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Raghad Abdulmajeed is completing her thesis to evaluate wearable heart rate and activity trackers for remote monitoring of patients with heart failure. She is an MHSc candidate from the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering’s Clinical Engineering program.

1. What is your research focus?

Heart failure is a chronic disease that is characterized by high morbidity and mortality rate, as well as the highest readmission rate among all other chronic diseases. Around 50% of heart failure patients are readmitted to the hospital within 6 months of discharge. When a patient is readmitted, a knowledge gap is introduced due to the lack of important clinical information that exist between the discharge time and readmission time. We are trying to examine the feasibility of utilizing wearable heart rate and activity trackers to monitor critical clinical indicators remotely, and determine its effectiveness in identifying early warning signs of decompensation.

2. How has your graduate journey been so far?

It all started with an agreement on a thesis project and one strong handshake with my supervisor, Dr. Joe Cafazzo. As any graduate journey, everything seemed to be a bit complicated at the beginning, but with the support of Joe and the team, I was able to quickly learn and improve my knowledge and skills. It is a real-life learning experience that definitely helped me in shaping my future career perspectives.

3. How has it been working with the team at the Centre?

The team here is very passionate about the work they are doing, and working with them is a great opportunity. Probably one of my biggest fears was to get stuck in routinized graduate work and life style, but being here at the Centre with fun people around made things much easier!

4. Where is your favourite spot to wind down in the Centre?

The Centre named different areas in the open space after various neighbourhoods in Toronto, and I like to work at “The Beaches” area. Well, it doesn’t look like a beach at all, but you still get to enjoy the brightness of the sun as you work right in front of the windows, where families of pigeons also like to rest.

5. What was the most surprising, unexpected, or fascinating thing that has happened while you were doing your project?

What is still shocking me is the fact that 50% of heart failure patients are readmitted within 6 months of hospital discharge. I have been working on this study for 18 months now, but this is still difficult to sink in. Every time I think about the numbers and the consequences on patients, I realize how important it is to work towards improving their quality of life.