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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 109-115

Echocardiography as an important tool for teaching and learning in the preclinical phase of the medical school curriculum

1 Department of Cardiology, University Hospital Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE
2 Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE
3 Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE; Department of Physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

Correspondence Address:
Adel B Elmoselhi
College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Sharjah.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/abhs.abhs_3_21

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Background: A transformation in medical education is currently underway, prioritizing competency and clinical integration with basic sciences. This study explores the feasibility of the early echocardiography (Echo) experience as an adjunct tool for teaching heart anatomy and physiology to second-year medical students. Methods: The study was conducted on 99 students in a problem-based learning curriculum. Students were introduced to cardiac anatomy and physiology as well as to the basic principles of ultrasonography before the Echo sessions. A pretest was conducted at the beginning of the Echo theoretical session, consisting of 10 questions on Echo images. The practical sessions included hands-on experience on standardized patients with a checklist of commonly demonstrated structures in left parasternal and apical four-chamber windows. A posttest with the same questions was repeated after the clinical sessions. Results: The posttest outcome revealed a significant improvement in identifying the cardiac structures and function compared with the pretest (P-value ≤ 0.0001). Although the students were very accurate in identifying heart chambers and valves without assistance, the pulmonary artery and valve in the parasternal short axis were mainly able to be identified with assistance. Further, 92% of students admitted that prior basic knowledge is essential for Echo image identification, and 86% stated that integrating this experience helps consolidate different phases of the cardiac cycle. Conclusion: The Echo’s spatial orientation with prior basic knowledge seems to provide an effective tool in consolidating medical students’ understanding of heart anatomical relations and cardiac physiology.

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