Generative Retrieval Improves Learning and Retention of Cardiac Anatomy Using Transesophageal Echocardiography

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is a valuable monitor for patients undergoing cardiac and noncardiac surgery as it allows for evaluation of cardiovascular compromise in the perioperative period. It is challenging for anesthesiology residents and medical students to learn to use and interpret TEE in the clinical environment. A critical component of learning to use and interpret TEE is a strong grasp of normal cardiovascular ultrasound anatomy.

METHODS:

Fifteen fourth-year medical students and 15 post-graduate year (PGY) 1 and 2 anesthesiology residents without prior training in cardiac anesthesia or TEE viewed normal cardiovascular anatomy TEE video clips; participants were randomized to learning cardiac anatomy in generative retrieval (GR) and standard practice (SP) groups. GR participants were required to verbally identify each unlabeled cardiac anatomical structure within 10 seconds of the TEE video appearing on the screen. Then a correctly labeled TEE video clip was shown to the GR participant for 5 more seconds. SP participants viewed the same TEE video clips as GR but there was no requirement for SP participants to generate an answer; for the SP group, each TEE video image was labeled with the correctly identified anatomical structure for the 15 second period. All participants were tested for intermediate (1 week) and late (1 month) retention of normal TEE cardiovascular anatomy. Improvement of intermediate and late retention of TEE cardiovascular anatomy was evaluated using a linear mixed effects model with random intercepts and random slopes.

RESULTS:

There was no statistically significant difference in baseline score between GR (49% ± 11) and SP (50% ± 12), with mean difference (95% CI) -1.1% (-9.5, 7.3%). At 1 week following the educational intervention, GR (90% ± 5) performed significantly better than SP (82% ± 11), with mean difference (95% CI) 8.1% (1.9, 14.2%); P = .012. This significant increase in scores persisted in the late posttest session at one month (GR: 83% ± 12; SP: 72% ± 12), with mean difference (95% CI) 10.2% (1.3 to 19.1%); P = .026. Mixed effects analysis showed significant improvements in TEE cardiovascular anatomy over time, at 5.9% and 3.5% per week for GR and SP groups respectively (P = .0003), and GR improved marginally faster than SP (P = .065).

CONCLUSIONS:

Medical students and anesthesiology residents inexperienced in the use of TEE showed both improved learning and retention of basic cardiovascular ultrasound anatomy with the incorporation of GR into the educational experience.

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