Objective Validation of YouTube Educational Videos for the Instruction of Regional Anesthesia Nerve Blocks

BMC Anesthesiology (07/09/20) Vol. 20, No. 168 Tewfik, George L.; Work, Adam N.; Shulman, Steven M.; et al.

YouTube offers free and easily accessible — but unvetted — instructional videos to help anesthesia providers gain experience with nerve blocks. To gauge the quality of these offerings, researchers at Rutgers University compared the top five YouTube videos for seven regional anesthesia techniques with high-quality educational resources provided by respected anesthesia society websites. After reviewing training materials at the New York School of Regional Anesthesia (NYSORA), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and Ultrasound for Regional Anesthesia (USRA), investigators identified 18 important educational characteristics. They then determined whether the YouTube content exhibited the same traits, such as technique, patient positioning, references, guide for catheter placement, atlas picture of anatomy, landmarks and indications. The analysis determined that YouTube training videos on axillary, femoral, infraclavicular, interscalene, popliteal, supraclavicular and TAP (transversus abdominis plane) blocks are inferior to high-quality instructional content found at NYSORA, ACEP and USRA. The most glaring difference was observed for the "references" characteristic, which the societies addressed 100% of the time for each nerve block but which nearly 86% of the YouTube videos ignored. Without clear sourcing of information, the study authors write, the accuracy of the information cannot be validated. While a promising resource — particularly for experienced providers adding to their knowledge or exploring different techniques — the researchers conclude that YouTube videos should not replace textbook learning or high-quality educational material provided from medical societies specializing in regional anesthesia, especially among those receiving their first exposure to a particular block.

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