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The effectiveness of educational methods for cricothyroid membrane identification by dental students: A prospective study using neck photographs and tracheotomy trainers.

Goto T et Al. Clin Exp Dent Res. 2019 Mar 4;5(2):170-177.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accurate identification of the cricothyroid membrane (CTM) by fifth grade dental students, before undergoing the relevant anesthesiology practicum. Moreover, we aimed to determine the educational effectiveness of the cricothyrotomy practicum in anesthesiology.

Before the lecture and without prior notification, 119 students were provided with a photograph of a man's neck and instructed to attach a blue sticker to the cricothyrotomy puncture site and to a palpable tracheotomy trainer, after applying sufficient palpation. After this, students attended a 60-min lecture on the emergency airway management method. Two and 16 days after the lecture and practicum, students were presented with a new neck photograph and the tracheotomy trainer and asked again to place stickers (red stickers: at 2 days; green stickers: at 16 days) on the cricothyrotomy penetration site. The data were analyzed with an image processing software, by superimposing the 119 stickers on the neck photographs and tracheotomy trainers, to visually examine the accuracy of CTM identification.

The rate of correct sticker placement in the neck photographs was 41.2% before the lecture, 80.7% 2 days after the lecture, and 77.3% 16 days after the lecture (before vs. 2 and 16 days after, p value < 0.01). For the tracheotomy trainer, the rate was 36.1% before the lecture, 97.5% 2 days after the lecture, and 94.1% 16 days after the lecture (before vs. 2 and 16 days after, p value < 0.01).


Furthermore, the proportion of students with mistakes above and below the CTM was higher than that of students with mistakes to the right or left. In conclusion, the rate of accurate CTM identification among dental students was low before they underwent the relevant practicum, but most students were able to identify the CTM accurately after the lecture and practicum in a small class.

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