Placement of an Esophageal Temperature Probe by Nurses

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Abstract

Background:

Current guidelines support therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest. An esophageal temperature probe (ETP) provides a core temperature assessment; however, accurate placement is necessary.

Objectives:

To demonstrate accurate placement of an ETP and evaluate the effectiveness of high-fidelity simulation with anatomic imaging.

Methods:

Registered nurses (RNs) were educated using 3-dimensional, high-fidelity simulation with VH Dissector technology (Touch of Life Technologies, Aurora, Colorado) to demonstrate ETP placement. The RNs provided survey responses on the effectiveness of simulation before and after using the simulator.

Results:

Thirty-two RNs participated and did not demonstrate difficulties with the skill; however, 53.1% required more than 1 attempt for accurate placement in the distal esophagus. Survey results found that participants had increased confidence and high satisfaction with simulation and 3-dimensional imaging (P < .001).

Conclusions:

Literature is lacking to guide ETP placement. In this study, RNs overestimated the depth for ETP insertion. Accurate temperature readings are highly dependent on accurate anatomical location placement. Providing skill competency training that incorporated anatomical imaging technology enhanced RNs' awareness for effective skill acquisition.

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