Research Intern Blog: Week Eleven

Blog week elevenWith only one more week to go, this is crunch time. We’re busy finishing up presentations, posters, abstracts and manuscripts as we wrap up our progress here this summer. Almost every intern is preparing an abstract or more to be submitted to a national scientific conference, which speaks to the caliber of this fantastic program. This week, we had five intern presentations, a couple of lunch & learns, and some observations.

On Monday, we had our first lunch & learn from Dr. Dibardino, who gave a talk on the uses of clinical research. “He made it casual by not using a PowerPoint presentation,” Brandon says, “instead he sat down with us and talked, more like a meeting, so we could engage and ask questions easier.” Dr. DiBardino emphasized that, as researchers and physicians, we have to keep in mind that improvement is intrinsic to medicine; we have to keep in mind that we can only improve patient care as much as technology allows us to, even though fundamentally various procedures will be enhanced in a couple of decades. Matt speaks to this theme: “Dr. DiBardino went on to say that our approach to treating heart failure was “good enough,” but 100 years in the future, people would look at our treatments as absurd and probably barbaric, just as we now look at how medicine was done a century ago. He did end on a relatively hopeful note that if what we do now isn’t absurd in 100 years for heart failure, then something went wrong.”

Later that day, a few of the interns shadowed Dr. Skeik in the wound clinic. “We saw the hyperbaric chamber and learned a lot about the different diseases that are treated there and how that works,” Jonathan said. “We also went with Dr. Skeik to see a patient, which was one of the most intense things I have ever seen while shadowing. The woman has diabetes and some kind of autoimmune disorder, and this eventually led to her toes falling off. When we saw the patient she had multiple exposed bones in her toes, and multiple open wounds as well.”

On Wednesday, we had our first round of intern presentations. We were able to learn about projects in vascular medicine, electrophysiology, heart failure, and population health. It was exciting to see all of the hard work that the interns have done with their projects; all of us are very appreciative of the knowledge base and critical analysis skills that we were able to gain as a result of our time here.

On Friday, we had an excellent talk from Dr. Sengupta regarding various arrhythmias that he finds in his practice. Many of us recognized well-known arrhythmias, such as Atrial Fibrillation and Tachycardia, but we learned about less common arrhythmias, such as long QT syndrome and Brugada syndrome. Dr. Sengupta “talked about how hard it is to have conversations with family members about the passing of their loved ones, but how important it is in protecting their health,” Whitney said. “His talk made me realize that electrophysiology has a wider patient base than some other fields of cardiology, as arrhythmias are more common in younger people than heart failure, for example.”

Dr. Sengupta emphasized the significant difference between heart attack and sudden cardiac death and the importance of educating patients about the fact that the former is caused by occlusion in the coronary arteries, while the latter is by various ventricular arrhythmias. It is amazing to see the numerous factors that electrophysiologists have to consider when targeting arrhythmias in the procedure room and the clinic; it shows us that physicians need to be organized and consider a myriad of facts and opinions before reaching a clinical judgment.

Thanks again for reading our blog series!