Simulator based angiography education in neurosurgery: results of a pilot educational program.J Neurointerv Surg. 2012 Nov; 4(6):438-41.JN
The use of simulators in medical training has been on the rise over the past decade as a means to teach procedural skills to trainees in a risk free environment. The goal of this study was to pilot a simulator based skills course for inexperienced neurosurgical residents to teach the fundamentals of cervicocerebral catheterization and angiography, with the ultimate goal of defining a universal simulator based curriculum that could be incorporated into neurosurgical resident training in the future.
Seven neurosurgery residents with no prior angiographic experience served as the pilot participants for this 2 day course. Four neurointerventional trained neurosurgeons served as faculty for instruction and evaluation. The majority of the course focused on hands-on simulator practice with close mentoring by faculty. Participants were evaluated with pre-course and post-course assessments.
Post-course written test scores were significantly higher than pre-course scores (p<0.001). Faculty assessments of participants' technical skills with angiography (graded 0-10, with 10 being best) also improved significantly from pre-course to post-course (pre 2.1; post 5.9; p<0.001). Objective simulator recorded assessments demonstrated a significant decrease in the time needed to complete a four vessel angiogram (p<0.001) and total fluoroscopic time (p<0.001).
Participant angiography skills, based on both faculty and simulator assessments, as well as participant knowledge, improved after this didactic, hands-on simulator course. Neuroendovascular simulator training appears to be a viable means of training inexperienced neurosurgery residents in the early learning stages of basic endovascular neurosurgery. Further studies evaluating the translation of procedural skills learned on the simulator to actual clinical skills in the angiography suite is necessary.