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EJVES Vascular Forum


Objective: Assessment of the quality of the final product (QFP) is critical in simulation training, such as the clock face suture (CFS) exercise that is used to assess trainees’ needle handling and suturing accuracy. Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skill (OSATS) scores are the gold standard for the evaluation of trainees. The aim was to investigate variability in the use of OSATS checklists and to evaluate a semi-automatic method of suture analysis vs. OSATS scores. Methods: Details of 287 CFSs performed by trainees during Fundamentals in Vascular Surgery examinations were collected. All were rated according to a seven item OSATS checklist, including QFP score and an overall score by one or two expert surgeons immediately after completion. Interassessor variability was assessed for the CFS that were assessed by two assessors. In order to assess intra- and interassessor variability, 50 CFS pictures were chosen randomly and submitted to three expert surgeons to rate the QFP twice and to carry out a semi-automatic image analysis of each CFS and the estimated cumulative error (CE; mm) recorded. It was hypothesised that the CE correlates to OSATS checklist items or overall score. Variables were compared for correlation with OSATS results using a linear regression. A Pearson's test was used to confirm the proposed hypothesis. Results: Mean ± standard deviation overall score for the OSATS checklist was 20.61 ± 6.33. Inter- and intra-assessor correlation were statistically significant regarding OSATS checklist items. Both correlations presented a low coefficient of determination, indicating variability. The mean CE was 16.07 ± 4.84 mm, and the correlation between the QFP and CE was statistically significant, proving that CE is an objective metric by which to assess the QFP. Conclusion: OSATS score demonstrated intra- and interassessor variability, although there was a significant correlation between scores. CE is an objective metric that is not subject to assessor subjectivity or interassessor variability and is correlated with the gold standard of evaluation.

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