Making the Cut: Implementing a Low Cost, Low Fidelity Simulation Model for Teaching Emergency Thoracotomy Procedure

Cureus. 2020 May 13;12(5):e8088. doi: 10.7759/cureus.8088.


Emergent thoracotomy is a rare but high-stakes procedure for trauma patients. Emergency medicine residents are expected to perform this procedure after graduation, but few get the opportunity to perform it, leading to suboptimal performance and patient morbidity and mortality. Previous low-cost thoracotomy trainers revolve around modifying an existing costly thoracotomy task trainer or bear limited resemblance to actual landmarks and anatomy. This study attempts to bridge this gap by creating a low-cost model with supplies found at most home improvement/craft stores that is more anatomically accurate. We constructed a low fidelity model, which residents ultimately found to be helpful in mastering this rare procedure, and after the training session, they reported a greater level of comfort and familiarization with the procedure.

Keywords: low fidelity; medical education; procedure training; simulation in medical education; simulation trainer; thoracotomy; trauma.