Simulation-based training to teach open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair to surgical residents requires dedicated faculty instruction

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Abstract

Objective

We assessed the impact of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)-specific simulation training on resident performance in simulated open AAA repair (SOAAAR) and determined whether simulation training required dedicated faculty instruction.

Methods

We randomized 18 residents (postgraduate years 3–5) to an AAA simulation course consisting of two mandatory practice sessions proctored either by a surgical skills lab coordinator (Group A, n = 8) or by a vascular surgery faculty instructor (Group B, n = 10). All residents received a detailed manual and video demonstrating the technique of open AAA repair. Using a validated tool, vascular faculty who were blinded to resident identity, level of training, and randomization status graded SOAAAR performance via videos that were recorded before and after the course.

Results

Characteristics and baseline scores between Groups A and B were not different. Postcourse, there was a no significant improvement in performance in Group A. Group B performance was improved significantly from baseline with regard to task-specific checklist scores (44.1 ± 6.3 vs 34.9 ± .5; P = .02), global rating scores (28.4 ± .6 vs 25.3 ± 5.0; P = .049), and overall assessment of operative competence (P = .02). Time to complete SOAAAR improved in both groups (P = .02). Baseline performance varied significantly with year of training as measured by task-specific checklist scores, global rating scores, final product analysis, time to complete repair, and overall operative competence. Improvement varied inversely with year of training (P < .05) and postcourse scores were equivalent for postgraduate year 3–5 residents.

Conclusions

An AAA-specific simulation training course improved resident performance in simulated open AAA repair. Dedicated faculty instruction during the simulation training was required for significant improvement in resident performance. The impact of simulation training was greatest in more junior residents. Procedure-specific simulation training with dedicated faculty can be used to effectively teach simulated open AAA repair.

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