Chris Radchenko, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, Incidental
Pulmonary Nodule Program
Q: Describe some of the exciting new innovations in your field.
We provide, through innovation, minimally invasive ways to do things that ultimately result in better patient outcomes. For example, instead of undergoing surgery to remove abnormal parts of the lung for emphysema, we found ways to be able to do it with bronchoscopic valves — a procedure that takes 20 to 30 minutes compared to several hours and a longer recovery with the surgical alternative. New technologies in our field are driving innovation. For example, we just launched a research trial in our incidental nodule program to help decipher if lung nodules are cancerous. In the past, you would have had to either biopsy it or cut it out. Now we are developing testing so that in the future, if someone has a pulmonary nodule, it may be feasible to swab the nose or perform a blood test to determine if the nodule is cancerous. Think of the strides we have made in lung cancer — now we are sequencing the entire genome of the malignant tissue to find actionable mutations.
Q: What’s one of the most rewarding experiences you have had in your career?
When we are sent patients, they usually have no other options. They are sent to us after they are so far advanced in their disease pro- cess that really there is nowhere else in the region that can treat them. At UC Health, our slogan is, “In Science Lives Hope.” When patients come to us, they become like our family. What’s most rewarding to me is the relationships you build with the patients and their families. I recently had a patient pass away. After she died, her husband called me in tears and said, “She thought the highest of you. She said that you are the best doctor she’s ever met, and thank you for not giving up on her.” Hearing that from my patients’ families is amazing.These days, dealing with COVID, working nonstop hours, having no sleep — it’s nice to reflect on the impact we have had on a patient and their family.
Q: How has the pandemic affected your mental reserves?
Going into a patient’s room with a disease not fully understood, where they are asking, “Am I going to make it?” Not truly knowing what the answer is going to be has an impact on you. Having a critically ill patient with COVID who is passing away, and being at their bedside because loved ones may not be able to be in the room with them at that time — that has an impact.
There are situations, memories you will never forget. Like the day a 26-year-old was transferred to our ICU. “I can’t breathe. Help me, please. Am I going to get through this?” Just looking at her as we were intubating her and reassuring her, “You’re going to be OK. I’m going to take care of you,” then having her pass away hours later — you go home and remember her face; her looking up at you and asking if she’ll be OK.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Radchenko, call 513.475.8523. For more information on interventional pulmonology, visit www.uchealth.com/services/pulmonary-critical-care