Ultrasound-guided procedures in medical education: a fresh look at cadavers

Riley Hoyer, Russel Means, Jeffrey Robertson, Douglas Rappaport, Charles Schmier, Travis Jones, Lori Ann Stolz, Stephen Jerome Kaplan, William - Adamas-Rappaport, Richard Amini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Demand for bedside ultrasound in medicine has created a need for earlier exposure to ultrasound education during the clinical years of undergraduate medical education. Although bedside ultrasound is often used for invasive medical procedures, there is no standardized educational model for procedural skills that can provide the learner a real-life simulated experience. The objective of our study was to describe a unique fresh cadaver preparation model, and to determine the impact of a procedure-focused ultrasound training session. This study was a cross-sectional study at an urban academic medical center. A sixteen-item questionnaire was administered at the beginning and end of the session. Fifty-five third year medical students participated in this 1-day event during their surgical clerkship. Students were trained to perform the following ultrasound-guided procedures: internal jugular vein cannulation, femoral vein cannulation femoral artery cannulation and pericardiocentesis. Preparation of the fresh cadaver is easily replicated and requires minor manipulation of cadaver vessels and pericardial space. Fifty-five medical students in their third year participated in this study. All of the medical students agreed that US could help increase their confidence in performing procedures in the future. Eighty percent (95 % CI 70–91 %) of students felt that there was a benefit of learning ultrasound-based anatomy in addition to traditional methods. Student confidence was self-rated on a five-point Likert scale. Student confidence increased with statistical significance in all of the skills taught. The most dramatic increase was noted in central venous line placement, which improved from 1.95 (SD = 0.11) to 4.2 (SD = 0.09) (p < 0.001). The use of fresh cadavers for procedure-focused US education is a realistic method that improves the confidence of third year medical students in performing complex but critical procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalInternal and Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Cadaver
  • Medical procedures
  • Ultrasound
  • Undergraduate medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency Medicine


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