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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Anesthesiology 1/2017

Validation of the imperial college surgical assessment device for spinal anesthesia

BMC Anesthesiology > Ausgabe 1/2017
Marcia A. Corvetto, Carlos Fuentes, Andrea Araneda, Pablo Achurra, Pablo Miranda, Paola Viviani, Fernando R. Altermatt
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12871-017-0422-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Traditionally, technical proficiency for spinal anesthesia has been assessed using observational scales such as global rating scales or task specific checklists. However more objective metrics are required in order to improve novice’s training programs. The aim of this study is to validate the hand motion analysis of the Imperial College Surgical Assessment Device (ICSAD) in a simulated model of spinal anesthesia.


Three groups of physicians with different levels of experience were video recorded performing a spinal anesthesia in a simulated lumbar puncture torso. Participants’ technical performance was assessed with ICSAD, a Global Rating Scale (GRS) and a specific Checklist. Differences between the 3 groups were determined by Kruskal-Wallis test with post hoc Dunn’s correction for multiple comparisons. Spearman correlation coefficient between ICSAD variables and the scores of the observational scales were calculated to establish concurrent validity.


Thirty subjects participated in the study: ten novice (first year residents), 10 intermediate (third year residents) and 10 experts (attending anesthesiologists). GRS scores were significantly higher in experts, than intermediates and novices. Regarding total path length, number of movements and procedural time measured with ICSAD, all groups had significant differences between them (p = 0.026, p = 0.045 and p = 0.005 respectively). Spearman correlation coefficient was −0,46 (p = 0.012) between total path length measured with ICSAD and GRS scores.


This is the first validation study of ICSAD as an assessment tool for spinal anesthesia in a simulated model. Using ICSAD can discriminate proficiency between expert and novices and correlates with previously validated GRS. Its use in the assessment of spinal anesthesia proficiency provides complementary data to existing tools. Our results could be used to design future training programs with reliable goals to accomplish.
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