Creation and Validation of a Novel Mobile Simulation Laboratory for High Fidelity, Prehospital, Difficult Airway Simulation

Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016 Oct;31(5):465-70. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X16000534. Epub 2016 Aug 17.


Introduction Endotracheal intubation (ETI) is a complex clinical skill complicated by the inherent challenge of providing care in the prehospital setting. Literature reports a low success rate of prehospital ETI attempts, partly due to the care environment and partly to the lack of consistent standardized training opportunities of prehospital providers in ETI. Hypothesis/Problem The availability of a mobile simulation laboratory (MSL) to study clinically critical interventions is needed in the prehospital setting to enhance instruction and maintain proficiency. This report is on the development and validation of a prehospital airway simulator and MSL that mimics in situ care provided in an ambulance.

Methods: The MSL was a Type 3 ambulance with four cameras allowing audio-video recordings of observable behaviors. The prehospital airway simulator is a modified airway mannequin with increased static tongue pressure and a rigid cervical collar. Airway experts validated the model in a static setting through ETI at varying tongue pressures with a goal of a Grade 3 Cormack-Lehane (CL) laryngeal view. Following completion of this development, the MSL was launched with the prehospital airway simulator to distant communities utilizing a single facilitator/driver. Paramedics were recruited to perform ETI in the MSL, and the detailed airway management observations were stored for further analysis.

Results: Nineteen airway experts performed 57 ETI attempts at varying tongue pressures demonstrating increased CL views at higher tongue pressures. Tongue pressure of 60 mm Hg generated 31% Grade 3/4 CL view and was chosen for the prehospital trials. The MSL was launched and tested by 18 paramedics. First pass success was 33% with another 33% failing to intubate within three attempts.

Conclusions: The MSL created was configured to deliver, record, and assess intubator behaviors with a difficult airway simulation. The MSL created a reproducible, high fidelity, mobile learning environment for assessment of simulated ETI performance by prehospital providers. Bischof JJ , Panchal AR , Finnegan GI , Terndrup TE . Creation and validation of a novel mobile simulation laboratory for high fidelity, prehospital, difficult airway simulation. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016;31(5):465-470.

Keywords: CL Cormack-Lehane; EMS; EMS Emergency Medical Services; ETI endotracheal intubation; ETT endotracheal tube; MSL mobile simulation laboratory; airway management; endotracheal intubation; prehospital; simulation.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Management / standards*
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods
  • Male
  • Manikins
  • Middle Aged
  • Simulation Training*
  • Video Recording