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A Needs Assessment of Brain Death Education in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowships*

Ausmus, Andrew M., MD1; Simpson, Pippa M., PhD2; Zhang, Liyun, MS2; Petersen, Tara L., MD1

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine: July 2018 - Volume 19 - Issue 7 - p 643–648
doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000001548
Neurocritical Care
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Objectives: To assess the current training in brain death examination provided during pediatric critical care medicine fellowship.

Design: Internet-based survey.

Setting: United States pediatric critical care medicine fellowship programs.

Subjects: Sixty-four pediatric critical care medicine fellowship program directors and 230 current pediatric critical care medicine fellows/recent graduates were invited to participate.

Interventions: Participants were asked demographic questions related to their fellowship programs, training currently provided at their fellowship programs, previous experience with brain death examinations (fellows/graduates), and perceptions regarding the adequacy of current training.

Measurements and Main Results: Twenty-nine program directors (45%) and 91 current fellows/graduates (40%) responded. Third-year fellows reported having performed a median of five examinations (interquartile range, 3–6). On a five-point Likert scale, 93% of program directors responded they “agree” or “strongly agree” that their fellows receive enough instruction on performing brain death examinations compared with 67% of fellows and graduates (p = 0.007). The responses were similar when asked about opportunity to practice brain death examinations (90% vs 54%; p < 0.001). In a regression tree analysis, number of brain death examinations performed was the strongest predictor of trainee satisfaction. Both fellows and program directors preferred bedside demonstration or simulation as educational modalities to add to the fellowship curriculum.

Conclusions: Pediatric critical care medicine fellows overall perform relatively few brain death examinations during their training. Pediatric critical care medicine fellows and program directors disagree in their perceptions of the current training in brain death examination, with fellows perceiving a need for increased training. Both program directors and fellows prefer additional training using bedside demonstration or simulation. Since clinical exposure to brain death examinations is variable, adding simulated brain death examinations to the pediatric critical care medicine fellowship curriculum could help standardize the experience.

1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI.

2Department of Pediatrics, Division of Quantitative Health Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI.

*See also p. 678.

Supported, in part, by an internal grant from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Ausmus received internal funding from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Petersen disclosed that this study was funded, in part, by an internal grant from the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Department of Pediatrics. The remaining authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

Address requests for reprints to: Andrew M. Ausmus, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Critical Care, Medical College of Wisconsin, 9000 W. Wisconsin Avenue, MS 681, Milwaukee, WI 53226. E-mail: aausmus@cmh.edu

©2018The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies