Low-cost model boosts confidence of interventional radiology trainees

Interventional radiologists can practice the delicate art of retrieving an IVC filter without risking any harm to a patient, thanks to a newly developed simulation model. 

Stanford University scientists recently made that discovery after testing out several different methods. The results of their experiment—published in Academic Radiology—showed that trainees’ confidence improved “significantly” after using the practice model. 

“The development of a low-cost simulator for embedded IVC filters is feasible and can be used to improve trainee confidence and skill for complex IVC filter retrieval,” wrote Nam S. Hoang, from the division of vascular and interventional radiology at Stanford, and colleagues. 

Researchers assembled the test model using silicone tubes, IVC filters, and forceps. They tried 12 different combos of adhesive binding to connect filters to the tubes and settled on one that was most similar to IVC fibrous tissue. 

Hoang and colleagues then asked 20 interventional radiology trainees to practice on their model, rating them on their assuredness before and after the practice. 

Confidence improved significantly for trainees in all categories tracked, including handling forceps and understanding the tactile feel of fibrous tissue.  

The authors believe this development is crucial to the interventional radiologist field, where trainees must learn both how to interpret diagnostic images and execute procedures, and practice simulators can be costly. 

“If used appropriately, simulators have the potential to provide both standardization and customization to medical education,” Hoang and colleagues wrote.