Background: The Erlangen Active Simulator for Interventional Endoscopy (EASIE) was introduced in 1997 for interventional endoscopy training. compactEASIE developed in 1998 is a modified, light-weight version of the original model. Objective evidence of the benefits of training with these models is limited. A randomized controlled study, therefore, was conducted to compare the effects of intensive 7-month, hands-on training in hemostatic techniques by using the compactEASIE model (in addition to clinical endoscopic training) vs. pure clinical training in endoscopic hemostatic methods.
Methods: Thirty-seven fellows in gastroenterology in New York City area training programs were enrolled. Baseline skills were assessed on the simulator for the following techniques: manual skills, injection and electrocoagulation, hemoclip application, and variceal ligation. Twenty-eight fellows were then randomized into two comparable groups. Those randomized to Group A received purely clinical training in endoscopic hemostatic techniques at their hospitals. Those in Group B, in addition, were trained by experienced tutors in 3 full-day hemostasis workshops over 7 months. Both groups underwent a final evaluation on the compactEASIE simulator conducted by their tutors and additional evaluators who were blinded to the method of training. Initial and final evaluation scores were compared for each group and between groups. Outcomes of actual clinical hemostatic procedures performed during the study period also were analyzed.
Results: Ten of 14 fellows randomized to Group A (standard training) and 13 of 14 in Group B (intensive training) returned for the final evaluation. For Group B, scores for all techniques were significantly improved. In Group A, a significant improvement was noted for variceal ligation alone.
Conclusions: compactEASIE simulator training (3 sessions over 7 months), together with clinical endoscopic training resulted in objective improvement in the performance by fellows of all 4 endoscopic hemostatic techniques, whereas significant improvement was noted for variceal ligation alone for fellows who had standard clinical training. In clinical practice, fellows who had intensive simulator/clinical training had a significantly higher success rate and a nonsignificant reduction in the frequency of occurrence of complications.