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Minim Invasive Surg. 2010;2010:674185. doi: 10.1155/2010/674185. Epub 2010 Mar 30.

The learning curve for a fetal cardiac intervention team.

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1
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

Abstract

Objectives. Multiple technical difficulties are encountered when a multidisciplinary team of subspecialists begins a minimally-invasive fetal cardiac interventional program. We describe the learning curve. Study Design. Ten pregnant sheep underwent ultrasound-guided balloon valvuloplasty of the aortic valve. Team members and their roles remained constant through the trial. The time between needle insertion and entrance of the left ventricle at the aortic root was recorded. F-test was used to assess significance (P ≤ .05). Results. The time required to accurately position the needle tip at the aortic root decreased significantly over the course of the trial, from 12 minutes with the first attempt to one minute with the last (P = .003). Conclusion. A significant learning curve is encountered when a multidisciplinary team begins a minimally-invasive fetal cardiac intervention program. However, technical proficiency can be achieved with practice. Institutions interested in developing such a program should consider practice in an animal model before proceeding to the human fetus.

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