Prototype of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy simulator used in regional ECMO program

Mateusz Puslecki, Marcin Ligowski, Michal Kiel, Marek Dabrowski, Sebastian Stefaniak, Maciej Sip, Adrian Maciejewski, Agata Dabrowska, Ilona Kiel-Puslecka, Tomasz Kłosiewicz, Marcin Misterski, Piotr Buczkowski, Lukasz Szarpak, Kurt Ruetzler, Bartlomiej Perek, Michael Czekajlo, Marek Jemielity


Background: Simulation is widely accepted as an important tool in training and educating healthcare providers. The first regional polish extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program called “ECMO for Greater Poland” was recently started.
Methods: We present a prototype for ECMO prepared for high-fidelity medical simulation in extracorporeal life support. ECMO therapy is a complex, difficult and expensive therapy in patient care. We have constructed an advanced ECMO simulation prototype, which can be used as a training tool in scenarios that prepare for real-life experiences. The “ECMO for Greater Poland” program uses high-fidelity simulation as a superior tool to simulate several complex clinical scenarios, and consequently train healthcare providers in rare, complicated and expensive procedures. The training course is standardized and allows repeatable training, improvement of skills, and an objective verification of trained skills.
Results: The ECMO simulation prototype is designed to replicate the physiological circulatory system and simulate several scenarios (i.e., bleeding, low pressure, occlusion, reaction for proper and incorrect pharmacological treatment). The electronic core control unit (CCU) with silicone tubes, artificial vessels (modified polyethylene) and analog components can be connected to an ECMO machine to emulate the human body during an ECMO simulation. If necessary, damaged and used parts can easily be replaced. The total cost of the simulator is approximately 450 and 50 USD for disposable parts.
Conclusions: This newly developed advanced ECMO simulation prototype was recently introduced into education and regularly training of healthcare providers of the “ECMO for Greater Poland” program. The simulation based training program is financially affordable and enables clinical teaching in a wider range of clinical scenarios. The ECMO simulation prototype consequently improves level of expertise of the healthcare providers and finally improves quality in patient care.