Novel Dry-Lab Training Method for Totally Endoscopic Coronary Anastomosis: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

Objective

We describe our original dry-lab training system for nonrobotic and beating heart endoscopic coronary artery anastomosis.

Methods

All the materials used for this training were commercially available. We selected a boxed machine, which can produce pulsatile movements of artificial vessels, and on its roof, we installed a two-dimensional home video camera and a monitor. A multiple-holed plate was placed in front of the machine, and through these holes, a trainee inserted endoscopic surgical instruments and anastomosed the artificial vessels by running fashion while watching the monitor. This training program has four stages. During the first stage, a trainee has to demonstrate mastery in conducting a conventional off-pump coronary artery anastomosis without assistance. The second stage is the “nonbeating” version, and the third stage is the “beating” version with the model mentioned previously. After a trainee gets accustomed to the third stage, the original artificial vessel is replaced with an extremely fragile one, and this is the fourth stage. Our trainee conducted one hundred fourth-stage anastomoses and each procedure was recorded with the video camera. We analyzed several factors from the videos and evaluated the efficacy of the training method. We compared the outcomes of the first 50 consecutive anastomoses with the following 50 ones and described the learning curves.

Results

The comparison showed a significant decrease in anastomotic time and vessel injury. We considered the quality of anastomosis acceptable after 47 anastomoses, and anastomotic time fell below 15 minutes at the 81st training at the fourth stage.

Conclusions

Our dry-lab system might be an effective training method for endoscopic coronary anastomosis.

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