Major complications associated with airway management are rare but often have serious consequences. Complications frequently result from failures in communication and teamwork. We performed a systematic review on the effect of simulation-based team training on patient outcomes, healthcare professionals' clinical performance and preparedness for airway management. We included studies with simulation-based team training in airway management as the educational intervention, using any comparator, outcome and design. Two authors independently selected articles and assessed risk of bias using the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument and Newcastle-Ottawa Scale-Education. We screened 1248 titles and evaluated 116 full-text articles. Twenty-two studies were included. The Kirkpatrick model for evaluation of training was used to organise outcomes. Four studies reported patient-centred outcomes (Kirkpatrick level 4), and three studies' outcomes related to healthcare professionals' clinical performance (Kirkpatrick level 3). The results were ambiguous and the studies had significant methodological limitations, making it difficult to draw conclusions on the effect of simulation-based team training. To describe preparedness for airway management, we used outcomes related to participants' attitudes or perceptions and outcomes related to knowledge or skills demonstrated in a test setting (Kirkpatrick level 2). Most studies reporting these outcomes were in favour of simulation-based team training, but were prone to bias. We consider the current evidence to be weak and recommend that future research should be based on randomised study designs and patient-centred outcomes.
Keywords: airway management; education; simulation-based team training.
© 2021 Association of Anaesthetists.