Background and study aim: The learning curve for endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) is known to be difficult, especially in the field of pancreatic and biliary diseases. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of a live pig model developed for EUS credentialing in France.
Methods: A total of 17 trainees obtained hands-on EUS experience using a live pig model. Trainees were asked to visualize anatomical structures, to carry out fine-needle aspiration (FNA) on lymph nodes in the liver hilum, and to perform celiac neurolysis. Assessment of the FNA procedure or celiac neurolysis included measurement of time (seconds), evaluation of the precision of the puncture (mm), and existence of technical errors.
Results: A significant improvement between a pre-test and post-test was observed for diagnostic procedures in the following anatomical areas: splenic mesenteric vein, vena cava, splenic mesenteric artery, celiac tree, pancreatic gland, and bile duct. For lymph node FNA, a significant improvement was observed in the duration of the procedure (84 seconds vs. 60 seconds; P = 0.01), and precision (4.2 mm vs. 1.8 mm; P = 0.009), but not for the rate of technical error (29% vs. 6%; not significant [n. s.]). For celiac neurolysis, a significant improvement was observed in procedure time (150 seconds vs. 84 seconds; P = 0.003), but not in the rate of technical error (6% vs. 6%; n. s.) or precision (4.2 mm vs. 2.8 mm; n. s.).
Conclusion: Teaching EUS with a live pig model significantly increased competence in diagnostic procedures with regard to visualizing anatomical structures, performance of FNA and, to a lesser extent, EUS-guided celiac neurolysis.