Pulmonologists are regularly exposed to 2D echo images in their care of patients yet they receive little or no training in recognizing these images. Increasing availability of hand-carried 2D echo units to pulmonologists will make it important to assure recognition of echo images. Current cardiac echo training is time-consuming, requiring months to achieve even basic proficiency. We assessed the effect of intensive repetition in a short time frame on cardiac echo recognition skills in pulmonary, emergency and internal medicine trainees.
A total of 50 volunteer trainees (15 pulmonary fellows, 35 emergency and internal medicine residents) took a pretest on 3 normal 2D echocardiographic views (Apical 4 Chamber, Apical 2 Chamber, Parasternal Long Axis), presented in digital format as video clips. Trainees were instructed to identify all cardiac chambers, valves and walls. This pretest was followed by a 1 hour monitored training session of intensive repetition. Using freeze frame, slow motion and normal speed, a total of 200 cardiac cycles of each echo view was viewed for a total of 600 cardiac cycles. A post-test, comprised of a random sequence of the 3 echo views, was then administered. Different patient images were used for the training versus the testing phase of the study.
Trainees’ correct answers improved from 44.5 +/− 17.9 % on the pretest to 90.0 +/− 9.9 % on the posttest, p < .001 by paired t-test. A post study survey of participants revealed a high degree of acceptance for this type of training and a desire for additional training on specific right heart pathologies.
Intensive repetition training of normal 2D echocardiographic views can dramatically improve trainees’ proficiency in recognition of echo images in a short time frame. This study suggests a novel approach to improve this skill for pulmonary fellows.
As hand-carried 2D echocardiographic units become available to pulmonologists, it will be increasingly important to assure accurate recognition of these common echo images.
Michael Barrett, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information