BACKGROUND: Flexible fibreoptic intubation (FOI) is a key element in difficult airway management. Training of FOI skills is an important part of the anaesthesiology curriculum. Simulation-based training has been shown to be effective when learning FOI, but the optimal structure of the training is debated. The aspect of dividing the training into segments (part-task training) or assembling into one piece (whole-task training) has not been studied. OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to compare the effect of training the motor skills of FOI as part-task training or as whole-task training and to relate the performance levels achieved by the novices to the standard of performance of experienced FOI practitioners. DESIGN: A randomised controlled study. SETTING: Centre for Clinical Education, University of Copenhagen and the Capital Region of Denmark, between January and April 2013. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-three anaesthesia residents in their first year of training in anaesthesiology with no experience in FOI, and 10 anaesthesia consultants experienced in FOI. INTERVENTIONS: The novices to FOI were allocated randomly to receive either part-task or whole-task training of FOI on virtual reality simulators. Procedures were subsequently trained on a manikin and assessed by an experienced anaesthesiologist. The experienced group was assessed in the same manner with no prior simulation-based training. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measure was the score of performance on testing FOI skills on a manikin. RESULTS: A positive learning effect was observed in both the part-task training group and the whole-task training group. There was no statistically significant difference in final performance scores of the two novice groups (P = 0.61). Furthermore, both groups of novices were able to improve their skill level significantly by the end of manikin training to levels comparable to the experienced anaesthesiologists. CONCLUSION: Part-task training did not prove more effective than whole-task training when training novices in FOI skills. FOI is very suitable for simulation-based training and segmentation of the procedure during training is not necessary.
European Journal of Anaesthesiology, 2015, Vol 32, Issue 9, p. 609-614