Australian otolaryngology, head and neck surgery trainee education for contemporary airway management of obstructive sleep apnoea: a pilot randomised controlled study

Publication Name

Australian Journal of Otolaryngology


Background: This study was a pilot randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of sleep surgery specific educational material exposure on Australian Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeons (OHNS) trainee performance in a sleep surgery examination. Methods: Forty-six OHNS were randomized to either having access to pre-exam sleep surgery specific educational materials, or no exposure. Following a 2-week exposure period, trainees undertook an online multiple choice questions (MCQ) exam (40 questions), as well as a short-written answer [marked by a blinded international sleep surgery expert (SGM)]. Sub group analysis was performed comparing accredited trainees (currently completing formal training program) and non-accredited trainees. Results: The mean multiple-choice exam test score (expressed as % correct) was 52.63±10.54 in the exposure group and 56.00±12.66 in the control group [mean difference 1.3±1.6 (3.3%), P=0.41]. The mean written exam test score (expressed as % correct) was 58.57±14.89 in the exposure group and 49.42±15.82 in the control group [mean difference 1.8±1.2 (9.0%), P=0.14]. Sub-group analysis showed no significant difference between scores in the accredited and non-accredited groups for the multiple-choice exam. There was, however, an observed superior performance in the written exam by the accredited trainees. Short term educational intervention may not be sufficient training in complex and nuanced decision making required for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) patients. Conclusions: There is currently no formal curriculum for training or assessment of competency of OHNS trainees in the management of complex OSA patients. Further research is required to identify the best ways possible to educate OHNS trainees in sleep surgery.

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute



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