Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation simulation-based training: methods, drawbacks and a novel solution
Introduction: Patients under the error-prone and complication-burdened extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) are looked after by a highly trained, multidisciplinary team. Simulation-based training (SBT) affords ECMO centers the opportunity to equip practitioners with the technical dexterity required to manage emergencies. The aim of this article is to review ECMO SBT activities and technology followed by a novel solution to current challenges. ECMO simulation: The commonly-used simulation approach is easy-to-build as it requires a functioning ECMO machine and an altered circuit. Complications are simulated through manual circuit manipulations. However, scenario diversity is limited and often lacks physiological and/or mechanical authenticity. It is also expensive to continuously operate due to the consumption of highly specialized equipment. Technological aid: Commercial extensions can be added to enable remote control and to automate circuit manipulation, but do not improve on the realism or cost-effectiveness. A modular ECMO simulator: To address those drawbacks, we are developing a standalone modular ECMO simulator that employs affordable technology for high-fidelity simulation.