BACKGROUND: Lower extremity trauma during earthquakes accounts for the largest burden of geophysical disaster-related injuries. Insufficient pain management is common in disaster settings, and regional anesthesia (RA) has the potential to reduce pain in injured patients beyond current standards. To date, no prospective research has evaluated the use of RA in a disaster setting. This cross-sectional study assesses knowledge translation and skill acquisition outcomes for lower extremity RA performed with and without ultrasound guidance among a cohort of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) volunteers who will function as proceduralists in a planned randomized controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of RA for pain management in an earthquake setting.
METHODS: Generalist humanitarian healthcare responders, including both physicians and nurses, were trained in ultrasound guided femoral nerve block (USGFNB) and landmark guided fascia iliaca compartment block (LGFICB) techniques using didactic sessions and interactive simulations during a one-day focused course. Outcome measures evaluated interval knowledge attainment and technical proficiency in performing the RA procedures. Knowledge attainment was assessed via pre- and post-test evaluations and procedural proficiency was evaluated through monitored simulations, with performance of critical actions graded by two independent observers.
RESULTS: Twelve humanitarian response providers were enrolled and completed the trainings and assessments. Knowledge scores significantly increased from a mean pre-test score of 79% to post-test score of 88% (p
DISCUSSION: Prior to conducting a trial of RA in a disaster setting, providers need to gain understanding and skills necessary to perform the interventions. This evaluation demonstrated attainment of high knowledge and technical skill scores in both physicians and nurses after a brief training in regional anesthesia techniques. This study demonstrates the feasibility of rapidly training generalist humanitarian responders to provide both LGFICB and USGFNB during humanitarian emergencies.