Gastroesophageal Balloon Tamponade Simulation Training with 3D Printed Model Improves Knowledge, Skill, and Confidence

Dig Dis Sci. 2022 Aug 22. doi: 10.1007/s10620-022-07665-8. Online ahead of print.


Background: Gastroesophageal balloon tamponade (BT) tube placement is a life-saving procedure for refractory bleeding from gastroesophageal varices performed by gastroenterologists, intensivists, internists, and emergency medicine physicians. Despite a recognized need for procedural training, no standard curriculum or assessment tools exist. Given the infrequent performance of this procedure, the development of a representative and accessible simulation model would permit hands-on training to practice and maintain proficiency with BT tube placement.

Aims: To assess BT tube placement performance before and after a novel simulation-based learning module in gastroenterology fellows and faculty.

Methods: A 16-item knowledge questionnaire and 22-item procedural skill checklist utilizing a novel 3D printed esophagus model were developed to assess participant knowledge, procedural skills, and confidence prior to our simulation-based intervention and again 8-12 weeks after. Performance metrics were compared pre- and post-intervention within groups and between participant groups.

Results: Fifteen gastroenterology fellows (of 15 eligible; 100%) and 14 gastroenterology faculty (of 29 eligible; 48%) completed training. Fellows demonstrated improvement in knowledge (55% to 79%, p < 0.001) and procedural skill (35% to 57%, p < 0.001) following training. Baseline faculty performance did not differ from fellows' performance and post-intervention showed similar improvement in knowledge (61% to 77%, p = 0.001) and procedural skill (40% to 49%, p = 0.147). Overall satisfaction with training was high in both groups post-intervention and faculty felt more confident teaching fellows.

Conclusion: The presented learning module offers a unique, low stakes opportunity for learners to improve skills, gain knowledge, and build confidence in placing BT tubes using a realistic simulation model.

Keywords: Esophageal and gastric varices; Gastroesophageal balloon tamponade; Gastrointestinal hemorrhage; Medical education; Simulation training.