Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine whether performance on a simulator model of carotid artery stenting correlates with previous endovascular experience and to assess the effects of repetition and training.
Methods: Participants were stratified to untrained and advanced skill groups on the basis of number of endovascular procedures previously performed. Baseline performance was assessed by means of a pretest, and participants were randomized to practice and no-practice groups. Practice consisted of a 30-minute to 60-minute proctored session before taking a final test; those in the no-practice group proceeded directly to the final test without this session. Primary outcomes were completion of a standardized protocol and the length of time needed to complete all steps.
Results: Twenty-nine subjects (16 untrained, 13 advanced) participated fully in the study. Ninety-two percent of participants in the advanced group successfully completed the pretest, versus 63% in the untrained group (P = .09); mean time to successful completion was 29.9 +/- 4.8 (mean +/- SD) versus 48.0 +/- 9.9 minutes, respectively (P < .001). Subjects who received no practice did not significantly improve their completion times between pretest and final test, whereas those who received practice did (novice, 47.9 +/- 7.0 minutes vs 24.5 +/- 2.9 minutes, P < .001; advanced, 29.6 +/- 3.1 minutes vs 20.2 +/- 4.1 minutes, P < .001). The group without previous training had significantly more time improvement from training than did the advanced group. Exit survey results showed that those who had the opportunity to practice more commonly believed that the simulator increased their endovascular skills and interest in vascular surgery (both P < .01 vs untrained group).
Conclusions: Performance on the carotid stenting simulator correlated with previous endovascular experience. Although both novice and advanced groups improved their time after a 30-minute to 60-minute proctored training session, improvement in the novice group was greater than that in the advanced group, which suggests that novices may benefit disproportionately from this type of training.