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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 19 (2012), Issue 5, Pages 325-330
Original Article

Wet Laboratory Versus Computer Simulation for Learning Endobronchial Ultrasound: A Randomized Trial

David R Stather,1 Paul MacEachern,1 Alex Chee,1 Elaine Dumoulin,2 Christopher A Hergott,3 and Alain Tremblay1

1Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2Department of Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
3Airways Research Group; Division of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Linear endobronchial ultrasound with transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is a revolutionary bronchoscopic procedure that is challenging to learn.

OBJECTIVES: To compare two methods used to teach EBUS-TBNA: wet laboratory (lab) versus computer EBUS-TBNA simulation.

METHODS: A prospective, randomized study of respirologists, thoracic surgeons and trainees learning EBUS-TBNA at a two-day continuing medical education course. All subjects received education via a series of lectures and live cases, followed by randomization to learn EBUS-TBNA predominantly either by wet lab simulation (n=6) or computer simulation (n=6). All subjects then completed testing of their EBUS-TBNA skills via a previously validated method using simulated cases on EBUS-TBNA simulators and questionnaires evaluating learner preferences.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the computer EBUS-TBNA simulator group and the wet lab group in procedure time (25.3±6.1 min versus 25.2±2.5 min; P=0.984) and percentage of successful biopsies (81.3±14.9% versus 74.0±17.3%; P=0.453). The computer simulator group performed significantly better than the wet lab group in the percentage of lymph nodes correctly identified (70.4±16.7% versus 42.9±19.9%; P=0.002). Wet lab simulation was associated with increased learner confidence with operating the real EBUS-TBNA bronchoscope. All subjects responded that wet lab and computer EBUS-TBNA simulation offered important complementary learning opportunities.

DISCUSSION: Computer EBUS-TBNA simulation leads to improved skill at correctly identifying lymph nodes, while wet lab simulation provided increased learner confidence due to increased realism.

CONCLUSION: Computer EBUS-TBNA simulation and wet lab simulation are effective methods of learning basic EBUS-TBNA skills and appeared to be complementary.