You can imagine how nervous yet excited I was to return back to a clinical setting after spending nearly 5 months without any patient interactions. I spent the first week of my second year of medical school learning more about the field of cardiology. I gained an interest in this specialty after our cardiology block back in April.
I never really cared for the heart, and came into medical school pretty confident that I was going into pediatrics. As you can see, I have made a complete 360. I remember how overwhelmed I felt during the first day of lectures. I typically dedicate about 1hr to review each lecture after class. I spent almost 2.5 hours trying to master just one concept. I pretty much made up in my mind that I was going to hate the rest of that block. To my surprise, the hours I put in learning the cardiac cycle paid off. I found myself very interested in the physiology and pathology of the heart.
Fast forward to 4 months later where I had the opportunity to see if I enjoyed cardiology clinically. COVID-19 made this past preceptorship a little different as most clinics were closed. I was beyond lucky to be paired with a preceptor who went above and beyond in giving me a taste of the many subparts within cardiology.
Some of the things I was able to see/assist on last week included:
- Valve disorders
- Reading of EKGs, Echos, Cardiac CTs, Cardiac MRIs, Nuclear Medicine
- Transesophageal Echocardiogram
- Stress Tests
- Device Clinic
- Procedures (Cath lab, Electrophysiology Lab, Valve repair)
- Heart Failure
Last week I was also able to see both sides of medicine. When it works and when it doesn’t. One patient had a condition where the left ventricle of the heart is enlarged. The disorder the patient had can often cause sudden death. He had a procedure and fortunately it worked. Though he still has the disorder, he was completely asymptomatic and doing much better.
In contrast another patient had a condition where the blood in his heart was leaking in the wrong direction causing reversal of flow. His symptoms were severe so he was scheduled to have a procedure to help reduce his symptoms and improve his quality of life. Unfortunately, the procedure was unsuccessful.
One of my many reasons for pursing medicine is to help people, but the sad reality is despite the many advances in the field, it sometimes fails us and we have to learn to help people in other ways.
After 1 week of immersing myself into the field cardiology I can confidently say that this specialty is still on the top of my list. Who knows it will probably change many times over. Up next is GI.
Well, that’s all for now, thanks for making it this far.
As always, stay fabulous!