This study sought to determine the impact of a cadaver-based airway lab on critical care medicine fellows' direct laryngoscopy skills and hypothesised that fellows can improve their self-reported percentage of glottic opening (POGO) scores in cadaver models to achieve POGO scores similar to that of expert faculty. Nineteen fellows attended an airway management skills laboratory utilising five modified cadavers. Initial fellow POGO (POGOi) visualised was recorded at the onset with direct laryngoscopy. Maximum fellow POGO score with optimised direct laryngoscopy was recorded after two additional hours of teaching and also during a testing phase several days later. Data was assessed for significant differences between trainee POGO scores at each time interval and between trainee POGO scores and expert scores. A departmental procedural database was utilised to examine success rates of intubation as a clinical correlation. Fellows' mean POGOi scores, averaged across all five specimens, were significantly lower than both their maximum POGO scores and their testing phase POGO scores. Mean POGOi scores for fellows, averaged over all five cadavers, were lower than the instructors' POGOi scores. There was no difference between fellows' and instructors' mean maximum POGO or mean testing phase POGO scores. Clinical success rates of intubation were over 98%. A short training session using modified cadavers can be utilised to teach new critical care medicine fellows additional techniques for airway management and assist them in obtaining higher POGO scores, similar to those of expert instructors. Success rates of clinical intubations were favourable in the wake of this training.
Keywords: airway management; education; simulation.