treated at the VCU Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center in the past eight years. He discovered that DSE was no better at preserving the spleen’s function yet it more than doubled the procedure time, leading to an inevitable increase in radiation exposure for the patient and team performing the procedure.

Strife concluded that, while there are certain situations when DSE is the best choice, there are many scenarios where the radiologist could appropriately choose one or the other. His findings give radiologists data to make a more informed choice.

A member of the medical school’s Class of 2007, Strife elected to stay on the MCV Campus to complete his radiology residency training. His research was unanimously chosen from among projects submitted by radiology residents at VCU, the University of Virginia, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Portsmouth Naval Base. He will present a 15-minute overview of his research at the annual meeting of the ACR’s Virginia Chapter on Aug. 6 in Williamsburg.

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Updated: 04/29/2016