Competence in transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is unrelated to traditional measures of TTE competence, such as duration of training and number of examinations performed. This study aims to explore aspects of validity of an instrument for structured assessment of echocardiographic technical skills.
The study included 45 physicians with three different clinical levels of echocardiography competence who all scanned the same healthy male following national guidelines. An expert in echocardiography (OG) evaluated all the recorded, de-identified TTE images blindly using the developed instrument for assessment of TTE technical skills. The instrument consisted of both a global rating scale and a procedure specific checklist. Two scores were calculated for each examination: A global rating score and a total checklist score. OG rated ten examinations twice for intra-rater reliability, and another expert rated the same ten examinations for inter-rater reliability. A small pilot study was then performed with focus on content validity. This pilot study included nine physicians who scanned three patients with different pathologies as well as different technical difficulties.
Validity of the TTE technical skills assessment instrument was supported by a significant correlation found between level of expertise and both the global score (Spearman 0.76, p<0.0001) and the checklist score (Spearman 0.74, p<0.001). Both scores were able to distinguish between the three levels of competence that were represented in the physician group. Reliability was supported by acceptable inter- and intra-rater values. The pilot study showed a tendency to improved scores with increasing expertise levels, suggesting that the instrument could also be used when pathologies were present.
We designed and developed a structured assessment instrument of echocardiographic technical skills that showed evidence of validity in terms of high correlations between test scores on a normal person and the level of physician competence, as well as acceptable inter- and intra-rater reliability scores. Further studies should, however, be performed to determine the adequate number of assessments needed to ensure high content validity and reliability in a clinical setting.
Transthoracic echocardiography; Echocardiography; Assessment; Ultrasound; Global rating; Checklist
The purpose of this study was to compare the importance given by novice, intermediate and experienced basketball coaches to training contents. To achieve this purpose, a sample composed of Portuguese basketball coaches (n = 212) described how they rate the importance of technical, tactical, physical and drill contents. According to the results, there is a wide-ranging differential from novice to experienced coaches. First, while experienced coaches tend to focus on tactical development, novice and intermediate coaches seem to privilege the improvement of technical skills. Second, whereas significant differences between novice and intermediate coaches were found, evidence confirmed that they were higher (both in number and weight) when comparing experienced coaches against novice and intermediate. The study provided strong support to justify the necessity to adjust coaches’ knowledge to players’ biological developmental, and could form the basis of focused interventions in coaching development.
knowledge; coaching; assessment; experience
This pilot study suggests that virtual reality resectoscopic systems have the potential to measure and improve the technical skills of novices before they operate on human patients.
Background and Objectives:
Recognizing that resectoscopic simulation may have an educational role, this pilot study was designed to evaluate the face validity and educational utility of a virtual reality uterine resectoscope training system.
A pilot prospective comparative study of novice and expert hysteroscopists' performance on a targeting exercise and myomectomy with the virtual loop electrode. At baseline, expert and novice resectoscopists each performed both exercises. Following instruction, novices practiced each exercise a total of 9 times with the 10th recorded as the training outcome. Results were compared both to baseline and to those of the experts. Data were analyzed with the paired t and Wilcoxon rank sum tests as appropriate.
At baseline, all experts touched 4 targets in a mean of 33 seconds with no perforations, compared to a mean of 2 for the 11 novices in a mean of 57 seconds (P=0.0034) with one perforation. In 3 minutes, the experts removed a mean of 97.3% of the virtual myoma, compared to 66.1% for the novices (P=0.0153). On the 10th “run,” novices touched a mean of 4 targets in a mean of 23 seconds, an improvement from baseline (P=0.0004) and improved to 89% on the myoma resection exercise (P=0.0515) 36.3% over baseline.
Although this pilot study has a relatively small sample size and represents the results at one institution, it demonstrates that virtual reality resectoscopic systems have the potential to measure and improve the technical skills of novices before they operate on human patients.
Resectoscope; Hysteroscope; Virtual reality; Simulator
Image-guided percutaneous (through the skin) needle-based surgery has become part of routine clinical practice in performing procedures such as biopsies, injections and therapeutic implants. A novice physician typically performs needle interventions under the supervision of a senior physician; a slow and inherently subjective training process that lacks objective, quantitative assessment of the surgical skill and performance[S1]. Shortening the learning curve and increasing procedural consistency are important factors in assuring high-quality medical care.
This paper describes a laboratory validation system, called Perk Station, for standardized training and performance measurement under different assistance techniques for needle-based surgical guidance systems. The initial goal of the Perk Station is to assess and compare different techniques: 2D image overlay, biplane laser guide, laser protractor and conventional freehand. The main focus of this manuscript is the planning and guidance software system developed on the 3D Slicer platform, a free, open source software package designed for visualization and analysis of medical image data.
The prototype Perk Station has been successfully developed, the associated needle insertion phantoms were built, and the graphical user interface was fully implemented. The system was inaugurated in undergraduate teaching and a wide array of outreach activities. Initial results, experiences, ongoing activities and future plans are reported.
Image Guidance; Needle Placement; Augmented Reality; Surgical Training
Microteaching, a teacher training technique currently practiced worldwide, provides teachers an opportunity to perk up their teaching skills by improving the various simple tasks called teaching skills. With the proven success among the novice and seniors, microteaching helps to promote real-time teaching experiences. The core skills of microteaching such as presentation and reinforcement skills help the novice teachers to learn the art of teaching at ease and to the maximum extent. The impact of this technique has been widely seen in various forms of education such as health sciences, life sciences, and other areas. The emerging changes in medical curricula by the Medical Council of India and the role of medical teachers envisage the need of this special training of teachers and monitoring of their skills for their continued efficient performance at any age. The alleged limitations of microteaching can be minimized by implementing this at the departmental level in several sequences. The author made literature search of research and review articles in various educational databases, journals, and books. From the reference list of published articles, books were also reviewed. This paper presents an outline of the various phases of microteaching, core teaching skills, implementation aspects, and the impact of microteaching on medical education.
Microteaching; medical education; teacher training; teaching skills; teach-re teach
Despite the increasing penetration of the Internet and amount of online health information, there are significant barriers that limit its widespread adoption as a source of health information. One is the “digital divide,” with people of higher socioeconomic position (SEP) demonstrating greater access and usage compared to those from lower SEP groups. However, as the access gap narrows over time and more people use the Internet, a shift in research needs to occur to explore how one might improve Internet use as well as website design for a range of audiences. This is particularly important in the case of novice users who may not have the technical skills, experience, or social connections that could help them search for health information using the Internet. The focus of our research is to investigate the challenges in the implementation of a project to improve health information seeking among low SEP groups. The goal of the project is not to promote health information seeking as much as to understand the barriers and facilitators to computer and Internet use, beyond access, among members of lower SEP groups in an urban setting.
The purpose was to qualitatively describe participants’ self-identified barriers and facilitators to computer and Internet use during a 1-year pilot study as well as the challenges encountered by the research team in the delivery of the intervention.
Between August and November 2005, 12 low-SEP urban individuals with no or limited computer and Internet experience were recruited through a snowball sampling. Each participant received a free computer system, broadband Internet access, monthly computer training courses, and technical support for 1 year as the intervention condition. Upon completion of the study, participants were offered the opportunity to complete an in-depth semistructured interview. Interviews were approximately 1 hour in length and were conducted by the project director. The interviews were held in the participants’ homes and were tape recorded for accuracy. Nine of the 12 study participants completed the semistructured interviews. Members of the research team conducted a qualitative analysis based on the transcripts from the nine interviews using the crystallization/immersion method.
Nine of the 12 participants completed the in-depth interview (75% overall response rate), with three men and six women agreeing to be interviewed. Major barriers to Internet use that were mentioned included time constraints and family conflict over computer usage. The monthly training classes and technical assistance components of the intervention surfaced as the most important facilitators to computer and Internet use. The concept of received social support from other study members, such as assistance with computer-related questions, also emerged as an important facilitator to overall computer usage.
This pilot study offers important insights into the self-identified barriers and facilitators in computer and Internet use among urban low-SEP novice users as well as the challenges faced by the research team in implementing the intervention.
Digital divide; health information seeking; health disparities
To help referring physicians extract clinically useful information from
transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) reports, highlighting current practice
and innovations that are reflected with increasing frequency in reports
issued by echocardiac laboratories.
QUALITY OF EVIDENCE
Echocardiography is an established science. The field has a large body of
literature, including peer-reviewed articles and textbooks describing the
physics, techniques, and clinical applications of TTE.
Transthoracic echocardiography is a basic tool for diagnosis and follow-up of
heart disease. Items of interest in TTE reports can be categorized. In
clinical practice, TTE results are best interpreted with a view to
underlying cardiac physiology and patients’ clinical status. Knowing the
inherent limitations of TTE will help referring physicians to interpret
results and to avoid misdiagnoses based on false assumptions about the
A structured approach to reading TTE reports can assist physicians in
extracting clinically useful information from them, while avoiding common
Improving quality of primary care is a key focus of international health policy. Current quality improvement efforts place a large focus on technical, clinical aspects of quality, but a comprehensive approach to quality improvement should also include interpersonal care. Two methods of improving the quality of interpersonal care in primary care have been proposed. One involves the feedback of patient assessments of interpersonal care to physicians, and the other involves brief training and education programmes. This study therefore reviewed the efficacy of (i) feedback of real patient assessments of interpersonal care skills, (ii) brief training focused on the improvement of interpersonal care (iii) interventions combining both (i) and (ii)
Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Three electronic databases were searched (CENTRAL, Medline and Embase) and augmented by searches of the bibliographies of retrieved articles. The quality of studies was appraised and results summarised in narrative form.
Nine studies were included (two patient based feedback studies and seven brief training studies). Of the two feedback studies, one reported a significant positive effect. Only one training study reported a significant positive effect.
There is limited evidence concerning the effects of patient based feedback. There is reasonable evidence that brief training as currently delivered is not effective, although the evidence is not definitive, due to the small number of trials and the variation in the training methods and goals. The lack of effectiveness of these methods may reflect a number of issues, such as differences in the effectiveness of the interventions in experienced practitioners and those in training, the lack of theory linking feedback to behaviour change, failure to provide sufficient training or to use a comprehensive range of behaviour change techniques. Further research into both feedback and brief training interventions is required before these interventions are routinely introduced to improve patient satisfaction with interpersonal care in primary care. The interventions to be tested in future research should consider using insights from the wider literature on communication outside primary care, might benefit from a clearer theoretical basis, and should examine the use of combined brief training and feedback.
Attention to the road is essential to safe driving, but the development of appropriate
eye glance scanning behaviors may require substantial driving experience. Novice teen drivers may
focus almost exclusively on the road ahead rather than scanning the mirrors, and when performing
secondary tasks, they may spend more time with eyes on the task than on the road. This paper
examines the extent to which the scanning of novice teens improves with experience. For this study,
18 novice teen (younger than 17.5 years old) and 18 experienced adult drivers performed a set of
in-vehicle tasks and a baseline driving segment on a test track, the teens within 4 weeks of
licensure and then again 6 months later. This paper addresses the following questions: Did teen eye
glance performance improve from initial assessment? Did teens and adults still differ after 6
months? Results for some tasks showed that rearview and left mirror–window (LM-W) glances
improved for teens from initial testing to the 6-month follow-up and that some differences between
teens and adults at initial testing were no longer significant at the 6-month follow-up, suggesting
significant learning effects. The frequency of rearview and LM-W glances during secondary tasks
improved among teens at the 6-month follow-up, but teens still had significantly fewer glances to
mirrors than did adults when engaged in a secondary task.
Background. The potential of pocket-sized ultrasound devices (PUDs) to improve global healthcare delivery is limited by the lack of a suitable imaging protocol and trained users. Therefore, we investigated the feasibility of performing a brief, evidence-based cardiac limited ultrasound exam (CLUE) through wireless guidance of novice users. Methods. Three trainees applied PUDs on 27 subjects while directed by an off-site cardiologist to obtain a CLUE to screen for LV systolic dysfunction (LVSD), LA enlargement (LAE), ultrasound lung comets (ULC+), and elevated CVP (eCVP). Real-time remote audiovisual guidance and interpretation by the cardiologist were performed using the iPhone 4/iPod (FaceTime, Apple, Inc.) attached to the PUD and transmitted data wirelessly. Accuracy and technical quality of transmitted images were compared to on-site, gold-standard echo thresholds. Results. Novice versus sonographer imaging yielded technically adequate views in 122/135 (90%) versus 130/135 (96%) (P < 0.05). CLUE's combined SN, SP, and ACC were 0.67, 0.96, and 0.90. Technical adequacy (%) and accuracy for each abnormality (n) were LVSD (85%, 0.93, n = 5), LAE (89%, 0.74, n = 16), ULC+ (100%, 0.94, n = 5), and eCVP (78%, 0.91, n = 1). Conclusion. A novice can perform the CLUE using PUD when wirelessly guided by an expert. This method could facilitate PUD use for off-site bedside medical decision making and triaging of patients.
When learning orthopedic bone drilling, a surgical trainee relies on internally generated and externally provided feedback. The quality and type of feedback often varies in the clinical environment, thus affecting skill acquisition. We investigated the effect of feedback on technical error (plunging) when novice surgical trainees learned bone drilling.
Medical students (n = 22) and experienced postgraduate surgical residents (n = 4) drilled bicortical holes in a lamb femur under 1 of 3 feedback conditions: no feedback, self-generated feedback and externally generated feedback. Novices performed a retention test (10 bicortical holes) 1 week after the initial training. We measured plunge depth, the clinically relevant outcome, using computer-assisted methods.
During the initial experiment, the plunges of novices who were exposed to external feedback were similar to those of residents in the experienced group. Novices in the self-generated feedback group plunged more than those in the external feedback group or those in the experienced group (p = 0.002). All novices plunged similarly on the retention test, a measure of true skill learning.
When learning bicortical bone drilling, feedback related to plunging is not necessary to achieve a competent level of performance. In addition, although external feedback facilitates the achievement of better outcomes, it does not improve learning. It is suggested that to minimize plunging, trainees should learn how to optimize their drilling through the bone rather than how to prevent the plunge.
To compare the diagnostic capability of recently available hand-held echocardiography (HHE) and of conventional transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) used as a gold standard in critically ill patients under mechanical ventilation.
A prospective and descriptive study.
The general intensive care unit of a teaching hospital.
All mechanically ventilated patients requiring a TTE study with a full-feature echocardiographic platform (Sonos 5500®; Philips Medical Systems, Andover, MA, USA) also underwent an echocardiographic examination using a small battery-operated device (33 × 23 cm2, 3.5 kg) (Optigo®; Philips Medical Systems).
Each examination was performed independently by two intensivists experienced in echocardiography and was interpreted online. For each patient, the TTE videotape was reviewed by a cardiologist experienced in echocardiography and the final interpretation was used as a reference diagnosis.
During the study period, 106 TTE procedures were performed in 103 consecutive patients (age, 59 ± 18 years; Simplified Acute Physiology Score, 46 ± 14; body mass index, 26 ± 9 kg/m2; positive end-expiratory pressure, 8 ± 4 cmH2O). The number of acoustic windows was comparable using HHE and TTE (233/318 versus 238/318, P = 0.72). HHE had a lower overall diagnostic capacity than TTE (199/251 versus 223/251 clinical questions solved, P = 0.005), mainly due to its lack of spectral Doppler capability. In contrast, diagnostic capacity based on two-dimensional imaging was comparable for both approaches (129/155 versus 135/155 clinical questions solved, P = 0.4). In addition, HHE and TTE had a similar therapeutic impact in 45 and 47 patients, respectively (44% versus 46%, P = 0.9).
HHE appears to have a narrower diagnostic field when compared with conventional TTE, but promises to accurately identify diagnoses based on two-dimensional imaging in ventilated critically ill patients.
critical care; diagnostic techniques and procedures; echocardiography; echocardiography Doppler; therapeutics.
Emergency physicians often manage wounds contaminated with glass. Even when glass is visible on x rays, removal may require real‐time bedside imaging.
To assess whether novices can be easily trained to accurately detect tiny glass foreign bodies (GFBs) using low‐power portable fluoroscopy.
21 medical students with no prior experience using fluoroscopy were taught to detect 1 mm GFBs in chicken legs either by training over three separate days or by training on 1 day. Skills were reassessed at 3 months. The number of mean correct responses was compared between groups using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and by examination of 95% CIs.
Examination of CI overlap and ANOVA suggested that asymptotic accuracy was achieved after 15–30 training specimens. The final accuracy was similar between protocols, was comparable to prior accuracy reports of plain film radiography and was maintained in both protocols at the 3 month follow‐up: 10.9 (0.3) and 12.0 (0.8; out of 15).
Novices can easily be taught to detect GFBs using fluoroscopy, with accuracy comparable to that achieved by radiologists using plain films. Further studies are needed to assess doctors' use of the technique in real patients.
We assessed calibration of perception and action in the context of a golf putting task. Previous research has shown that right-handed novice golfers make rightward errors both in the perception of the perfect aiming line from the ball to the hole and in the putting action. Right-handed experts, however, produce accurate putting actions but tend to make leftward errors in perception. In two experiments, we examined whether these skill-related differences in directional error reflect transfer of calibration from action to perception. In the main experiment, three groups of right-handed novice participants followed a pretest, practice, posttest, retention test design. During the tests, directional error for the putting action and the perception of the perfect aiming line were determined. During practice, participants were provided only with verbal outcome feedback about directional error; one group trained perception and the second trained action, whereas the third group did not practice. Practice led to a relatively permanent annihilation of directional error, but these improvements in accuracy were specific to the trained task. Hence, no transfer of calibration occurred between perception and action. The findings are discussed within the two-visual-system model for perception and action, and implications for perceptual learning in action are raised.
Perceptual learning; Far aiming; Calibration; Two-visual-system model; Transfer
Transesophageal echocardiography was introduced 4 decades ago. Its use have had very limited clinical indication. Now it has become very useful clinical tool. Indications for its use are almost as indications for transthoracic echocardiography, especially to assess deeper cardiovascular structures. Transesophageal echocardiography is semi-invasive examination with small number of complications.
Aim of the study
To determine usefulness of transesophageal echocardiography in various cardiac conditions based in our experience. Also to encourage use of transesophageal echocardiography as reliable examination.
All of the patients signed a Term of Free Informed Consent, approved from Ethics Committee. We enrolled 425 patients who have done TEE in last 5 years (2006-2010) by authors. Medical history and Clinical evaluation was carefully performed by expert cardiologists. Procedures were performed in two different centers using machines, PHILIPS iE33 and Siemens accuson CV 70, with equipment attached to a multi frequency 2.5 to 3.5 MHz for TTE and 7.0 MHz for TEE multiplane transducer. TEE were performed and images were obtained according to the standard recommandations.
The results were analyzed by a standard method of descriptive statistics using Pivot Table of Excel Office 2007. Results. We have analyzed 425 transesophageal echocardiography . The examination of the thoracic aorta in severe hypertension patients was conducted in 96 cases; atrial fibrillation in 118; aortic dissection 49 cases, aortic stenosis was evaluated in 28 cases; finding of source of emboli 36 cases; suspicion for aneurysm of the thoracic aorta in 14 cases, 11 cases with suspected endocarditis; the type of intervention for mitral valve was evaluated in 28 cases. Interatrial septum abnormalities 37 cases; and miscellaneous 18 cases. No minor or mayor complications happened.
Transesophageal echocardiography can elucidate many dubious serious conditions immediately after it is performed. So, we think that transesophageal echocardiography is very useful tool in everyday clinical use, almost without complications if it is done correctly.
transesophageal echocardiography; transthoracic echocardiography; echocardiography.
BACKGROUND: Communication between physicians and patients is particularly challenging when patients do not speak the local language (in Switzerland, they are known as allophones). AIM: To assess the effectiveness of an intervention to improve communication skills of physicians who deal with allophone patients. DESIGN OF STUDY: 'Before-and-after' intervention study, in which both patients (allophone and francophone) and physicians completed visit-specific questionnaires assessing the quality of communication. SETTING: Two consecutive samples of patients attending the medical outpatient clinic of a teaching hospital in French-speaking Switzerland. METHOD: The intervention consisted of training physicians in communicating with allophone patients and working with interpreters. French-speaking patients served as the control group. The outcomes measured were: patient satisfaction with care received and with communication during consultation; and provider (primary care physician) satisfaction with care provided and communication during consultation. RESULTS: At baseline, mean scores of patients' assessments of communication were lower for allophone than for francophone patients. At follow-up, five out of six of the scores of allophone patients showed small increases (P < 0.05) when compared with French-speaking patients: explanations given by physician; respectfulness of physician; communication; overall process of the consultation; and information about future care. In contrast, physicians' assessments did not change significantly. Finally, after the intervention, the proportion of consultations with allophone patients in which professional interpreters were present increased significantly from 46% to 67%. CONCLUSIONS: The quality of communication as perceived by allophone patients can be improved with specific training aimed at primary care physicians.
Cardiac imaging has had significant influence on the science and practice of pediatric cardiology. Especially the development and improvements made in noninasive imaging techniques, like echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have been extremely important. Technical advancements in the field of medical imaging are quickly being made. This review will focus on some of the important evolutions in pediatric cardiac imaging. Techniques such as intracardiac echocardiography, 3D echocardiography, and tissue Doppler imaging are relatively new echocardiographic techniques, which further optimize the anatomical and functional aspects of congenital heart disease. Also, the current standing of cardiac MRI and cardiac computerized tomography will be discussed. Finally, the recent European efforts to organize training and accreditation in pediatric echocardiography are highlighted.
Cardiac imaging; Echocardiography; Magnetic resonance imaging; CT Scan
Colonoscopy requires training and experience to ensure accuracy and safety. Currently, no objective, validated process exists to determine when an endoscopist has attained technical competence. Kinematics data describing movements of laparoscopic instruments have been used in surgical skill assessment to define expert surgical technique. We have developed a novel system to record kinematics data during colonoscopy and quantitatively assess colonoscopist performance.
To use kinematic analysis of colonoscopy to quantitatively assess endoscopic technical performance.
Prospective cohort study.
Tertiary-care academic medical center.
This study involved physicians who perform colonoscopy.
Application of a kinematics data collection system to colonoscopy evaluation.
Main Outcome Measurements
Kinematics data, validated task load assessment instrument, and technical difficulty visual analog scale.
All 13 participants completed the colonoscopy to the terminal ileum on the standard colon model. Attending physicians reached the terminal ileum quicker than fellows (median time, 150.19 seconds vs 299.86 seconds; p < .01) with reduced path lengths for all 4 sensors, decreased flex (1.75 m vs 3.14 m; P = .03), smaller tip angulation, reduced absolute roll, and lower curvature of the endoscope. With performance of attending physicians serving as the expert reference standard, the mean kinematic score increased by 19.89 for each decrease in postgraduate year (P < .01). Overall, fellows experienced greater mental, physical, and temporal demand than did attending physicians.
Small cohort size.
Kinematic data and score calculation appear useful in the evaluation of colonoscopy technical skill levels. The kinematic score appears to consistently vary by year of training. Because this assessment is nonsubjective, it may be an improvement over current methods for determination of competence. Ongoing studies are establishing benchmarks and characteristic profiles of skill groups based on kinematics data.
Physicians and medical educators have repeatedly acknowledged the inadequacy of communication skills training in the medical school curriculum and opportunities to improve these skills in practice. This study of a controlled intervention evaluates the effect of teaching practicing physicians the skill of "agenda-setting" on patients' experiences with care. The agenda-setting intervention aimed to engage clinicians in the practice of initiating patient encounters by eliciting the full set of concerns from the patient's perspective and using that information to prioritize and negotiate which clinical issues should most appropriately be dealt with and which (if any) should be deferred to a subsequent visit.
Ten physicians from a large physician organization in California with baseline patient survey scores below the statewide 25th percentile participated in the agenda-setting intervention. Eleven physicians matched on baseline scores, geography, specialty, and practice size were selected as controls. Changes in survey summary scores from pre- and post-intervention surveys were compared between the two groups. Multilevel regression models that accounted for the clustering of patients within physicians and controlled for respondent characteristics were used to examine the effect of the intervention on survey scale scores.
There was statistically significant improvement in intervention physicians' ability to "explain things in a way that was easy to understand" (p = 0.02) and marginally significant improvement in the overall quality of physician-patient interactions (p = 0.08) compared to control group physicians. Changes in patients' experiences with organizational access, care coordination, and office staff interactions did not differ by experimental group.
A simple and modest behavioral training for practicing physicians has potential to positively affect physician-patient relationship interaction quality. It will be important to evaluate the effect of more extensive trainings, including those that work with physicians on a broader set of communication techniques.
OBJECTIVE—To examine the influence of second harmonic imaging during dobutamine echocardiography on regional endocardial visibility, interobserver agreement in the interpretation of wall motion abnormalities, and diagnostic accuracy in patients with reduced image quality.
SETTING—Tertiary care centre.
PATIENTS—103 consecutive patients with suspected coronary artery disease and impaired transthoracic image quality (⩾ 2 segments with poor endocardial delineation).
METHODS—Fundamental and second harmonic imaging were performed at each stage of a dobutamine stress echocardiography. Coronary angiography was undertaken within three weeks of dobutamine echocardiography in 75 patients.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES—Evaluation of regional endocardial visibility (scoring from 0 = poor to 2 = good) and of segmental wall motion abnormalities for both modalities separately. A second blinded examiner analysed 70 studies to determine interobserver agreement.
RESULTS—Mean (SD) visibility score for all segments was 1.2 (0.4) using fundamental imaging and 1.7 (0.2) using second harmonic imaging at rest (p < 0.001), and 1.1 (0.4) v 1.6 (0.3), respectively, at peak dobutamine dose (p < 0.001). The average number of segments with poor endocardial visibility was lower for second harmonic than for fundamental imaging (0.6 (1.1) v 3.8 (2.6) at rest, p < 0.001; 0.9 (1.3) v 4.3 (2.9) at peak dose, p < 0.001). Improvement was most pronounced in all lateral and anterior segments. The κ value for identical study interpretation increased from 0.40 to 0.69 (p < 0.05). Sensitivity for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease was 64% using fundamental imaging versus 92% using harmonic imaging (p < 0.001), while specificity remained unchanged at 75% for both imaging modalities.
CONCLUSIONS—Second harmonic imaging enhances endocardial visibility during dobutamine echocardiography. Consequently, interobserver agreement on stress echocardiography interpretation and diagnostic accuracy are significantly improved compared to fundamental imaging. Thus, in difficult to image patients, dobutamine echocardiography should be performed using second harmonic imaging.
Keywords: coronary artery disease; dobutamine stress echocardiography; second harmonic imaging; interobserver agreement
Improvements in ultrasound technology has enabled direct, transthoracic visualization of long portions of coronary arteries : the left anterior descending (LAD), circumflex (Cx) and right coronary artery (RCA). Transthoracic measurements of coronary flow velocity were proved to be highly reproducible and correlated with invasive measurements. While clinical applications of transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) of principal coronary arteries are still very limited they will likely grow. The echocardiographers may therefore be interested to know the ultrasonic views, technique of examination and be aware where to look for coronary arteries and how to optimize the images.
A step-by-step approach to direct, transthoracic visualization of the LAD, Cx and RCA is presented. The technique of examination is discussed, correlations with basic coronary angiography views and heart anatomy are shown and extensively illustrated with photographs and movie-pictures. Hints concerning optimization of ultrasound images are presented and artifacts of imaging are discussed.
Direct, transthoracic examination of the LAD, Cx and RCA in adults is possible and may become a useful adjunct to other methods of coronary artery examination but studies are needed to establish its role.
coronary artery; transthoracic echocardiography; Doppler; examination technique
To encourage high-quality patient care guided by the best evidence, many medical schools and residencies are teaching techniques for critically evaluating the medical literature. While a large step forward in many regards, these skills of evidence-based medicine are necessary but not sufficient for the practice of contemporary medicine and surgery. Incorporating the best evidence into the real world of busy clinical practice requires the applied science of information management. Clinicians must learn the techniques and skills to focus on finding, evaluating, and using information at the point of care. This information must be both relevant to themselves and their patients and be valid.
Where are we now?
Today, orthopaedic surgery is in the post-Flexner era of passive didactic learning combined with the practical experience of surgery as taught by supervising experts. The medical student and house officer fill their memory with mountains of facts and classic references ‘just in case’ that information is needed. With libraries and now internet repositories of orthopaedic information, all orthopaedic knowledge can be readily accessed without having to store much in one’s memory. Evidence is often trumped by the opinion of a teacher or expert in the field.
Where do we need to go?
To improve the quality of orthopaedic surgery there should be application of the best evidence, changing practice where needed when evidence is available. To apply evidence, the evidence has to find a way into practice without the long pipeline of change that now exists. Evidence should trump opinion and unfounded practices.
How do we get there?
To create a curriculum and learning space for information management requires effort on the part of medical schools, residency programs and health systems. Internet sources need to be created that have the readily available evidence-based answers to patient issues so surgeons do not need to spend all the time necessary to research the questions on their own. Information management is built on a platform created by EBM but saves the surgeon time and improves accuracy by having experts validate the evidence and make it easily available.
Success rates with emergent endotracheal intubation (ETI) improve with increasing provider experience. Few objective metrics exist to quantify differences in ETI technique between providers of various skill levels. We tested the feasibility of using motion capture videography to quantify variability in the motions of the left hand and the laryngoscope in providers with various experience.
Three providers with varying levels of experience (attending physician (experienced), Emergency Medicine resident (intermediate), and post doctoral student with no previous ETI experience (novice)) each performed ETI four times on a mannequin. A Vicon, 16-camera system tracked the 3D orientation and movement of markers on the providers, handle of the laryngoscope, and mannequin. Attempt duration, path length of the left hand and the inclination of the plane of the laryngoscope handle (mean squared angular deviation from vertical) were calculated for each laryngoscopy attempt. We compared inter-attempt and inter-provider variability of each measure
All ETI attempts were successful. Mean (SD) duration of laryngoscopy attempts in seconds differed between experienced 5.50 (0.68), intermediate 6.32 (1.13) and novice 12.38 (1.06) providers (p=0.021). Mean path length of the left hand did not differ between providers (p=0.37). Variability of the plane of the laryngoscope (degrees2) differed between providers: 8.3 (experienced), 28.7 (intermediate) and 54.5 (novice).
Motion analysis can detect inter-provider differences in hand and laryngoscope movements during ETI which may be related to provider experience. This technology has potential to objectively measure training and skill in ETI.
Radiology has been the focus of efforts to reduce inefficiencies while attempting to lower medical costs. The 2010 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule has reduced Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) reimbursements related to the technical component of imaging services. By increasing the utilization rate, the cost of equipment spreads over more studies, thus lowering the payments per procedure. Is it beneficial for CMS to focus on equipment utilization as a cost-cutting measure? Can greater financial and quality of care rewards be made by improving metrics like appropriateness criteria and pre-authorization?
On examining quality metrics, such as appropriateness criteria and pre-authorization, promising results have ensued. The development and enforcement of appropriateness criteria lowers overutilization of studies without requiring unattainable fixed rates. Pre-authorization educates ordering physicians as to when imaging is indicated.
Appropriateness criteria; pre-authorization; quality metrics; utilization rate
Laparoscopy requires the development of technical skills distinct from those used in open procedures. Several factors extending the learning curve of laparoscopy include ergonomic and technical difficulties, such as the fulcrum effect and limited degrees of freedom. This study aimed to establish the impact of four variables on performance of two simulated laparoscopic tasks.
Six subjects including novice (n=2), intermediate (n=2) and expert surgeons completed two tasks: 1) four running sutures, 2) simple suture followed by surgeon's knot plus four square knots. Task variables were suturing angle (left/right), needle holder type (standard/articulating) and visualisation (2D/3D). Each task with a given set of variables was completed twice in random order. The endpoints included suturing task completion time, average and maximum distance from marks and knot tying task completion time.
Suturing task completion time was prolonged by 45-degree right angle suturing, articulating needle holder use and lower skill levels (all P < 0.0001). Accuracy also decreased with articulating needle holder use (both P < 0.0001). 3D vision affected only maximum distance (P=0.0108). For the knot tying task, completion time was greater with 45-degree right angle suturing (P=0.0015), articulating needle holder use (P < 0.0001), 3D vision (P=0.0014) and novice skill level (P=0.0003). Participants felt that 3D visualisation offered subjective advantages during training.
Results suggest construct validity. A 3D personal head display and articulating needle holder do not immediately improve task completion times or accuracy and may increase the training burden of laparoscopic suturing and knot tying.
3D visualisation; laparoscopic training; simulation