Image credit: Society for Medical Student Research, SMS

The Epidemiology of Pheochromocytoma - Is the Incidence Increasing?: Study design and preliminary data (poster presentation)


Background: Though pheochromocytoma is a rare disease, it is a frequent diagnostic dilemma in adrenal incidentaloma individuals necessitating clarification due to the potential life-threatening nature of pheochromocytoma. There is a widespread perception of an increase in the number of patients with pheochromocytoma, but the true incidence, morbidity and mortality associated with pheochromocytoma remains to be fully elucidated. Materials and methods: The cohort of potential cases of pheochromocytoma patients was identified with a data extract on relevant diagnoses from the National Patient Registry covering all years 1977-2014. In addition, data extracts from the National Pathology Registry, the Danish Registry of Causes of Death and the Danish Cancer Registry was performed to identify missing patients in the National Patient Registry. The pheochromocytoma diagnosis is currently being verified by a thorough study of the health records of all potential cases. When a diagnosis is confirmed or suspected, details - including age at diagnosis, symptoms at diagnosis, co-morbidity, location of pheochromocytoma, hereditary predisposition, operational technique, recurrence, etc. - is entered into a new database. These data will be used to describe the presentation of the disease in the clinic. Incidence rates of pheochromocytoma will be analyzed using Poisson regression, and confidence limits using an approximation to Poisson distribution. Prelimanary Results: The process of verifying pheochromocytoma is still ongoing with 107 cases of pheochromocyoma currently verified.

Nyborg, Denmark

My first scientific presentation ever! Given at a conference for Danish medical students doing pregraduate research. The purpose of the conference is to enable young investigators to hone their presentation skills and do their mistakes before venturing out on the larger conference.

As I had only just started on my research project, I only presented my protocol and some preliminary data. With the purpose of the conference in mind, I decided to go all in on an eye-catching design of the poster to attract attension. I used the proverb “when you hear hoofbeats think horses not zebras” as inspiration for the theme of the poster design. I used safari-themed colors and topped it of with some hoof-prints from the rare pheochromocytoma-zebra-patients, that I was hunting for in my project and voilá: one catchy poster.

Given that several people still remembered the “zebra-poster” several years later, the poster was an absolute success! Only one minor flaw: The poster was thoroughly uninformative unless I was present at all time to explain the project. Lesson learned…

The Epidemiology of Pheochromocytoma - Is the Incidence Increasing?: Study design and preliminary data. Hunting for zebras (and pheochromocytoma patients). A poster presented at KMS 2016)