Research Intern Blog: Week Ten

Blog week tenWith a little more than two more weeks left in the summer, interns are making a final push to get data together, statistics analyzed and presentations made. This week also featured a bonus field trip to Tendyne, a biomedical device company specializing in transcatheter mitral valve repairs (TMVR), among other things. We can’t wait to put together our projects for a final display and share what we’ve learned this summer!

This week featured a few memorable lunch & learn speakers: Dr. Goessel, Dr. Skeik and Dr. Farivar spoke to interns about their experience and career paths. Intern Abhishek found Dr. Skeik’s presentation “very interesting, as we got to learn a lot about vascular medicine. I was fascinated by the imaging technology that is involved in medicine and it was interesting to hear Dr. Skeik talk about the order by which vascular specialists use CT, CTA, MRI, X-rays, and ultrasound exams. Dr. Skeik also talked about his mission trips in Palestine. It is incredible that he is determined in doing this, and seeing the resources in that area was extremely sad to see. It is crucial to be very appreciative of what we have here in the states, and to make best use of it.”

Later in the lunch & learn, Dr. Farivar shared his experience as a cardiothoracic surgeon and the impressive new technology in the field of mitral valve repair, while Dr. Goessel lent insight into his interest in structural heart and the importance of novel therapies such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR). Interns felt that his talk was a great stepping stone for our field trip that afternoon!

“On Monday, we had a field trip to Tendyne where one of the trans-catheter mitral valves was developed,” intern Sarah said. “The most impressive part was the sewing of the valve which they explained takes about 35 hours per valve! I cannot imagine sitting there and sewing so precisely for such a long time. Overall, it was a great field trip, and I definitely learned a lot!”

We had a great time touring the facility at Tendyne and had the unique opportunity to go behind the scenes to witness the rigorous testing the engineers had to do to ensure that the product was safe to put in the human body. Thank you to all the staff, engineers and clinicians at Tendyne for showing such warm hospitality!

This week, we continued our rotations in and out of the cath lab, EP lab and the OR. Claudia reflected on her experience this week in the Cath/EP rotation: “In the morning, I saw two EP cases with Dr. Moore. The first was a right-heart atrial flutter ablation – a relatively short ablation as they just burn the tissue along one line connecting to the aortic valve, I think. Left-heart ablations, I hear, can run on for many hours. I found it interesting that Dr. Moore waited 30 minutes after the ablation to see if the tissue would grow back, which makes sense to me but is something I wouldn’t have initially thought about.”

“In the afternoon,” Claudia continued, “I got to see the most interesting and awesome case ever. It was an aortic valvuloplasty by Dr. Sorajja, but the fascinating part was that the patient was a 28 year old woman who was 13 weeks pregnant. She had congenital aortic stenosis that she never fixed, and now in her pregnancy, she faces the danger of hemodynamic blood flow problems from her critical stenosis and pregnancy if she does nothing.”

At this point, most interns have completed all rotations, but there still remain a few interns who will be completing rotations in the OR.

To wrap things up, this week’s intern alumni update is on Kelly Wickstrom from the summer of 2007. Currently, Kelly is a second year internal medicine resident at the University of Arizona-Tucson. Since her internship, Kelly worked full-time at MHIF as an associate research coordinator during her gap year. After that, she attended medical school at Des Moines University and graduated in 2015. Kelly is pursuing a career in Pulmonary and Critical Care and recently began doing research regarding pulmonary hypertension. When thinking back to her internship, Kelly claims her most memorable experience was presenting at ACC and AHA. She also believes that the internship at MHIF helped her to network with healthcare professionals and boosted her resume for medical school admissions. We wish the best of luck to Kelly in her future!

Again, many thanks for keeping up to date with the blog! Please stay tuned for two more awesome posts.