Simulation-Based Training of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation During H1N1 Influenza Pandemic: The Italian Experience

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On November 2009, the Italian health authorities set up a network of selected intensive care unit (ICU) centers (ECMOnet) to prepare for the treatment of the sickest patients of influenza A (H1N1) by means of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).To quickly and efficaciously train all the physicians working in the ICUs of the ECMOnet on ECMO use, we decided to take advantages of the opportunity provided by simulation technology.Simulation proved efficacious in providing adequate training and education to participants as confirmed by the survival results obtained by the group of ICUs of the ECMOnet.Our experience supports the use of simulation as a valuable alternative to animal laboratory sessions proposed by traditional ECMO training programs providing participants with cognitive, technical, and behavioral skills and allowing a proficient transfer of those skills to the real medical domain.

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