Interventional radiology is a relative latecomer to the medical field in Vietnam. Despite being a latecomer, the development of Vietnam interventional radiology (VIR) has been supported by the global trend of booming IR. The rise of VIR has many fascinating and unique aspects, as well as similarities with the development of IR worldwide.
By Nguyễn Ngọc Cương
Radiology center, Hanoi medical university hospital
Hanoi Viet Nam
Vietnam has a population of nearly 100 million people with an average income per capita of about $3,600 per year (2022). That figure has been increasing rapidly in recent years. Intensification of living standards allows more and more people in the country to access modern interventional radiology treatments. The first two digital subtraction angiography machines were installed in Vietnam in 2000 at the whole country, marking the beginning of Vietnam's interventional radiology field. Currently, the number of DSA machines in Vietnam has increased by more than 100 times compared to 2000.
The Vietnamese society of Interventional Radiology (VSIR) was established in 2010 with an initial membership of only 30 people. After 12 years of establishment, the society currently has about 200 members, which means there are over 200 IRs in Vietnam. The annual congress of VSIR is held every April and has been organized 10 times to date. Professor Pham Minh Thong has been the chairman of both the VSIR and Vietnamese Society of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (VSRNM) since the establishment of the society until now.
Vietnam IRs are mainly working in large hospitals, which may be public or private, with public hospitals accounting for about 80% of the total.
Training programs in IR
In Vietnam, most IRs come from a diagnostic radiology background. To become an IR, a radiologist only needs to participate in a 9-month specialized course on interventional radiology. After completing this course, IRs are issued a professional working license and they can do the procedure under the supervision of junior doctors for a period of time, which may vary depending on the hospital.
International contacts and collaborations
There hasn't been any close collaboration between any official IR society in the world and the VSIR, only individual support for the development of SVIR. French professors such as Lauren Pierot (Reim) and Christophe Cognard (Toulouse) have contributed to the development of SVIR since its early days of establishment. In addition to French doctors, Korean, Thai IRs… also provide significantly support to Vietnam IRs privately. Although there have been certaine devolopement, Vietnamese IRs and VSIR have not yet fully integrated with their international colleagues.
Opportunities and future plans
Vietnam is a developing country with a large population, but the number of IR is relatively small compared to the population. The vietnamese policies on healthcare and investment in hospital infrastructure create favorable conditions for the future development of interventional radiology. However, the main challenge for Vietnamese IR is the limited opportunities to access advanced techniques and treatments in this field due to a lack of collaboration and networking with international hospitals and organizations. Few partnerships exist between Vietnamese hospitals, interventional radiology societies, and their counterparts in other countries, which limits opportunities for young Vietnamese interventional radiologists to learn and gain experience in countries with more advanced healthcare systems.