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Teaching epidural catheter placement to left-handed trainees
Abstract Number: F-46
Abstract Type: Original Research
Background: Approximately 10% of the world’s population is left handed. Some anesthesia instruments/ procedures, such as laryngoscopes/direct laryngoscopy, were created with only the right handed user in mind. In these instances the left handed person learns the technique using his/her right hand as dominant. For other, more symmetrical procedures, anesthesiologists disagree about the optimal teaching method for left-handed trainees. We created this survey to gain insight into how right handed practitioners teach left handed trainees epidural placement, and vice versa, the goal being to answer if one should teach left or right handed epidural catheter placement to a left hand dominant person.
Method: After Institutional Review Board exemption, we created a 13 question, multiple choice online survey. An email solicitation request was sent out to all anesthesia program directors each residency program director was asked to forward the survey e-mail link to faculty involved in the teaching of epidurals. The anonymous online survey was hosted by the website surveymonkey.com®.
Results: 134 responses were collected from teaching physicians. Of the 86% of instructors who reported that they were right hand dominant, 88% use their right hand to advance the loss of resistance syringe. 83% of instructors allow right handed trainees use which ever hand they feel comfortable with to hold the Tuohy needle. 90% of instructors allow left handed trainees to use whatever hand they feel most comfortable with. Based on a likelihood ratio test with 2 degrees of freedom, the distributions of responses to Question 10 “Do you insist right handed trainees practice the right handed technique or work with which ever hand they feel is comfortable to them?” were statistically different from the distribution of responses to Question 11 “Do you insist left handed trainees practice the right handed technique or work with whichever hand they feel is comfortable to them?”. The deviance was 7.3 corresponding to a p-value of .03.
Conclusion: The pattern of responses regarding teaching right handed trainees (question 10) differs significantly from the pattern of responses regarding teaching left handed trainees (question 11). Therefore, it is our conclusion that instructors train right and left handed people differently. These findings provide the basis for further studies to determine the optimal method of teaching left handed trainees epidural catheter placement.