The future of simulation technologies for complex cardiovascular procedures

Eur Heart J. 2012 Sep;33(17):2127-34. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehs155. Epub 2012 Jun 24.


Changing work practices and the evolution of more complex interventions in cardiovascular medicine are forcing a paradigm shift in the way doctors are trained. Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), carotid artery stenting (CAS), and acute stroke intervention procedures are forcing these changes at a faster pace than in other disciplines. As a consequence, cardiovascular medicine has had to develop a sophisticated understanding of precisely what is meant by 'training' and 'skill'. An evolving conclusion is that procedure training on a virtual reality (VR) simulator presents a viable current solution. These simulations should characterize the important performance characteristics of procedural skill that have metrics derived and defined from, and then benchmarked to experienced operators (i.e. level of proficiency). Simulation training is optimal with metric-based feedback, particularly formative trainee error assessments, proximate to their performance. In prospective, randomized studies, learners who trained to a benchmarked proficiency level on the simulator performed significantly better than learners who were traditionally trained. In addition, cardiovascular medicine now has available the most sophisticated virtual reality simulators in medicine and these have been used for the roll-out of interventions such as CAS in the USA and globally with cardiovascular society and industry partnered training programmes. The Food and Drug Administration has advocated the use of VR simulation as part of the approval of new devices and the American Board of Internal Medicine has adopted simulation as part of its maintenance of certification. Simulation is rapidly becoming a mainstay of cardiovascular education, training, certification, and the safe adoption of new technology. If cardiovascular medicine is to continue to lead in the adoption and integration of simulation, then, it must take a proactive position in the development of metric-based simulation curriculum, adoption of proficiency benchmarking definitions, and then resolve to commit resources so as to continue to lead this revolution in physician training.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiology / education*
  • Cardiology / trends
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Computer Simulation / trends*
  • Computers
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / trends*
  • Feedback
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention / education*
  • Teaching / methods
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / education*