The Benefits and Limitations of Targeted Training in Flexible Transnasal Laryngoscopy Diagnosis

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Targeted laryngoscopy training can be used successfully in de novo learners.


To determine the value of targeted laryngoscopy education in interns.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This prospective study of fiberoptic laryngoscopy interpretations enrolled 13 participants in an academic hospital setting from August 1 to December 31, 2015. Participants included 10 postgraduate year 1 emergency and otolaryngology interns and 3 board-certified otolaryngology attending physicians.


Participants viewed 25 selected and digitally recorded fiberoptic laryngoscopies and were asked to rate 13 items relating to abnormalities in the pharynx, hypopharynx, larynx, and subglottis; the level of concern; and confidence with the diagnosis. A laryngoscopy teaching video was then administered to the interns before rating a second set of 25 videos. Improvement in diagnosis and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated for each question and compared between the first and second administration.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Improvement in correct diagnosis of abnormalities in recorded laryngoscopies.


All 13 participants completed the interventions. The ICCs for all questions were generally low for the intern groups and higher for the attending group. For vocal cord mobility, a preintervention ICC of 0.25 (95% CI, 0.16-0.37) improved to 0.47 (95% CI, 0.36-0.59) among interns after the intervention. The ICCs for vocal cord mobility were higher among attendings for the preintervention (0.89; 95% CI, 0.84-0.93) and postintervention (0.89; 95% CI, 0.83-0.93) assessments. Minimal improvement was observed in intern scores for base of tongue abnormalities, subglottic stenosis, vocal cord abnormalities, level of comfort, level of concern, pharyngeal abnormalities, or laryngeal, pharyngeal, and hypopharyngeal masses.

Conclusions and Relevance

Learning of flexible laryngoscopy can be improved with the use of a teaching video; however, additional interventions are needed to attain competence in accurately diagnosing upper airway lesions. Clinicians who seek to perform flexible laryngoscopy require robust training.

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