Simulation of disorders of respiratory mechanics shown by spirometry provides insight into the pathophysiology of disease but some clinically important disorders have not been simulated and none have been formally evaluated for education. We have designed simple mechanical devices which, along with existing simulators, enable all the main dysfunctions which have diagnostic value in spirometry to be simulated and clearly explained with visual and haptic feedback. We modelled the airways as Starling resistors by a clearly visible mechanical action to simulate intra- and extra-thoracic obstruction. A narrow tube was used to simulate fixed large airway obstruction and inelastic bands to simulate restriction. We hypothesized that using simulators whose action explains disease promotes learning especially in higher domain educational objectives. The main features of obstruction and restriction were correctly simulated. Simulation of variable extra-thoracic obstruction caused blunting and plateauing of inspiratory flow, and simulation of intra-thoracic obstruction caused limitation of expiratory flow with marked dynamic compression. Multiple choice tests were created with questions allocated to lower (remember and understand) or higher cognitive domains (apply, analyse and evaluate). In a cross-over design, overall mean scores increased after 1½ h simulation spirometry (43-68 %, effect size 1.06, P < 0.0001). In higher cognitive domains the mean score was lower before and increased further than lower domains (Δ 30 vs 20 %, higher vs lower effect size 0.22, P < 0.05). In conclusion, the devices successfully simulate various patterns of obstruction and restriction. Using these devices medical students achieved marked enhancement of learning especially in higher cognitive domains.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Advances in Health Sciences Education : Theory and Practice|
|Early online date||21 Dec 2014|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2015|