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PURPOSE - Ultrasonic propulsion to reposition urinary tract calculi requires knowledge about ultrasound image capture, device manipulation, and interpretation. The purpose of this study was to validate a cognitive and technical skills curriculum to teach urologists ultrasonic propulsion to reposition kidney stones in tissue phantoms.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Ten board-certified urologists recruited from a single institution underwent a didactic session on renal ultrasound imaging. Subjects completed technical skills modules in tissue phantoms, including kidney imaging, pushing a stone through a translucent maze, and repositioning a lower pole calyceal stone. Objective cognitive and technical performance metrics were recorded. Subjects completed a questionnaire to ascertain face and content validity on a five-point Likert scale.
RESULTS - Eight urologists (80%) had never attended a previous ultrasound course, and nine (90%) performed renal ultrasounds less frequently than every 6 months. Mean cognitive skills scores improved from 55% to 91% (p<0.0001) on pre- and post-didactic tests. In the kidney phantom, 10 subjects (100%) repositioned the lower pole calyceal stone to at least the lower pole infundibulum, while 9 (90%) successfully repositioned the stone to the renal pelvis. A mean±SD (15.7±13.3) pushes were required to complete the task over an average of 4.6±2.2 minutes. Urologists rated the curriculum's effectiveness and realism as a training tool at a mean score of 4.6/5.0 and 4.1/5.0, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS - The curriculum for ultrasonic propulsion is effective and useful for training urologists with limited ultrasound proficiency in stone repositioning technique. Further studies in animate and human models will be required to assess predictive validity.