"Virtual reality simulation technology has advanced to the point where we can actually use a virtual environment and have the trainee learn in a very 'patient-safe' way in a virtual patient environment and make mistakes on a virtual patient versus doing it on a real patient," said Christopher U. Cates, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I. from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.
Twenty interventional cardiologists participating in the Emory NeuroAnatomy Carotid Training program underwent an instructional course on carotid angiography and then performed five serial simulated carotid angiograms on the Vascular Interventional System Training (VIST) VR simulator.
The cardiologists committed fewer catheter errors, while performing the virtual procedure in less time, and subjecting the virtual patient to less X-ray imaging and smaller injections of contrast agent during the final run compared to the first one.
Dr. Cates noted that the study looked at only one specific model of simulator, the Procedicus Vascular Interventional System Trainer (VIST) made by Mentice AB in Gothenburg, Sweden. The company was not involved in the design or funding of this study. Dr. Cates said the performance of other simulators is not necessarily the same and would have to be studied individually before being used to measure the performance of doctors.
Trainees using the simulator use catheter controls that are identical to those on the ends of the catheters they use in actual procedures, but the other end of the catheters interact with sensors that feed movement data into a powerful computer. The trainees feel the "catheter" move and the
Contact: Amy Murphy
American College of Cardiology