Teaching Endotracheal Intubation Using a Cadaver Versus a Manikin-based Model: a Randomized Controlled Trial

West J Emerg Med. 2019 Dec 9;21(1):108-114. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2019.10.44522.


Introduction: The optimal method to train novice learners to perform endotracheal intubation (ETI) is unknown. The study objective was to compare two models: unembalmed cadaver vs simulation manikin.

Methods: Fourth-year medical students, stratified by baseline ETI experience, were randomized 1:1 to train on a cadaver or simulation manikin. Students were tested and video recorded on a separate cadaver; two reviewers, blinded to the intervention, assessed the videos. Primary outcome was time to successful ETI, analyzed with a Cox proportional hazards model. Authors also compared percentage of glottic opening (POGO), number of ETI attempts, learner confidence, and satisfaction.

Results: Of 97 students randomized, 78 were included in the final analysis. Median time to ETI did not differ significantly (hazard ratio [HR] 1.1; 95% CI [confidence interval], 0.7-1.8): cadaver group = 34.5 seconds (interquartile ratio [IQR]: 23.3-55.8) vs manikin group = 35.5 seconds (IQR: 23.8-80.5), with no difference in first-pass success (odds ratio [OR] = 1; 95% CI, 0.1-7.5) or median POGO: 80% cadaver vs 90% manikin (95% CI, -14-34%). Satisfaction was higher for cadavers (median difference = 0.5; p = 0.002; 95% CI, 0-1) as was change in student confidence (median difference = 0.5; p = 0.03; 95% CI, 0-1). Students rating their confidence a 5 ("extremely confident") demonstrated decreased time to ETI (HR = 4.2; 95% CI, 1.0-17.2).

Conclusion: Manikin and cadaver training models for ETI produced similar time to ETI, POGO, and first-pass success. Cadaver training was associated with increased student satisfaction and confidence; subjects with the highest confidence level demonstrated decreased time to ETI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Female
  • Glottis
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Los Angeles
  • Male
  • Manikins
  • Prospective Studies
  • Students, Medical
  • Teaching*
  • Video Recording