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Prospective cohort study of haptic virtual reality laparoscopic appendicectomy learning curve trajectory

Brown, Chris, Robinson, David, Egan, Richard, Hopkins, Luke, Abdelrahman, Tarig, Powell, Arfon ORCID:, Pollitt, M. John and Lewis, Wyn G. 2019. Prospective cohort study of haptic virtual reality laparoscopic appendicectomy learning curve trajectory. Journal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques 29 (9) , pp. 1128-1134. 10.1089/lap.2019.0332

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Background: Simulation training is strongly advocated by 24/7 risk-rich professions because swift learning curve inflection point attainment delivers earlier competence; the left-shift effect. The aim of this study was to determine the value of haptic laparoscopic virtual reality simulation, by iterative benchmark exercise (n = 8), before simulated laparoscopic appendicectomy (SLA); the hypothesis was that favorable benchmark learning curve trajectories would be associated with improved SLA competence when compared with consultant expert performance. Methods: A 28-trainee cohort completed 1349 Laparoscopic Haptic Virtual Reality Skills (LHVRS) tasks, during which 19 ergonomic variables were assessed by virtual interface, including force feedback (, before 153 SLAs. Primary outcome measure was SLA composite competence score related to six consultant trainer experts. Results: Of the eight LHVRS tasks, the three with the steepest learning curve trajectories correlated with better median overall SLA competence scores, namely tissue grasping/lifting (rho = 0.362, P = .049), fine dissection (rho = 0.388, P = .028), and camera navigation (rho = 0.518, P = .007); fine dissection was the only haptic laparoscopic virtual reality simulation task that predicted a SLA score within a Youden index defined, 70% of the consultant expert level (area under curve [AUC] = 0.803, P = .028). A significant SLA learning curve emerged, with a learning curve trajectory inflection point at the fourth SLA attempt (first SLA 30.5% versus fourth SLA score 76.0%, gradient 76°, P = .010). Conclusion: Learning curve trajectory can be measured, influenced, and accelerated significantly; a pronounced left-shift effect, with translational potential for enhanced shorter training time and improved patient safety.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert
ISSN: 1092-6429
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 August 2019
Date of Acceptance: 30 July 2019
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 11:10

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