Kizhan Muhammad knows an opportunity when she sees one. The fifth-year medical student used a particularly rare case that appeared during her critical care rotation in the hospital’s intensive care unit to produce a research poster for the annual UMKC Health Sciences Student Research Summit.
Muhammad was one of 59 students from the School of Medicine who presented a record 66 posters at the research summit on April 17 at the UMKC Student Union. Both medical students and students from the school’s graduate programs — bioinformatics, anesthesiologist assistant, physician assistant and health professions education — participated in the summit.
“I always have my eyes and ears open for an opportunity to do research,” Muhammad said. “We happened to have a case with a rare syndrome. My mentor had me read about previous cases. My role was to do a literature review, extrapolate the data and then write a manuscript on our own patient.”
The patient, a 73-year-old man, had come to the hospital with a rapid heartbeat. When mild electrical shock, or cardioversion, was applied to bring the heartbeat to a normal rhythm, the man experienced Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Also known as broken-heart syndrome, the condition is a ballooning of the left ventricle that produces chest pain and shortness of breath. It’s typically a stress-related condition seen in older women.
“It’s a very benign disease that can be very scary,” Muhammad said. “It’s pretty rare, not something you’d typically see when you’re rounding.”
Muhammad produced a case report that compared her patient’s case with other recorded cases of the disease. The report was published in the Society of Critical Care Medicine journal and presented at the organization’s national convention.
She said her experience provided a good learning experience in the basics of conducting medical research as well as how to create and publish a manuscript and present the findings in a public forum such as the research summit.
“Research is a vital part of medicine,” Muhammad said. “It’s what gives us the potential to do better for our patients. I’m looking forward to doing more in our research program.”
The research summit also included students from the health sciences schools of dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and health sciences, as well UMKC’s School of Biological Sciences. This year’s summit drew a record 100 research posters.
A team of medical school faculty served as judges for the medical student posters and will select the top three poster presentations among medical students for awards and the top graduate student presentation.