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Coronary Anastomosis Simulation: Directed Interventions to Optimize Success.

BACKGROUND: The role of simulation-based training in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) remains undefined. Barriers to simulator use include clinical and personal obligations, insufficient materials, and lack of mentorship. The purpose of this study was to implement a longitudinal, residency-wide coronary anastomosis simulation curriculum. METHODS: A prospective observational study was conducted from 2018 to 2019 at a single academic center. All residents of the Thoracic Surgery training program participated. Each participant was provided a low-fidelity coronary anastomosis simulator, high-quality instruments, and faculty mentor. Formal assessments were held quarterly, and residents were encouraged to practice alone and with their mentor. Baseline and follow-up metrics were compared with simple descriptive statistics. RESULTS: Seventeen residents and 12 faculty participated in the study. Residents demonstrated increased use of the simulator, with 21% participating in independent practice at baseline and 82% in the fourth quarter (p=0.02). The median score on the "TSDA Vessel Anastomosis Assessment" improved from 42/65 at baseline to 54/65 in fourth quarter (p=0.04), and mean anastomosis time was reduced by 5 minutes 6 seconds (p=0.02). Over 12 months, junior residents demonstrated a mean reduction in anastomosis time of 6 minutes 36 seconds, while senior residents decreased anastomosis time by 3 minutes 6 seconds (p=0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Providing residents with a low-fidelity coronary anastomosis trainer with high quality instruments and a faculty mentor improved rates of independent practice, TSDA assessment scores, and anastomosis time. Our next step is validating the coronary simulator curriculum by measuring improvement of resident performance in the operating room.


Anand, Jatin, Julie Doberne, Charles M. Wojnarski, Peter K. Smith, and Brittany A. Zwischenberger. “Coronary Anastomosis Simulation: Directed Interventions to Optimize Success.” Ann Thorac Surg, September 3, 2020.

Published Date: 
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Published In: 
The Annals of Thoracic Surgery