Pediatric extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a high risk, low-volume technology. Infrequency of this technology and associated complications may translate to unfamiliarity of identification and management of potentially life-threatening
events. Health care providers (HCP) involved in managing ECMO must be able to promptly identify and initiate management for such
A multidisciplinary ECMO simulation program was implemented in a tertiary children’s hospital. Over 18 months, a prospective, observational study was conducted evaluating simulations involving circuit and patient emergencies, teamwork and communication behaviors and technical skills. An on-line survey was sent to participants following sessions to evaluate post-simulation confidence,
lessons learned and potential barriers to implementation of necessary skills and behaviors.
Ten simulation sessions occurred during implementation. Mean participants per session was 7 (range: 5-11). Eight PCICU
attendings, four APNs, 54 RNs (PCICU/PICU), and 55 pediatric RTs attended. Tasks with highest self-reported increase in confidence were
related to 1) diagnosis (tension pneumothorax, oxygenator failure, and ventricular tachycardia), 2) fluid administration and 3) early and
efficient mobilization for ECPR. More than 90% of participants provided a task or behavior they would implement if a specific emergency
was encountered in real-life. Real-life application did occur following simulations with participants reporting direct impact of training on
their ability to perform the skill efficiently and correctly.
Implementation of ECMO multidisciplinary simulations provides structured opportunities for the team to learn and practice
ECMO skills together. Ensuring competency of healthcare professionals through implementation of such a program may improve patient
safety through enhanced team communication, knowledge, and hands-on experience.