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Am J Surg. 2006 Sep;192(3):379-84.

Perceptual, visuospatial, and psychomotor abilities correlate with duration of training required on a virtual-reality flexible endoscopy simulator.

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E*STAR Laboratory, Emory Endosurgery Unit, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA, and Center for Advanced Medical Simulation, Karolinska Institute, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.



Trainees acquire endoscopic skills at different rates. Fundamental abilities testing could predict the amount of training required to reach a performance goal on a virtual-reality simulator.


Eleven medical students were tested for fundamental abilities. Baseline endoscopic proficiency was evaluated with the GI Mentor II VR simulator (Simbionix, USA, Cleveland, OH). Subjects trained on the simulator with a defined performance goal. Subjects who achieved the goal were then reassessed.


All subjects completed at least 10 trials or reached the performance goal. The <10 trial group (n=6) tested better for all fundamental abilities and baseline endoscopic performance than the >10 trial group (n=5). The number of trials required to reach the performance goal correlated significantly with both perceptual (r=.92, P=0.001) and visuospatial ability (r=.76, P=.03). Multiple regression showed strong correlation of all three abilities with duration of training (r=.95, P=.015).


Most of the variability in acquisition of endoscopic skills can be accounted for by differences in fundamental abilities of trainees. Testing of fundamental abilities could help identify trainees who will require additional training to achieve desired performance objectives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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