Research into heart surgery risk assessment by a 5th year medical student won out against surgical registrars from across Australasia to take out a top cardiothoracic surgery prize.

Navneet Singh, a student attached to Waikato Hospital’s Cardiothoracic Unit, won the Obex Prize for Best Registrar Paper with his research looking at developing a risk assessment tool for Kiwi patients undergoing heart surgery.

It was the first time in the 20-year history of the NZ National Cardiothoracic Surgery Meeting, that a medical student took out the prize which is an open competition from registrars throughout Australasia and is judged by an international expert panel.

Singh’s winning presentation to the recent Rotorua meeting was called “Assessing the validity of EuroSCORE II – the Waikato experience.”

He said there are standard risk tools developed in other countries but his research so far was indicating that these were not applicable to all equivalent heart patient categories in New Zealand.

“My role at the conference was to encourage cardiac surgery health professionals and hospitals in New Zealand to work together to develop a New Zealand-specific cardiac surgery risk assessment system so we can estimate the operative risk of our patients in a more accurate manner, and therefore do the best by our patients,” Singh says.

Navneet Singh is supervised by Damian Gimpel (registrar), David McCormack and Adam El Gamel (cardiothoracic surgeons) at Waikato Hospital.

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