Studies show benefit of ECMO simulation

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Two studies conducted by researchers at Le Bonheur Children’s aim to better prepare caregivers for high-risk emergencies in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU). Published in the latest edition of Pediatric Cardiology, both studies focus on the use of simulation-based training modules.

Two studies conducted by researchers at Le Bonheur Children’s aim to better prepare caregivers for high-risk emergencies in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU). Published in the latest edition of Pediatric Cardiology, both studies focus on the use of simulation-based training modules.

The first study’s findings suggest that simulation -based training is an effective method for improving the knowledge, ability and confidence levels of novice ECMO specialists and physician trainees. Currently, training for ECMO— a form of temporary cardiopulmonary support – primarily uses didactic education and occasionally includes various hands-on training modules. Simulation courses with mannequins are available at a few centers as supplemental training, but simulation-based training is not required for certification. Results from the Le Bonheur study showed the simulation-based training is helpful and improves knowledge, ability and confidence for ECMO providers.

“ECMO is a complex life-saving medical therapy requiring rapid clinical decision-making skills in the event of a technical emergency. We have developed a novel ECMO simulation training module and bedside safety checklists of common ECMO emergencies to train novice learners and to assist expert caregivers in this intricate management,” said Samir Shah, MD, a Le Bonheur intensivist and one of the researchers.

A second study proves that simulation-based team training is effective in increasing teamwork and collaboration among multidisciplinary teams in the CVICU during an emergency. The study’s training course simulated a post-pediatric surgery cardiac arrest, a high-risk clinical situation with high morbidity and mortality. Findings show that participation in the simulation-based training improve teamwork, confidence and communication during these high-risk events.

“We want to design innovative training for our staff that can, ultimately, improve patient safety and outcomes in the critical care environment,” said Mayte Figueroa, medical director of Le Bonheur’s CVICU and a primary researcher for both studies.