Literature Evidence on Live Animal Versus Synthetic Models for Training and Assessing Trauma Resuscitation Procedures

J Spec Oper Med. 2016 summer;16(2):44-51.


There are many models currently used for teaching and assessing performance of trauma-related airway, breathing, and hemorrhage procedures. Although many programs use live animal (live tissue [LT]) models, there is a congressional effort to transition to the use of nonanimal- based methods (i.e., simulators, cadavers) for military trainees. We examined the existing literature and compared the efficacy, acceptability, and validity of available models with a focus on comparing LT models with synthetic systems. Literature and Internet searches were conducted to examine current models for seven core trauma procedures. We identified 185 simulator systems. Evidence on acceptability and validity of models was sparse. We found only one underpowered study comparing the performance of learners after training on LT versus simulator models for tube thoracostomy and cricothyrotomy. There is insufficient data-driven evidence to distinguish superior validity of LT or any other model for training or assessment of critical trauma procedures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Management*
  • Animals
  • Cadaver
  • Clinical Competence
  • Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Manikins
  • Models, Animal*
  • Resuscitation / education*
  • Simulation Training*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*