Hospital/Imaging Centre and City: Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences, Narayana Health City, Bengaluru, Karnataka
Duration: The Cardiothoracic radiology fellowship is for one year. However, shorter duration fellowships and observerships are available for Cardiac MRI, at the discretion of the faculty.
Eligibility: MD / DNB in Radiology
Exam: No exit examination at present
Diagnostic exposure: The fellow is exposed to a wide spectrum of cases with respect to cardiac imaging, ranging from congenital cardiac diseases to ischemic and complex cardiomyopathies. At the end of the fellowship, one will be confident in reporting almost all possible cardiac CT/MRI.
Academic activities and research: There are very few didactic lectures and emphasis is given to more-effective short group discussions and case-based learning. The teaching happens from a basic level to ensure that all the necessary aspects of cardiothoracic imaging are learnt. One aspect of learning at NH that I absolutely treasured was the focus on approach to interpretation of cardiothoracic imaging, which builds a strong foundation to report cases of any complexity in the future.
The fellowship does not require a formal thesis / dissertation to be completed but there is a huge scope for research activity in the department and there are numerous long-term and short-term studies happening at any given point. The fellow can be a part of such research, and initiate newer ones if interested. Posters and paper presentations in various conferences are highly encouraged. The fellows are also encouraged to attend the numerous multidisciplinary meetings conducted in the hospital on a regular basis.
Duty hours and emergencies/on call duties: The working hours are usually from 8 AM in the morning and end once the MRI schedule is completed for the day, which is roughly around 8 PM. There are no emergency duties or on call duties.
The fellows will be rotated in CT and MRI modalities on a regular basis, in which they initially learn to protocol the cases and perform a scan independently, followed by a structured reporting exposure.
Salary and leaves: Leaves are at the discretion of the faculty and are usually not an issue, especially if planned. The fellows are provided up to 25 days of leave, in addition to Sundays and other public holidays as per the schedule of the hospital.
The stipend provided is Rs. 55,000 per month at present.
Accommodation provided or not: Accommodation is not provided. There are numerous options available in the vicinity of the hospital and are easily available.
Tips on how to secure the fellowship: The one-year fellowship session starts in December/January and applications are usually invited from August/September. The short-term fellowships and observerships are flexible, and can be discussed in person.
Selection is usually through an in-person interview at NH, Bangalore. The candidates may be given a topic beforehand for a short presentation on the day of interview. The candidates for interview are shortlisted based on resume and letter of intent. Showcasing interest in research and prior posters/paper presentation will help in this regard. Candidates who are genuinely interested in cardiac imaging, academics and research are given preference, and prior experience is not a prerequisite.
The department has also been accredited by the Indian College of Radiology and Imaging (ICRI) for Fellowship in Cardiac imaging (1 position every year).
Pros and cons:
- The department boasts of a wide spectrum of cases relating to cardiac and thoracic imaging, including the challenging aspects like interstitial lung disease and pulmonary hypertension.
- Dedicated department for cardiac imaging (including CT and MRI machines exclusive for cardiac imaging) provides the fellow an undiluted exposure.
- The training provided is at par with guidelines set by the EACVI (European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging) and ICRI (Indian College of Radiology and Imaging).
- Non-toxic friendly work atmosphere.
- No emergency / Sunday duties
- Interventional radiology is a separate unit at NH and hence interventions are not a part of this fellowship.
- Reporting cases of other specialities is practically nil. But these are available on the hospital PACS and one can go through them if interested.
- The busy schedule may not be suitable for those who prefer shorter working hours.
Your personal experience at the fellowship
The programme does require the fellow to put in long hours of work, but given the novelty of this imaging subspeciality, it seems justified as it does require a lot of hard work to learn it in a short duration.
I have to put on record that the consultants were wonderful to work with and ensured that my fellowship was a fun learning experience. Both have a keen interest in teaching which makes it more than just an archetypal fellowship. I must truly admit that the fellowship changed my perspective of a radiologist and transformed the practice of just reporting in ‘dim-lit’ rooms to being a part of patient management in different ways.
Any additional comments/ does it add value over MD /DNB degree
The fellowship certainly provides an edge over MD/DNB, especially if one has interest in cardiac imaging. The department performs one of the highest numbers of cross-sectional cardiac imaging in the country (roughly about 400 cardiac CT and MRI a week; these figures are expected to increase in the upcoming future, which is a treasure of knowledge) and is the best place to learn or hone your skills, beyond any doubts.
Also, the fellow is eligible to apply for the Level III CMR certification examination, accredited by the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI), which is an added benefit.
My personal suggestion: If cardiac imaging interests you, don’t look elsewhere.
Feel free to contact me for any further queries or clarifications:
Dr. Suraj Gowda MBBS, MD, DNB (Radiodiagnosis)
Fellowship in Cardiothoracic Imaging.
Fellowship in Musculoskeletal Imaging.