Randomized controlled trial comparing dynamic simulation with static simulation in trauma

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Current general surgery residents have limited exposure to open trauma operative cases. Simulation supplements variable rotation volume and provides experience with critical but rarely performed procedures. Open simulation classically focuses on static models with anatomic accuracy but lacks practicality when hemorrhage control is the lifesaving maneuver. We sought to evaluate whether training on a dynamic simulator, while much less expensive than training on a static cadaver, might be at least as effective in training surgery residents to expeditiously place temporary vascular shunts (TVSs).

METHODS

Our research team developed an inexpensive, reusable dynamic simulator with ongoing hemorrhage to instruct trainees in the steps of TVS placement. We enrolled 54 general surgery residents in a noninferiority randomized controlled trial comparing training of TVS placement on the dynamic simulator (n = 28) versus a cadaver arm (n = 26). After standardized video didactics, trainees practiced on either the simulator or cadaver arm. After the trainees achieved competency, they were tested on placing a TVS for a live swine femoral artery injury. Two blinded trauma surgeons evaluated the recorded performances.

RESULTS

Residents did not differ in baseline characteristics between groups, and all residents in both groups successfully completed the TVS placement test. Subjects trained on the simulator placed the TVS faster than those trained on a cadaver (584 seconds vs. 751 seconds; difference, +167 seconds faster; 90% confidence interval [CI], +52 to +282 seconds), with a trend toward faster time to hemorrhage control (110 seconds vs. 148 seconds; difference, +38 seconds faster; 90% CI, −8 to +84). There was no significant difference in Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills scores (3.72 vs. 3.44; difference, +0.27 units better; 90% CI, −0.04 to +0.59).

CONCLUSION

Training on a dynamic simulator resulted in noninferior time to completion of vascular shunt placement compared with training on a cadaver. The addition of dynamic hemorrhage to simulators might inexpensively augment trauma skills training.

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