American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, vol. 164, issue 12 (2002) pp. 2248-2255
The study objective was to validate a flexible bronchoscopy simulator by determining if it could differentiate between expert and novice bronchoscopists. A subsequent evaluation phase was then done to determine whether use of the simulator would improve the rate of bronchoscopy skill acquisition for new pulmonary fellows. A multicenter prospective cohort study was performed using a bronchoscopy simulator. Three cohorts were evaluated based on the number of bronchoscopies previously performed: "experts" (> 500, n = 9), "intermediates" (25 to 500, n = 8), and "novices" (none, n = 11). Each participant performed two simulated cases with performance measures being recorded by the simulator. Performance measures that distinguished between groups were then used to evaluate the learning curve for new fellows training on the simulator. A randomized-controlled trial was then conducted comparing the quality of bronchoscopy performance for new pulmonary fellows who were trained either with conventional methods or with the simulator. Expert bronchoscopists performed better on the simulator than intermediates who performed better than novices in terms of procedure time, percentage of segments visualized, time in red-out, and wall collisions. Training of new fellows demonstrated that after performing 20 bronchoscopic simulations, the skill level acquired with the simulator significantly improved in terms of speed, percentage of segments visualized, time in red-out, and collisions. Fellows trained on the simulator performed better than fellows trained using conventional methods during their first actual bronchoscopies as assessed by procedure time (815 versus 1,168 s, p = 0.001), a bronchoscopy nurse's subjective quality assessment score (7.7 +/- 0.3 versus 3.7 +/- 2.5, p = 0.05), and by a quantitative bronchoscopy quality score (percentage of segments correctly identified/procedure time, 0.119 +/- 0.015 versus 0.046 +/- 034, p = 0.03). In conclusion, the bronchoscopy simulator was able to accurately assess bronchoscopy experience level. Training new fellows on the bronchoscopy simulator leads to more rapid acquisition of bronchoscopy expertise compared with conventional training methods. This technology has the potential to facilitate bronchoscopy training and to improve objective evaluations of bronchoscopy skills.
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