Recent advances of simulation in obstetric anesthesia

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Purpose of review

Simulation training in obstetric anesthesia has become widespread in recent years. Simulations are used to train staff and trainees, assess and improve team performance, and evaluate the work environment. This review summarizes current research in these categories.

Recent findings

Simulation to improve individual technical skills has focused on induction of general anesthesia for emergent cesarean delivery, an infrequently encountered scenario by anesthesia trainees. Low- and high-fidelity simulation devices for the learning and practicing neuraxial and non-neuraxial procedures have been described, and both are equally effective. The use of checklists in obstetric emergencies has become common as and post-scenario debriefing techniques have improved. Although participant task performance improves, whether participants retain learned skills or whether simulation improves patient outcomes has not yet been established. Tools to assess teamwork during simulation have been developed, but none have been rigorously validated. In-situ vs. offsite simulations do not differ in effectiveness.


Simulation allows for practice of tasks and teamwork in a controlled manner. There is little data whether simulation improves patient outcomes and metrics to predict the long-term retention of skills by simulation participants have not been developed.

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