Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess whether a literature review of a technology can allow a learning curve to be quantified. METHODS: The literature for fiberoptic intubation was searched for studies reporting information relevant to the learning curve. The Cochrane Library, Medline, Embase, and Science Citation index were searched. Studies that reported a procedure time were included. Data were abstracted on the three features of learning: initial level, rate of learning, and asymptote level. Random effects meta-analysis was performed. RESULTS: Only twenty-one studies gave explicit information concerning the previous experience of the operator(s). There were thirty-two different definitions of procedure time. From four studies of fiberoptic nasotracheal intubation, the mean starting level and time for the 10th procedure was estimated to be 133 seconds (95 percent confidence interval, 113-153) and 71 seconds (95 percent confidence interval, 62-79), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The review approach allowed learning to be quantified for our example technology. Poor and insufficient reporting constrained formal statistical estimation. Standardized reporting of nondrug techniques with adequate learning curve details is needed to inform trial design and cost-effectiveness analysis.

Original publication




Journal article


Int j technol assess health care

Publication Date





255 - 260


Fiber Optic Technology, Humans, Intubation, Intratracheal, Learning, Norway, Organizational Case Studies