By Dirk Hoffman
Published March 31, 2023
Angela Khidhir, DO, a trainee in the Department of Medicine’s internal medicine residency program, won first place in the 2022 Shark Tank Challenge sponsored by the New York State Chapter of the American College of Cardiology (ACC).
Participants had to submit an idea for an innovation in cardiology. Khidhir was selected as one of five finalists who presented their idea in front of a panel of judges onboard the Cloud Nine IV Yacht Dec. 9 in New York City.
Khidhir’s winning presentation was titled “Improving the Accuracy of Stress Echocardiography Through the StressVest.” She received $3,000 and a certificate for finishing in first place.
Stress tests are commonly ordered to see if a patient has significant blockages in the vessels supplying blood to the heart.
A treadmill-based stress test involves the patient running on a treadmill and having an echo sonographer immediately try and take echo images of the heart while the heart is beating at the highest peak of exercise.
“Ideally, this should be done within 30 to 60 seconds, but often times it takes one to two minutes for the images to be obtained,” Khidhir says.
The heart rate is known to drop by about 35 percent at that point, which renders the images not representative of the heart at peak stress, she notes.
“The StressVest is a wearable device that is designed to take instant images of the heart at peak stress during a stress test,” Khidhir says. “The innovation is aimed to cut the time from running on the treadmill to taking the images, or what I call ‘the stress-to-rest time,‘ by 50 percent and thus obtain images that are more representative of the heart at peak stress.”
Khidhir has been working on the project along with members of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a joint program between the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Additionally, Khidhir has been invited to participate in the ACC’s 2023 Women’s Cohort in the Internal Medicine Cardiology Program, a pipeline program designed by the ACC to mentor women in internal medicine interested in cardiology and help them successfully match into fellowship in cardiology.
The goal is to increase the representation of women in cardiology. Currently only 12% of cardiologists are female, and less than 10% of interventionalists are female.
“The program will help connect me with a peer network, resources and mentors who can help make me a more competitive applicant through providing help with research, connections and advice when the fellowship season comes,” Khidhir says.
Originally from Toronto, Khidhir obtained her DO degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
She says she chose to come to Buffalo for residency for several reasons.
“I like the proximity to my family in Toronto and the program left a great impression on me during my interview,” Khidhir says. “It also has a great, well-balanced curriculum and offers many opportunities for growth.
“I like working in three different hospitals that serve the entire WNY area. The pathology is so diverse, which makes it a great place to learn,” she adds. “I liked that it is a university program connected to many departments that have a ton of research going on. The opportunities are there for us to seek.”