Objective: Focused transthoracic echocardiography (FTTE) is an emerging tool in the management of critically ill patients, but the lack of adequate training models has limited the expansion of this technology. Although basic FTTE training courses have been shown to be sufficient in developing echocardiography skills, limited data exist regarding skill retention. In an effort to develop an adequate FTTE training model, we sought to determine the degree of skill retention after FTTE training. Design: A prospective, observational study. Setting: An academic center. Participants: Surgical residents and medical students: 31 subjects were enrolled from February to June 2016. Results: Participants underwent a 2-hour FTTE course including didactics and a hands-on session measuring ejection fraction of left ventricle (LV) and inferior vena cava (IVC) diameter. Written knowledge and performance examinations applying FTTE were conducted before the course, immediately after, and at 1- and 3-month intervals, which were evaluated on a 0 to 9 scale and analyzed with paired t-tests. Performance examination scores obtaining the LV and IVC views preinitial and postinitial training increased from 1.7 to 6.5 (LV) and from 2.0 to 6.8 (IVC) (p < 0.01), decreased to 5.0 and 4.8, respectively, at 1 month (posttraining vs 1 month, p < 0.01), and did not significantly change at 3 months (5.4 and 5.0, respectively). Written examination scores increased from 42% to 62% (pretraining vs posttraining, p < 0.01), decreased to 48% in 1 month (posttraining vs 1 month, p < 0.01), and further decreased to 34% at 3 months (1 month vs 3 month, p < 0.01). Conclusions: Although a short training course appears sufficient to impart basic FTTE skills and knowledge, skills are significantly decayed at 1 month and knowledge continually decreases at 1 and 3 months. Future FTTE training models should consider the rapid degradation of knowledge and skills in determining frequency of refresher training and ongoing evaluation.
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