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Original research
Current status of training environments in neuro-interventional practice: are animal models still contemporary?
  1. Marie Teresa Nawka1,
  2. Jens Fiehler1,
  3. Johanna Spallek2,
  4. Jan-Hendrik Buhk1,
  5. Andreas Maximilian Frölich1
  1. 1 Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Product Development and Mechanical Engineering Design, Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marie Teresa Nawka, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg 20246, Germany; m.nawka{at}


Purpose Several different training environments for practicing neurointerventional procedures have been realized in silico, in vitro, and in vivo. We seek to replace animal-based training with suitable alternatives. In an effort to determine present training model distribution and preferences, we interviewed interventional neuroradiologists from 25 different countries about their experience in distinct training environments.

Methods A voluntary online survey comprising 24 questions concerning the different training facilities was designed and electronically conducted with the members of the European Society for Minimally Invasive Neurological Therapy.

Results Seventy-one physicians with an average experience of 11.8 (±8.7) years completed the survey. The majority of participants had experience with animal-based training (eg, stroke intervention: 36; 50.7%). Overall, animal-based training was rated as the most suitable environment to practice coil embolization (20 (±6)), flow diverter placement (13 (±7)), and stroke intervention (13.5 (±9)). In-vitro training before using a new device in patients was supported by most participants (35; 49.3%). Additionally, preference for certain training models was related to the years of experience.

Conclusion This survey discloses the preferred training modalities in European neurointerventional centers with the majority of physicians supporting the general concept of in-vitro training, concomitantly lacking a standardized curriculum for educating neurointerventional physicians. Most suitable training modalities appeared to be dependent on procedure and experience. As animal-based training is still common, alternate artificial environments meeting these demands must be further developed.

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  • Contributors Conception/design of work – AMF, J-HB. Data collection – AMF, JS. Data analysis and interpretation – J-HB, AMF, JF. Drafting the article – AMF. Critical revision of the article – JS, J-HB, AMF, JF. Final approval of the version to be published – J-HB, AMF, JF. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved – JS, J-HB, AMF, JF.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.