(USA , CANADA)
Background: Despite continued curriculum reform, the clinical skills competencies of medical graduates at all levels are steadily declining within a training system, where bedside opportunities become a luxury and the laboratory tests prevail over the clinical skills. While high-fidelity expensive simulators are being embraced by high-procedure volume specialties, low-fidelity and relatively inexpensive simulators, such as the heart sounds simulators remain under-utilized in medical training.
Method: We used a commercially available heart sound synthesizer in 2-hour training sessions with students and residents. Pre-post testing was completed at the beginning of the training session and three weeks after the session; participant responses were recorded by audience interactive response system.
Results: We utilized paired t-tests to show a significant increase in knowledge and skills 3 weeks after completion of the simulation training (t = 17.7; p < 0.001) with a large effect size (Cohen’s d = 3.67).
Conclusions: Based on our findings and the review of literature, we recommend that heart sound simulation should be introduced at the medical student level as the standard for teaching cardiologic auscultation findings and as preparation for auscultation of live patients. We also suggest that training with digitally simulated heart sounds is similarly beneficial in resident training.