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Construction of a Reusable, High-Fidelity Model to Enhance Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Training Through Simulation

Thompson, Jess L. MD, MSc; Grisham, Lisa M. MS, NNP-BC; Scott, Jeanne BSN; Mogan, Chris CCP; Prescher, Hannes BA; Biffar, David MS; Jarred, John BS; Meyer, Robyn J. MD; Hamilton, Allan J. MD

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0000000000000054
Professional Growth and Development

Initiation of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is stressful, especially for inexperienced extracorporeal life support providers. The main objective of this study was to create a novel, reusable mannequin for high-fidelity simulation of ECMO initiation. We modified a Laerdal neonatal mannequin (SimNewB; Stavanger, Norway) so that it could be used to simulate an ECMO initiation. A simulation of a neonatal patient suffering from meconium aspiration was performed in the pediatric intensive care unit, and participants included new extracorporeal life support specialists in addition to the composition of the clinical ECMO team. A total of 17 individuals participated in the neonatal ECMO initiation simulation. Questionnaire results showed that 88% of participants felt better prepared to assist in an ECMO initiation after the simulation. All participants (100%) agreed that the modified mannequin and the environment were realistic and that this simulation helps teamwork and communication in future initiations of ECMO. Simulation can be used for the prevention, identification, and reduction of anxiety–related crisis situations that novice providers may infrequently encounter during routine clinical use of mechanical circulatory support. Use of a reusable, high-fidelity mannequin may be beneficial for effective team training of complex pediatric ECMO–related procedures.

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Section of Congenital Heart Surgery (Dr Thompson and Mr Mogan), Diamond Children's Medical Center (Mss Grisham and Scott), Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center (Ms Grisham, Messrs Prescher, Biffar, and Jarred, and Dr Hamilton), and Department of Pediatrics (Dr Meyer), University of Arizona, Tucson.

Correspondence: Jess L. Thompson, MD, MSc, Section of Congenital Heart Surgery, University of Arizona, 1501 N Campbell Ave, PO Box 245071, Tucson, AZ 85724 (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

© 2014 by The National Association of Neonatal Nurses