Above photo: Dr. Iqbal Amed is a lifelong researcher who believes research is an extension of patient care.
To Iqbal Ahmed, head of the Department of Medicine and Respirologist at Richmond Hospital, research is an extension of patient care.
“Questions come up all the time – for which there are no good answers. Setting up a study is intellectually stimulating, brings people together, and we can use the answers to improve patient care,” he says.
A graduate from the University of Manchester, and Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Ahmed has spent his career supporting patients suffering from various respiratory conditions and creating programs and clinics to help them manage their illnesses. From asthma and sleep apnea, to COPD and respiratory rehabilitation, his passion for research has led him to look into these topics in more depth so that care can be improved.
“It’s all about following curiosities that have not been resolved,” says Iqbal, adding that often when one question is answered, many more come up in it’s place. Iqbal also stands by the statement that doing research doesn’t require as much work as one may think.
“It is a bit more work, but it doesn’t have to be a lot more work,” he says. “We have a great research infrastructure here in the hospital—research coordinators, facilitators, advisory committee and VCHRI are all here to support us,” adding that there are many health care professionals and students that are happy to support projects where they can.
One of his many current studies is one that looks at the correlation between sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation (AF) .
The study showed that about 49 percent of patients with atrial fibrillation have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. For most patients, the traditional CPAP treatment seems to improve outcomes for atrial fibrillation, but the research team wanted to investigate this further. Now, thanks to the VCHRI team grant, a group of investigators led by cardiologist Dr. Teddy Orenstein will conduct a randomized controlled trial in Richmond in the new-year. The trial will look at atrial fibrillation outcomes with CPAP treatment and cardiac rehabilitation compared to usual care. The one year pilot study, will recruit about 40 patients and involve many experts of varying disciplines such as dieticians, cardiologists, bariatrics, and rehab.
“Projects like this bring research in Richmond to a higher level,” says Iqbal.
Iqbal’s best advice? Start talking about your idea!
“If anyone has an research idea they’d like to explore, start sharing it. Talk to you colleagues, the research team, and VCHRI—they’ll help you find other people who can be involved and get it off the ground.”
For more information on VCHRI, visit their website.