Transport and Retrieval on ECMO: Setup and Activities of an Immersive Transport and Retrieval on ECMO Workshop
Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS) and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) are widely used for acute severe refractory cardiac and/or respiratory failure. An increasing number of patients are treated with ECMO worldwide. This can be attributed to technical and technological advancements, eased access to modern equipment, more regular and accessible training opportunities for practitioners to maintain current skills and develop new ones. Typically, ECMO is provided at tertiary or regional centers which are often university affiliated. In a significant number of patients, ECMO may be initiated at a peripheral hospital before they are transported to a tertiary facility by a specialized multiprofessional ECMO team. The transport phase is however fraught with challenges and untoward events are not uncommon during ECMO transportation, so a robust education and training program is critical to ensure patient safety and optimum outcome. This article describes our experience of developing and running a simulation-based ECMO Transport and Retrieval workshop with multiple immersive scenarios and opportunities for participants to familiarize themselves with the process and the ambulance equipment and environment. Preparation is a key element to successfully run scenarios that are technically challenging to facilitate due to the environment and equipment involved. To date, 136 multidisciplinary ECMO providers have attended the workshop and no incidents have been reported by our teams during actual transfers and retrieval missions with patients on ECMO.