Introduction Teaching cardiac ultrasound (CU) image acquisition requires hands-on practice under qualified instructors supervision. We assessed the efficacy of teaching medical students by their previously trained classmates (teaching assistants [TAs]) compared to teaching by expert trainers (cardiologists or diagnostic medical sonographers. Methods Sixty-six students received 8-hour CU training: 4-hour lectures on ultrasound anatomy and imaging techniques of 6 main CU views (parasternal long [PLAV] and short axis [PSAV]; apical 4-chamber [4ch], 2-chamber [2ch], and 3-chamber [3ch]; and sub costal [SC]) followed by 4 hours of hands-on exercise in groups of 5 students under direct supervision of a TA (group A: 44 students) or a qualified trainer (group B: 22 students). Students’ proficiency was evaluated on a 6-minute test in which they were required to demonstrate 32 predetermined anatomic landmarks spread across the 6 views and ranked on a 0–100 scale according to a predetermined key. Results The 6-minute test final grade displayed superiority of group A over group B (54±17 vs. 39 ±21, respectively [p = 0.001]). This trend was continuous across all 6 main views: PLAV (69 ±18 vs. 54±23, respectively), PSAV (65±33 vs. 41±32, respectively), 4ch (57±19 vs. 43±26, respectively), 2ch (37±29 vs. 33±27, respectively), 3ch (48±23 vs. 35±25, respectively), and SC (36±27 vs. 24±28, respectively). Conclusions Teaching medical students CU imaging acquisition by qualified classmates is feasible. Moreover, students instructors were superior to senior instructors when comparing their students’ capabilities in a practical test. Replacing experienced instructors with TAs could help medical schools teach ultrasound techniques with minimal dependence on highly qualified trainers.
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