An Evaluation of a Virtual Reality Airway Simulator

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In this research, we sought to test the hypothesis that the AccuTouch® Flexible Bronchoscopy Simulator (Simulator) is an effective way to teach clinicians the psychomotor skills necessary to use the fiberoptic bronchoscope as an instrument for intubating the trachea of a pediatric patient. Pediatric residents with no prior experience in fiberoptic bronchoscopy were studied. Residents performed fiberoptic intubation on children undergoing general anesthesia. Tapes of these intubations were analyzed for: time to visualization of the carina, and number and time that the bronchoscope tip hit the mucosa. Residents were then trained on the Simulator. Performance of fiberoptic intubation on a subsequent child was compared. Training on the Simulator was the only instruction that the residents received between the two cases. A control group of residents performed two consecutive intubations without training on the Simulator between cases. Residents studied an average of 17 cases, and spent 39 min on the Simulator. Performance was markedly improved after the Simulator. Time to completion of successful intubation with a bronchoscope was reduced from 5.15 to 0.88 min (P < 0.001). The number of times that the tip of the bronchoscope hit the mucosa was reduced from 21.4 to 3.0 (P < 0.001). The amount of time that the resident spent viewing the mucosa decreased from 2.24 to 0.19 min (P < 0.001). The percent of time viewing the channel of the airway increased from 58.5% to 80.4% (P = 0.004). This bronchoscopy simulator was very effective in teaching residents the psychomotor skills necessary for fiberoptic intubation. Significant improvement was seen in time to completion of endotracheal intubation, as well as other performance indicators.

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