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Adv Physiol Educ. 2017 Dec 1;41(4):514-517. doi: 10.1152/advan.00062.2017.

Evaluation of chest ultrasound integrated teaching of respiratory system physiology to medical students.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section Physiology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section Physiology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.


Ultrasound imaging is a widely used diagnostic technique, whose integration in medical education is constantly growing. The aim of this study was to evaluate chest ultrasound usefulness in teaching respiratory system physiology, students' perception of chest ultrasound integration into a traditional lecture in human physiology, and short-term concept retention. A lecture about respiratory physiology was integrated with ultrasound and delivered to third-year medical students. It included basic concepts of ultrasound imaging and the physiology of four anatomic sectors of the body of a male volunteer, shown with a portable ultrasound device (pleural sliding, diaphragmatic movement, inferior vena cava diameter variations, cardiac movements). Students' perceptions of the integrated lecture were assessed, and attendance recorded. After 4 mo, four multiple-choice questions about respiratory physiology were administered during the normal human physiology examinations, and the results of students who attended the lesson and those of who did not were compared. One hundred thirty-four students attended the lecture. Most of them showed encouragement for the study of the subject and considered the ultrasound integrated lecture more interesting than a traditional one and pertinent to the syllabus. Exposed students achieved a better score at the examination and committed less errors than did nonexposed students. The chest ultrasound integrated lecture was appreciated by students. A possible association between the exposure to the lecture and short-term concept retention is shown by better performances of the exposed cohort at the examination. A systematic introduction of ultrasound into physiology traditional teaching will be promoted by the Ultrasound-Based Medical Education movement.


chest ultrasound; human physiology; respiratory system; teaching

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