Time Crunch

Hi all!  Just in case you are new to the blogs I will once again give a brief introduction to my project.  I am currently doing research at the Royal “Dick” Veterinary School in Edinburgh, Scotland.  I am working with two equine cardiologists on a retrospective study of  left atrial size in horses with mitral valve disease.  The study is comparing left atrial size to the severity of mitral valve disease to determine if it can be used for prognosis of horses  with murmurs.

So, this last week I have spent many days in my dark, small measuring room trying to get through the horses as fast as possible.  I am much faster this week at measuring and have been getting through about 5-6 horses a day.  I finally finished the horses available here at the vet school today!!  I am blinded to the horses condition, they have been randomized by the number of their storage disk.  I have had to eliminate about half of the horses from the study due to poor quality images or missing views.  I have to take multiple measurements on three different views for each horse.  I look at a long axis left atrial view, long axis aorta, and short axis aorta and left atrium.  Any horses missing their short axis view were eliminated from the study and horses with poor long axis images have been noted and may have to be excluded from statistics.

So after eliminating half my horses from the study I was getting nervous that the horses I was able to measure would all fall within only a few of my groups (murmur grades: normal, 1-2, 3, 4, 5-6, heart failure).  My adviser, Dr. Blissitt, came running into my room the other day saying “There is a God!!!”  She had gone through the list of horses I had measured and said that they were almost evenly distributed across my groups!  I thought that was great news!  So next week I am off to Newmarket again to measure the horses that Lesley has on her machine.  It should be a great week and I will have lots of horses to measure.  I love Newmarket so I am very excited to get to go back there.  Lesley has a gorgeous thatch roof house in a village outside of Newmarket and I am thinking it will be a relaxing week.

I am starting to feel the pressure to complete the project in time.  Dr. Blissitt wants the paper written before I am done so once next week is over I will need to run my stats and get going on my paper.  It is going to be a mad dash to the finish to get all the data organized analyzed.  I think it is possible but I am going to have to work fast.  It will be interesting to do the analysis and see if left atrial size will correlate to murmur grade or if there will be no correlation.  I guess the nice thing about the work is no matter the results it will still be relevant information that can still be published.  I am wanting to get it all done so it won’t be an issue during school.  I don’t have much else to tell about the project because since I am blinded to the condition of my cases I haven’t been able to establish any trends.  So soon I will have more 🙂  Cheers!

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