Interprofessional Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Simulations Aimed at Decreasing Actual Cannulation Times: A Longitudinal Study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Simulation in healthcare : journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare








BACKGROUND: Since 2013, the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) at Children's National has conducted annual extracorporeal membrane oxygenation cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) simulations that focus on team dynamics, room setup, and high-quality CPR. In 2019 and 2020, the simulations were expanded to include the surgical and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) teams in an effort to better understand and improve this process. METHODS: During a 4-week period in 2019, 7 peripheral ECPR simulations were conducted, and through a 3-week period in 2020, 7 central ECPR simulations were conducted. Participants in each session included: 8 to 10 CICU nurses, 1 CICU attending, 1 to 2 ICU or cardiology fellows, 1 cardiovascular surgery fellow or attending, and 1 ECMO specialist. For each session, the scenario continued until the simulated patient was on full cardiopulmonary bypass. An ECMO trainer was used for peripheral simulations and a 3-dimensionally-printed heart was used for central cannulations. An ECMO checklist was used to objectively determine when the patient and room were fully prepared for surgical intervention, and simulated cannulation times were recorded for both groups. A retrospective chart review was conducted to compare actual cannulation times before and after the intervention period, and video was used to review the events and assist in dividing them into medical versus surgical phases. Control charts were used to trend the total ECPR times before and after the intervention period, and mean and P values were calculated for both ECPR times and for all other categorical data. RESULTS: Mean peripheral ECPR times decreased significantly from 71.7 to 45.1 minutes ( P = 0.036) after the intervention period, and this was reflected by a centerline shift. Although we could not describe a similar decrease in central ECPR times because there were only 6 postintervention events, the times for each of these events were shorter than the historical mean of 37.8 minutes. There was a trend in improved survival, which did not meet significance both among patients undergoing peripheral ECPR (15.4% ± 10% to 43.8% ± 12.4%, P = 0.10) and central ECPR (36.4% ± 8.4% to 50% ± 25%, P = 0.60). The percentage of time dedicated to the medical phases of the actual versus simulated procedures was very consistent among both peripheral (33.0% vs. 31.9%) and central (39.6% vs. 39.8%) cannulations. CONCLUSIONS: We observed a significant decrease in peripheral cannulation times at our institution after conducting interprofessional ECPR simulations taken to the establishment of full cardiopulmonary bypass. The use of an ECMO trainer and a 3-dimensionally-printed heart allowed for both the medical and surgical phases of the procedure to be studied in detail, providing opportunities to streamline and improve this complex process. Larger multisite studies will be needed in the future to assess the effect of efforts like these on patient survival.