Anesthesia and patient monitoring during sedation

Image 1: a patient recovering from anesthesia.  Anesthesia plays a significant role in animal imaging. Unlike in human medicine, veterinarians are unable to impart the importance of staying still during scans. For this reason, anesthetics are used to sedate patients during procedures to assure an accurate diagnosis from clear scans, as well as to protect the safety of both the patient and the veterinary team. Anesthetic agents sedate patients by depressing various biological functions, including heart and respiratory rates. As such, approval for a procedure requiring anesthesia is only granted once a patient is determined to be stable enough to handle sedation. Pre-existing conditions can make a patient more susceptible to complications while under anesthesia, and may require additional precautions or a delay in the procedure until their condition has improved. The first step of the anesthesia process is induction. Patients are given a combination of analgesics and short-term sedative

Gastric Arterial Chemical Embolization: an emerging therapy for severe obesity

Last week, I had the opportunity to watch a surgical technique that is currently being optimized for treatment of severe obesity. It was fascinating to observe, so I thought I'd share some of the highlights! But first, some background. The general technique, which involves the delivery of an agent that blocks blood flow through the target artery via a catheter, is known as arterial embolization. This procedure is already used in other applications such as stopping internal hemorrhaging. It's a neat concept, for a few reasons. The first is that  only a minor incision is required, making it less intense compared to more invasive surgeries. Secondly, surgeons performing this procedure utilize real-time imaging techniques (such as X-rays) to guide the catheter through the cardiovascular system to deliver the drug with high precision. Recently, teams of researchers, doctors, and veterinarians (including my mentor and CIGAT director, Dr. Kraitchman) have developed a new application o

Lumbar Lesions: Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease

Image: TL MRI scan showing vertebral bodies, the spinal cord, and the protruding discs implicated in Kupkake's symptoms. This week was a busy one. MRI scans give more detailed images for better diagnosis, but this also means they take a lot longer compared to X-rays or CT scans. Not to mention, each patient is different: for some, the problem spot will show up pretty early on, while other cases require more scans to pinpoint an issue. Overall, scans can take up to an hour at least, meaning that 5 critters in one day is a lot! Thankfully we managed to get all of the scans done in good time, with some bonus puppy cuddles. One case that came in this week was a pitbull named Kupkake who was suddenly paralyzed in her hind legs, accompanied by pain along her spine. A CT scan showed some potential pinching of the spinal cord, so a thoracolumbar (TL) MRI scan was performed to give the vets a better idea of what was going on.  The spine is formed by 3 major parts–the vertebrae, the spinal c

Summer Salutations

  Hi! My name is Emily. I'm a rising junior at Johns Hopkins University studying Biomolecular Engineering. If it's not obvious from the photo, I'm a huge animal lover, which is why I'm planning on pursuing a career in veterinary medicine and research. It's also why I'm thrilled to be shadowing Dr. Dara Kraitchman and her team this summer at the Center for Image-Guided Animal Therapy (CIGAT) at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. I'll be working with Dr. Kraitchman and one of her colleagues, Dr. Brian Ladle, on their canine osteosarcoma trial. The goal is to use a combination of image-guided cryoablation, where the tumor cells are killed via localized freezing, and STING, a new immunotherapy, to treat osteosarcoma. This is one of the most diagnosed forms of cancer in both canines and human kids, and in each case the options for treatment are very similar. Thus, our hope is that we can find a more effective therapy for both kids and our furry friends. I'm