Introduction: Patient-specific simulated rehearsal (PsR) of a carotid artery stenting procedure (CAS) enables the interventionalist to rehearse the case before performing the procedure on the actual patient by incorporating patient-specific computed tomographic data into the simulation software. This study aimed to evaluate whether PsR of a CAS procedure can enhance the operative performance versus a virtual reality (VR) generic CAS warm-up procedure or no preparation at all.
Methods: During a 10-session cognitive/technical VR course, medical residents were trained in CAS. Thereafter, in a randomized crossover study, each participant performed a patient-specific CAS case 3 times on the simulator, preceded by 3 different tasks: a PsR, a generic case, or no preparation. Technical performances were assessed using simulator-based metrics and expert-based ratings.
Results: Twenty medical residents (surgery, cardiology, radiology) were recruited. Training plateaus were observed after 10 sessions for all participants. Performances were significantly better after PsR than after a generic warm-up or no warm-up for total procedure time (16.3 ± 0.6 vs 19.7 ± 1.0 vs 20.9 ± 1.1 minutes, P = 0.001) and fluoroscopy time (9.3 ± 0.1 vs 11.2 ± 0.6 vs 11.2 ± 0.5 minutes, P = 0.022) but did not influence contrast volume or number of roadmaps used during the “real” case. PsR significantly improved the quality of performance as measured by the expert-based ratings (scores 28 vs 25 vs 25, P = 0.020).
Conclusions: Patient-specific simulated rehearsal of a CAS procedure significantly improves operative performance, compared to a generic VR warm-up or no warm-up. This technology requires further investigation with respect to improved outcomes on patients in the clinical setting.