Ultrasound-guided percutaneous venous access (UPVA) has been demonstrated to result in the need for fewer vascular access attempts and increased long-term vessel patency. The aim of this study was to design a course for clinicians to learn UPVA in a risk-free environment using 3D printed vascular access models.
A pilot course (3 hours)was designed by 1 paediatric surgeon and 2 radiologists. Short lectures on basic principles and the evidence-base of venous access were followed by 3 hands-on stations to learn and practice approaches to UVPA (in-plane and out-of-plane). Commercially available and in-house produced wall-less vessel phantoms were produced using 3D printed chambers and agar as a soft-tissue mimicking material. Feedback forms were completed by all attendees.
There were 13 attendees with a range of clinical experience: 11 trainees (1 core trainee and 10 ST trainees/clinical fellows), 1 consultant and 1 clinical nurse specialist. Background specialities were Surgery (1), CICU (5), PICU (4), NICU (1), Anaesthetics (1).
Participants rated the relevance of the course to their clinical work (1= strongly disagree, 5=strongly agree). The median score was 5 (range 4-5). Participants rated the course overall (1= poor, 5=outstanding). The course was rated as outstanding; median score of 5 (range 4-5).
Multiple phantoms were produced using two 3D printed materials costing £3 (low-resolution) and £44 (high-resolution) per phantom these were filled with agar costing <£1 each. The 3D printed components of these phantoms are re-useable. The costs of commercial reusable vascular access phantoms are typically >£1000.
3D printed vascular phantoms are an excellent design that can be used to teach the UPVA technique prior to further clinical training. 3D printed phantoms provide a cost-effective and transportable tool that facilitates the possibility of teaching the technique at different training centres.