John and Susan Morrison Intern
Hometown: Golden Valley, MN
Education: Columbia University
MD Mentor: Dr. Jason Alexander
Staff Mentors: JoAnne Goldman, RT and Derek Vang
Projects: Management of Bleeding Complications from VA ECMO Cannulation; Cardiac Implantable Electronic Device (CIED) Longevity and Reliability
Archana Murali began her senior year at Columbia University in the fall of 2020. She is studying biomedical engineering and currently applying to medical school for enrollment in the fall of 2021. Archana chose the MHIF internship because she wanted to further explore clinical research, learn from physicians and better understand the role of research in a hospital while observing the work life of a practicing physician.
Over the course of the Summer 2020 internship, during the unusual circumstances due to COVID-19, Archana enjoyed being able to explore the medical field virtually and learn from physicians and patient medical records to better understand the role that clinical research plays in patient care. Through presentations lead by several MHI physicians, she learned more about the cardiovascular system and the history of cardiovascular health care, and said the internship experiences strengthened her goal of becoming a physician. She said her presentation abilities and scientific writing skills improved and she plans to pursue more clinical research in the future. One of her favorite parts of the internship was getting to know her fellow interns, Chris and Ananya.
“Working with them to tackle challenges and grow as a researcher and student was a pleasure,” said Archana. “Additionally, I enjoyed working with my physician mentor, Dr. Jason Alexander. I was inspired by his passion for medicine and desire to give his patients the best possible care. I am grateful for his support in this process.”
Archana especially enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Dr. Retu Saxena, an MHIF researcher who shared information about her work in women’s heart health, discussed the disparities in health care between men and women, and highlighted the significant racial inequities in health care and their causes.
“I found Dr. Saxena’s work to be astounding and a call to action for accessible health care for all people,” said Archana.
About the Research
Throughout the summer, Archana researched under the guidance of Dr. Jason Alexander, a vascular surgeon at MHI, on his study to identify different causes of bleeding from veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO) cannulation access. VA ECMO is a form of extracorporeal life support that provides circulatory support and gas exchange to support both heart and lung function. Currently, ECMO is being used to support COVID-19 patients.
VA ECMO has been shown to result in vascular complications that require vascular surgery intervention. Unexpected bleeding can occur due to complications while on VA ECMO, including improper placement of cannulas, inadequate securing of cannulas, and excessive movement of cannulas. These bleeding complications can be fatal. In this study, the different causes of bleeding from VA ECMO cannulation access were assessed. Researchers identified the various treatment methods for bleeding complications and analyzed the current protocols for placement, securing of cannulas, and identification of etiology for management. The long-term goal is to create an algorithm that will access risk factors and identify the best possible bleeding management technique.