Hospital/Imaging Centre and City: Cardiovascular and Thoracic Imaging Fellowship, Christian Medical College, Vellore
Duration: One year. Full time.
Exit exam: Yes, at the end of the fellowship, with practical and/or theory exams with external examiners.
Diagnostic exposure: The fellow gets 9 months of dedicated cardiothoracic and vascular posting, 2 months of Doppler posting, and 1 month of peripheral posting. The fellows get to report almost all types of cases related to cardiothoracic and vascular imaging which one comes across textbooks.
The peripheral posting includes 15 days of cardiology posting and 15 days of pulmonary medicine posting. The fellow observes different procedures like with echocardiogram, catheter angiograms, bronchoscopy, endobronchial USG, bronchial biopsies, USG and thoracoscopy guided pleural procedures.
Intervention and hands on exposure: Limited. Ideally you are supposed to do minimum of 50 cases of USG / CT guided pleural or lung or mediastinum related procedures (25 under supervision, 25 independently), but there is no separate posting as such. Hence it is up to you to remove some time from your routine posting for such procedures if interested.
Academic activities and multi disciplinary meets: Daily academic sessions from Monday to Friday which involves all faculties, SRs, JRs, and fellows. The fellow has to take part in MDTs (multi disciplinary teams) assigned to him. We had thoracic oncology MDT, pulmonary medicine MDT, ILD MDT, upper GI MDT, and cardiology-cardiothoracic meet once a week. These MDTS are actually the essence of the fellowship as they boost your diagnostic confidence. In addition, there is at least once a week intradepartmental discussion in the cardiothoracic radiology team where the fellow has to present a topic. The fellow is expected to do two projects – 1 thorax related and 1 cardiac related and publish. These are not typically thesis per se.
Duty hours and emergencies/on call duties: Routine days 8am to 5pm (actually often extends till 8pm depending upon the number of cases you have to report). Saturday is half day and Sunday is off. Minimum of 14 cases are expected to be reported every day. Call duties (emergency) are in 2 shifts; 8am to 8pm and vice versa. Fellows will get an average of 4 duties per month, although there can be more duties depending on the number of people in the call pool. Emergency posting helps you to get in touch with general radiology ( emergency cases related to neuro, abdominal, chest radiology etc. and doppler)
Fees, salary and leaves: INR 22,500 one time course fee. Salary: INR 45,000/month (approximately).
25 days annual leaves, 10 days casual leaves, 7 days deputation leaves (for conference) and emergency sick leaves (during my fellowship)
Accommodation provided or not: Yes, partly furnished
Tips on how to secure the fellowship: There are 2 steps for the exam. Step 1 is a Computer Based Test in different test centres in India and step 2 consists of special tests & interview. Special test is a kind of spotter exam of 10 questions. During interview, they assess your interest in cardiothoracic imaging and academic interest in research and publications. A prior publication in this field also helps. Go through the model question papers in the admission bulletin and also sample test that will be made available on the CMC Vellore website a month before the test.
When do the interviews/exams happen: The candidate is advised to check the website http://admissions.cmcvellore.ac.in for exam dates. Online application form is usually available from mid-February onwards.
Pros and cons:
- Very good exposure in the field of cardiothoracic radiology
- Regular multidisciplinary team meets
- Good research scope.
- Availability of PACS and RIS
- Helpful and always available faculties.
- Limited exposure to guided procedures. You have to find time from your hectic schedule for the same as there is no separate posting.
- Hectic call duties. But you often get chance to do some emergency procedures like percutaneous drainage of abscess/collection.
- No post night duty off. There is relaxation to report 7 cases next day though.
Your personal experience at the fellowship: I joined the fellowship in August 2017 soon after completing MD degree from SCB medical college, Cuttack. I was lucky to crack the fellowship and I was the first fellow for this course at CMC, Vellore. It was a hectic schedule but overall, the learning experience was awesome under the guidance of Dr Elizabeth and the team. Special thanks to Dr Aparna, Dr Binita, and Dr Leena. I definitely learnt much more than I expected to!
Any additional comments/ does it add value over MD /DNB degree: Definitely adds value. Only few centres provide cardiothoracic fellowship as of now in India (CMC, Narayana Health, Bangalore and Amrita Institute, Kochi) and I personally wholeheartedly recommend this fellowship. If you get the opportunity to be a fellow here, don’t miss it!
– Dr Pradosh Kumar Sarangi, MBBS (Gold) JIPMER, MD Radiology SCBMCH, Post doctoral fellowship in cardiovascular & thoracic imaging, CMC, Vellore
Life member of IACI
Current designation: Senior resident, Department of Radiodiagnosis,SCB medical college, Cuttack.