Background: The objective benefit of a training using the compact Erlangen Active Simulator for Interventional Endoscopy-simulator was demonstrated in two prospective educational trials (New York, France). The present study analysed whether endoscopic novices are able to reach a comparable level of endoscopic skills as in the above-described projects.
Methods: Twenty-seven endoscopic novices (medical students, first year residents) were enrolled in this prospective, randomised trial. The compact Erlangen Active Simulator for Interventional Endoscopy-simulator with an upper GI-organ package and blood perfusion system was used as a training tool. Basic evaluation of endoscopic skills was performed after a practical and theoretical course in diagnostic upper GI endoscopy followed by a stratified randomisation according to the rating in endoscopic skills into intensive (n=14) and control group (n=13). The intensive group was trained 12 times every second week over 7 months in 4 endoscopic disciplines (manual skills, injection therapy, haemoclip, band ligation) by skilled endoscopist (three trainees/simulator). Assessment was performed (single steps/overall) using an analogue scale from 1 to 10 (1=worst, 10=optimal performance) by expert tutors. The control group was not trained. Blinded final evaluation of all participants was performed in January 2003.
Results: We observed in all techniques applied a significant improvement of endoscopic skills and of the performance time in the intensive group compared to the control group (p<0.001). The comparison with the previous projects showed that the intensively trained novices achieved comparable levels of performance to the GI fellows in the New York and France Project (at least 80% of the median score in three out of four techniques).
Conclusion: Endoscopic novices acquired notable skills in interventional endoscopy in the simulator by an intensive, periodical training using the compactEASIE.