ACC was the first ever research conference I have been to, and it was really cool. Granted, when I first arrived, I was really intimidated by everyone wearing formal suits and talking about intelligent heart topics. That feeling didn’t quite go away…but things began to feel more familiar and less scary as time went on.
On Friday afternoon, I presented my poster in a large 45-minute poster session in an expo hall. It was a research abstract on guideline adherence for asymptomatic patients with severe mitral regurgitation. Of course, I was nervous beforehand, but during the session, I found it fun and thought-provoking to engage with different researchers on this topic. It was also interesting to see what other research projects had been conducted in valvular heart disease. While I had conducted a retrospective study on MHIF patient charts, my neighbor had conducted a prospective study on the same patient population in Sweden!
In general, the expo halls were packed with activity. Besides the posters, there were many big name medical device company booths like Medtronic and Abbott. I thought it was funny that some of them tried to attract people to their booths with food; there was even a crepe cart at one pharmaceutical booth!
On Saturday, I spent a lot of time talking to different medical device companies about R&D opportunities (as I am a graduating senior looking for gap year opportunities before medical school). This was actually a really cool opportunity to network and talk to R&D managers, compared to a career fair I had gone to previously where everyone was there for the same reason.
Memories that stand out from ACC are hearing Dr. Pau Sorajja present ‘nightmare’ cath lab cases (which were pretty nightmarish) and hearing a thought-provoking late-breaking case that found that performing radial transcatheter procedures (which are becoming more popular now) produces more radiation for both operators and patients compared to the femoral approach.
Overall, I really enjoyed and appreciated my ACC experience. It gave me an inside look into the cardiologist life and what real ‘thought-provoking’ research is. It was also fun to reunite with some MHIF interns from the summer.
I am very grateful to Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation for providing me with the summer research opportunity, where I have learned so much about medicine but have appreciated the impact that research has on the broader scientific community. I first arrived to ACC a day before my presentation, and I had a wonderful time in Washington D.C. When I arrived to the Convention Center for my presentation, I was amazed to see the size of the conference room. There were so many physicians and researchers who worked in various fields, and I observed posters and presentations in various practice areas. I stood next to my poster for 45-60 minutes, and many researchers came by to ask questions regarding my data and information. Many individuals who worked in the pacemaker clinic and observed rhythm strips were interested in seeing the impact that our data had on their field. Some physicians who came internationally gave me some advice with regards to the preparation of my manuscript. My mentor, Dr. Sengupta, also came. It was a wonderful experience spending time with him during lunch. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I am very motivated to continue attending these types of conferences on an annual basis.
Tips to future interns:
It may be an intimidating process to be in front of many talented physicians and researchers. Because it has been some time since the research experience during the summer, I would advise future interns to prepare ahead of the presentation. I would also suggest interns to have a list of questions that they have regarding their project. Many other physicians have experiences and can contribute ideas that could help interns finish their project in terms of a manuscript submission.