Felix Oh

Felix Oh

Morrison Intern

Hometown: Woodbury, MN
Education: University of Minnesota (Twin Cities, MN)
MD Mentor: Joao Cavalcante
Staff Mentor: Pam Morley
Project: Role of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients with Aortic Regurgitation

Felix Oh is preparing for his junior year at the University of Minnesota.  Originally from Woodbury, Minnesota, Felix aspires to become an orthopedic surgeon.  Felix is drawn to the special human connection between a patient and doctor, and he enjoys the magnitude of responsibility involved with informing, empowering and treating patients.  Felix wants to contribute to making a difference in people’s lives through clinical research.     

Having looked around at other research internship opportunities, Felix discovered the unique dynamic instilled within the MHIF research internship program.  He states, “I wanted to be a part of this internship because, unlike many other research internships that focus on cultivating Ph.D. students, the MHIF research internship encourages me to follow my dream of medicine while giving me valuable opportunities like shadowing and working closely with a physician mentor.”  Felix has previous experience with lab work, however, this internship will expose Felix to clinical research and patient interaction.  Through this experience, Felix hopes to gain a better understanding of cardiology and clinical research while contributing to a clinical research initiative.

Throughout the duration of this internship and under the guidance of Dr. João Cavalcante and staff mentor Pam Morley, Felix will participate in the research study: Role of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients with Aortic Regurgitation.  Patients with aortic regurgitation may initially remain asymptomatic but, without valve replacement, may eventually develop heart failure as the heart begins to decompensate. Using cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), they are researching ways to diagnose the severity and prevalence of aortic regurgitation (AR) in patients before they develop symptoms and develop heart failure. 

After this internship, Felix will return to the University of Minnesota for his junior year of his undergraduate degree.  This internship has affirmed his decision to pursue a career in medicine. He states, “I’ve learned that doctors don’t just help patients, they also advance the scientific progress of healthcare and aid students that aspire to follow in their footsteps in an assortment of different ways.”  Felix is enthusiastic about taking the next steps towards pursuing a career in medicine.

Role of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance in Patients with Aortic Regurgitation

Background: Aortic regurgitation (AR) is a chronic condition that causes backflow of blood into the left ventricle through an aortic valve that fails to close properly. This process results in thickening of the myocardial wall to compensate for the increased volume and pressure burden on the left ventricle. During this compensatory time patients can remain asymptomatic but, without corrective surgery, may eventually develop left ventricular systolic dysfunction, myocardial fibrosis, and heart failure. This can lead to significantly decreased survival even after surgical intervention. Echocardiography is currently the standard of care to diagnose AR. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) offers high resolution imaging that can serve a complementary role to echocardiography in mapping cardiac function and flow. In addition to the function and flow analysis currently used to identify AR, myocardial strain analysis by CMR and echocardiography has recently been used to evaluate subclinical myocardial dysfunction and could be a valuable diagnostic tool for AR.

Conclusions: 

  • CMR is a growing imaging modality that complements echocardiography in diagnosing AR. Use of CMR is limited by patient access to the technology and a lack of standardized guidelines for the diagnosis of AR.
  • This research may provoke larger studies that will support the use of CMR to diagnose AR before patients become symptomatic and develop left ventricular systolic dysfunction, heart failure, and irreversible myocardial fibrosis.
  • The next step is to quantify the fibrosis that results from AR through late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) and T1 mapping and determine its impact on mortality and other patient outcomes.