Background: Standardized training via simulation as an educational adjunct may lead to a more rapid and complete skill achievement. The authors hypothesized that simulation training will also enhance performance in transesophageal echocardiography image acquisition among anesthesia residents.
Methods: A total of 42 clinical anesthesia residents were randomized to one of two groups: a control group, which received traditional didactic training, and a simulator group, whose training used a transesophageal echocardiography-mannequin simulator. Each participating resident was directed to obtain 10 commonly used standard views on an anesthetized patient under attending supervision. Each of the 10 selected echocardiographic views were evaluated on a grading scale of 0 to 10, according to predetermined criteria. The effect of the intervention was assessed by using a linear mixed model implemented in SAS 9.3 (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC).
Results: Residents in the simulation group obtained significantly higher-quality images with a mean total image quality score of 83 (95% CI, 74 to 92) versus the control group score of 67 (95% CI, 58 to 76); P = 0.016. On average, 71% (95% CI, 58 to 85) of images acquired by each resident in the simulator group were acceptable for clinical use compared with 48% (95% CI, 35 to 62) in the control; P = 0.021. Additionally, the mean difference in score between training groups was the greatest for the clinical anesthesia-1 residents (difference 24; P = 0.031; n = 7 per group) and for those with no previous transesophageal echocardiography experience (difference 26; P = 0.005; simulator n = 13; control n = 11).
Conclusion: Simulation-based transesophageal echocardiography education enhances image acquisition skills in anesthesiology residents.