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Anaesthesia. 2016 Aug;71(8):921-9. doi: 10.1111/anae.13446. Epub 2016 Mar 19.

A randomised controlled trial comparing meat-based with human cadaveric models for teaching ultrasound-guided regional anaesthesia.

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Liverpool Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Changi General Hospital, Singapore.
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


The aim of this prospective, blinded, randomised controlled study was to compare novices' acquisition of the technical skills of ultrasound-guided regional anaesthesia using either a meat phantom model or fresh-frozen human cadavers. The primary outcome was the time taken to successfully perform an ultrasound-guided sciatic nerve block on a cadaver; secondary outcomes were the cumulative score of errors, and best image quality of the sciatic nerve achieved. After training, the median (IQR [range]) time taken to perform the block was 311(164-390 [68-600]) s in the meat model trained group and 210 (174-354 [85-600]) s in the fresh-frozen cadaver trained group (p = 0.24). Participants made a median (IQR [range]) of 18 (14-33 [8-55]) and 15 (12-22 [8-44]) errors in the two groups respectively (p = 0.39). The image quality score was also not different, with a median (IQR [range]) of 62.5 (59.4-65.6 [25.0-100.0])% vs 62.5 (62.5-75.0 [25.0-87.5])% respectively (p = 0.58). The training and deliberate feedback improved all participants' block performance, the median (IQR [range]) times being 310 (206-532 [110-600]) s before and 240 (174-354 [85-600]) s after training (p = 0.02). We conclude that novices taught ultrasound scanning and needle guidance skills using an inexpensive and easily constructed meat model perform similarly to those trained on a cadaveric model.


education; training; ultrasound-guided regional anaesthesia

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