Echocardiography training for practicing Anesthesiologists (the EnABLE course)
Posted: February 11, 2019
Point-of-care Ultrasound has been used by acute care specialties as the diagnostic modality of choice in a variety of clinical emergencies. Despite the increasing demand for clinical use and teaching of echocardiography in emergency departments, ICUs and operating rooms there are still relatively few specialists who possess the necessary training and the experience.
Personally, I believe that we are witnessing an early phase in a tidal wave that is bringing ultrasonography and echocardiography training to the forefront of clinical skill development for medical trainees at all levels. As teachers, we will have to work hard to catch up with the demand.
Simulation has a well-established role in echocardiography training. The BluePhantom FAST echocardiography simulator acquired by the QE2 Simulation Program is an excellent resource! It allows trainees to image a non-moving heart, abdominal organs and perform emergency procedures such as pericardiocentesis. While the non-moving heart does not provide a complete echocardiographic “experience”, it allows the trainee to practice probe placement, manipulation and orientation in transthoracic echocardiography. For those who wish to practice transesophageal echo probe insertion and manipulation - a more invasive procedure - the BluePhatom provides a fairly realistic experience. The simulator is an excellent starting point for anyone learning basic point-of-care ultrasound.
In the Department of Anesthesia, we have used the simulator in the early stages of echocardiography training for practicing anesthesiologists (the EnABLE course). While nothing beats the experience of scanning the real patient, most novice echocardiographers appreciate the ability to take their time to practice image acquisition. The simulator does not complain about chest wall pressure and its parking will not run out if one takes a bit longer. Those who practiced on the simulator first, found that they approached echocardiography in real patients with more confidence. It has helped us teach the future teachers to successfully utilize the technique to its full potential.
Ana Sjaus, MD FRCPC
Dalhousie University, Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Management and Perioperative Medicine
This is a video I did for the echo training course which is the basis of my research project.
It combines view of the real beating heart with demonstration for the probe position on the blue man.
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