Impact of an open-chest extracorporeal membrane oxygenation model for in situ simulated team training: a pilot study

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2014 Jan;18(1):17-20; discussion 20. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivt437. Epub 2013 Oct 17.


Objectives: To develop an affordable realistic open-chest extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) model for embedded in situ interprofessional crisis resource management training in emergency management of a post-cardiac surgery child.

Methods: An innovative attachment to a high-fidelity mannequin (Laerdal Simbaby) was used to enable a cardiac tamponade/ECMO standstill scenario. Two saline bags with blood dye were placed over the mannequin's chest. A 'heart' bag with venous and arterial outlets was connected to the corresponding tubes of the ECMO circuit. The bag was divided into arterial and venous parts by loosely wrapping silicon tubing around its centre. A 'pericardial' bag was placed above it. Both were then covered by a chest skin that had a sutured silicone membrane window. False blood injected into the 'pericardial' bag caused expansion leading to (i) bulging of silastic membrane, simulating tamponade, and (ii) compression of tubing around the 'heart' bag, creating negative venous pressures and cessation of ECMO flow. In situ Simulation Paediatric Resuscitation Team Training (SPRinT) was performed on paediatric intensive care unit; the course included a formal team training/scenario of an open-chest ECMO child with acute cardiac tamponade due to blocked chest drains/debriefing by trained facilitators.

Results: Cardiac tamponade was reproducible, and ECMO flow/circuit pressure changes were effective and appropriate. There were eight participants: one cardiac surgeon, two intensivists, one cardiologist, one perfusionist and three nurses. Five of the eight reported the realism of the model and 6/8 the realism of the clinical scenario as highly effective. Eight of eight reported a highly effective impact on (i) their practice and (ii) teamwork. Six of eight reported a highly effective impact on communication skills and increased confidence in attending future real events.

Conclusions: Innovative adaptation of a high-fidelity mannequin for open-chest ECMO simulation can achieve a realistic and reproducible training model. The impact on interprofessional team training is promising but needs to be validated further.

Keywords: Cardiac tamponade; Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation complications; Interprofessional team training; Simulation.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Cardiac Tamponade / etiology
  • Cardiac Tamponade / therapy*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods*
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / methods*
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / education*
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation / nursing
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inservice Training / methods*
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Learning
  • Manikins*
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Resuscitation / education*
  • Resuscitation / nursing
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Task Performance and Analysis