Background and Aims Ultrasound guided regional anaesthesia is an important skill expected of an anaesthetist, with greater emphasis in the Royal College of Anaesthetists updated training curriculum. The curriculum includes key capabilities such as “Demonstrates how to achieve an optimal ultrasound image”, and suggests assessment methods including part-task simulation and simulation courses. With ultrasound and needle technology continually improving, there are opportunities for improved patient safety and peripheral nerve block accuracy. However, with this comes an ever important focus on safely teaching and acquiring new skills.
Methods Using the Braun Philips Xperius ultrasound system (Phillips, Netherlands) we have developed a simulation course to test whether needle tracking technology may improve peripheral nerve block safety, accuracy and speed. Anaesthetic trainees volunteered to perform a range of simulated nerve blocks using a phantom jelly. Trainees were divided in to two groups. One group practiced with the Stimuplex Onvision (Braun, Germany) needle, whilst the control group practiced using SonoPlex II Facet S (Pajunk, Germany) needle. McLeod et al’s (2019) validated global rating scale was modified to produce a combined checklist/global rating scale to score participants on needling technique, errors and time to perform block.
Results Onvision needle tracking may reduce time to perform blocks for out-of-plane techniques and reduce needle redirections for both in-plane and out-of-plane techniques. Block accuracy was similar for both needles. Time to perform block was reduced following practice with either needle.
Conclusions Needle tracking provides an opportunity to improve block speed, accuracy and safety for specific blocks and trainee groups.
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