Usefulness of an Intrapartum Ultrasound Simulator (IUSim™) for Midwife Training: Results from an RCT

Fetal Diagn Ther. 2020 Dec 9;1-8. doi: 10.1159/000512047. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: We conducted a randomized study to determine whether a training session on a dedicated simulator (IUSim™) would facilitate the midwives in learning the technique of transperineal intrapartum ultrasound.

Methods: Following a 30-min multimedia presentation including images and videos on how to obtain and measure the angle of progression (AoP) and the head-perineum distance (HPD), 6 midwives with no prior experience in intrapartum ultrasound were randomly split into 2 groups: 3 of them were assigned to the "training group" and 3 to the "control group." The midwives belonging to the former group were taught to measure the 2 sonographic parameters during a 3-h practical session conducted on IUSim™ under the supervision of an expert obstetrician. In the following 3 months, all the 6 midwives were asked to independently perform transperineal ultrasound during their clinical practice and to measure on the acquired images either the AoP or the HPD. The sonographic images were examined in blind by the teaching obstetrician who assigned a 0-3 score to the image quality (IQS) and to the measurement quality (MQS).

Results: A total of 48 ultrasound images (24 patients) from 5 midwives were acquired and included in the study analysis. A midwife of the "training group" declined participation after the practical session. Independently from the randomization group, the image quality score (IQS + MQS) was significantly higher for the HPD compared with the AoP (2.5 ± 0.66 vs. 1.79 ± 1.14; p = 0.01). In the training group, the MQS of either AoP (2.66 ± 0.5 vs.1.46 ± 1.45. p = 0.038) and the HPD (2.9 ± 0.33 vs. 1.87 ± 0.83 p = 0.002) was significantly higher in comparison with the control group, while the IQS of both measurements was comparable between the 2 groups (1.91 ± 1.24 vs. 2.25 ± 0.865; p = 0.28).

Conclusion: The use of a dedicated simulator may facilitate the midwives in learning how to measure the AoP and the HPD on transperineal ultrasound images.

Keywords: Angle of progression; Head-perineum distance; Intrapartum ultrasound; Simulator; Training.