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Project researcher: Dr Ilsa Haeusler, Academic Foundation Doctor

Ilsa’s main project during the AFP was to undertake a systematic literature review to investigate the effects of antimalarial drugs on cardiac adverse events. She wanted to determine whether antimalarial drugs, particularly quinoline antimalarials, caused cardiovascular side effects such as prolongation of the QT interval on the electrocardiogram.

The project allowed her to learn the fundamentals of systematic reviewing, particularly in terms of literature search, reference acquisition, database design and analysis. The review was large with many variables having been extracted, so dealing with the volume of data was a key learning point. This was a fantastic opportunity to learn about standardised ways of carrying out a systematic review using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The question of cardiotoxic effects of antimalarial drugs is very relevant to clinical practice on a global scale, so Ilsa found this project very stimulating. This work was presented as a poster at the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and won third prize.

During her paediatrics rotation, Ilsa was involved with the care of a child with a rare condition called Acute Haemorrhagic Oedema of Infancy. She wrote the case up, presented it at the Royal Society of Medicine’s paediatric conference, and was runner-up for the Tim David Prize.

Ilsa also undertook a Quality Improvement Project which looked into the rate of post-operative infections on the hepatobiliary ward. The department had recently changed their practise in order to try and reduce the rate of post-op infections. Together with a colleague, Ilsa collected and analysed pre- and post-intervention data and found a significantly improved rate of post-op infections and a decrease in the length of hospital stay. The team was awarded a runner-up prize at the NHS Patient Safety Congress.