The German Stroke School is a DGNR initiative to meet the increasing demand for Interventional Neuroradiologists (INRs) trained to perform Mechani...
The German Stroke School is a DGNR initiative to meet the increasing demand for Interventional Neuroradiologists (INRs) trained to perform Mechanical Thrombectomy (MT).
MT is a life-saving procedure in which a clinical device is introduced into the affected brain's vasculature to remove a blood clot mechanically. With several significant studies published from 2015 to-present, MT has been proven to be a highly effective and preferable treatment of acute ischemic stroke. Yet, access to this method is still limited. One of the primary reasons behind the limited access is the scarcity of INRs trained to perform the procedure.
As a technically complex procedure with a steep learning curve, MT is difficult to implement and requires expertise, the right tools, teamwork, communication, and optimized workflow. The implementation is particularly challenging for low-volume hospitals where it is difficult for physicians to acquire and maintain their skills due to the low number of cases per year. The traditional teaching principle is "learning by doing," whereby training physicians learn on actual patients, amplifying unnecessary stress and time pressure for all involved.
One way to overcome these educational challenges and facilitate the implementation of MT is to use simulation. The German Society of Neuroradiology (DGNR) is one of the many global societies that has recognized the educational benefits of simulation, and the German Stroke School initiative contains hands-on training on virtual and physical simulators. Society initiatives such as the German Stroke School bring the INR community one step closer to the ultimate goal: for more patients to access MT as a stroke treatment.
The third consecutive German Stroke School was held in October 2021 and began with a full day of lectures during the neuroRAD congress, followed by two dedicated days of hands-on training in Dresden and Munich. The two courses were organized as a joint project by PD Dr. Christian Maegerlein from the Klinikum Rechts der Isar at the Technical University of Munich and PD Dr. Matthias Gawlitza from the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden and then hosted at both institutions. During the practical part of the course in Dresden, 16 training physicians got the opportunity to learn from INR experts. The INR team at Dresden has extensive experience with around 300 MTs a year and ensures that the procedure can be performed 24/7 any day of the year.
The course format allowed the young radiologists and interventional neuroradiologists to receive dedicated expert time and exposure to multiple techniques and devices in an interactive deep-learning environment. Areas such as complication management and workflow optimization were covered, and through case discussions, potential complications and problems were identified enabling the junior physicians to prepare for the unexpected. Simulation provides the ideal first hands-on experience for training physicians and can serve as an immersive educational environment in which autonomous technical skills can be obtained through repetition.
"I had the pleasure to organize the hands-on course of the German Stroke School 2021 in Dresden. Mentice provided a great service and accompanied the course with five simulators, both virtual simulators and physiological flow systems. This was a great feature which was really appreciated by the participants, of whom we received only good feedback."
- Dr. Matthias Gawlitza, Consultant physician, Neuroradiology – Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, Technical University Dresden
"Exercise makes perfect: "Hands-on training" of catheter procedures for stroke patients" (article from Dresden University Hospital, written in German)
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