Needs assessment for an errors-based curriculum on thoracoscopic lobectomy

Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Aug;94(2):368-73. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.04.023. Epub 2012 May 24.


Background: Research suggests a benefit from a skills curriculum emphasizing error prevention, identification, and management. Our purpose was to identify common errors committed by trainees during simulated thoracoscopic lobectomy for use in developing an error-based curriculum.

Methods: Twenty-one residents (postgraduate years 1 to 8) performed a thoracoscopic left upper lobectomy on a previously validated simulator. Videos of the procedure were reviewed in a blinded fashion using a checklist listing 66 possible cognitive and technical errors.

Results: Of the 21 residents, 15 (71%) self-reported completing the anatomic lobectomy; however, only 7 (33%) had actually divided all of the necessary structures correctly. While dissecting the superior pulmonary vein, 16 residents (76%) made at least one error. The most common (n=13, 62%) was dissecting individual branches rather than the entire vein. On the bronchus, 14 (67%) made at least one error. Again, the most common (n=9, 43%) was dissecting branches. During these tasks, cognitive errors were more common than technical errors. While dissecting arterial branches, 18 residents (86%) made at least one error. Technical and cognitive errors occurred with equal frequency during arterial dissection. The most common arterial error was excess tension on the vessel (n=10, 48%).

Conclusions: Curriculum developers should identify skill-specific technical and judgment errors to verify the scope of errors typically committed. For a thoracoscopic lobectomy curriculum, emphasis should be placed on correct identification of anatomic landmarks during dissection of the vein and airway and on proper tissue handling technique during arterial dissection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Pneumonectomy / education*
  • Pneumonectomy / methods*
  • Problem-Based Learning*
  • Thoracoscopy / education*