Simulation-Based Training in Cardiac Surgery

Richard H. Feins, Harold M. Burkhart, John V. Conte, Daniel N. Coore, James I. Fann, George L. Hicks, Jonathan C. Nesbitt, Paul S. Ramphal, Sharon E. Schiro, K. Robert Shen, Amaanti Sridhar, Paul W. Stewart, Jennifer D. Walker, Nahush A. Mokadam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Background Operating room surgical training has significant limitations. This study hypothesized that some skills could be learned efficiently and safely by using simulation with component task training, deliberate practice, progressive complexity, and experienced coaching to produce safer cardiac surgeons. Methods Training modules included cardiopulmonary bypass, coronary artery bypass grafting, aortic valve replacement, massive air embolism, acute intraoperative aortic dissection, and sudden deterioration in cardiac function. Using deliberate practice, first-year cardiothoracic surgical residents at eight institutions were trained and evaluated on component tasks for each module and later on full cardiac operations. Evaluations were based on five-point Likert-scale tools indexed by module, session, task items, and repetitions. Statistical analyses relied on generalized linear model estimation and corresponding confidence intervals. Results The 27 residents who participated demonstrated improvement with practice repetitions resulting in excellent final scores per module (mean ± two SEs): cardiopulmonary bypass, 4.80 ± 0.12; coronary artery bypass grafting, 4.41 ± 0.19; aortic valve replacement, 4.51 ± 0.20; massive air embolism, 0.68 ± 0.14; acute intraoperative aortic dissection, 4.52 ± 0.17; and sudden deterioration in cardiac function, 4.76 ± 0.16. The transient detrimental effect of time away from training was also evident. Conclusions Overall performance in component tasks and complete cardiac surgical procedures improved during simulation-based training. Simulation-based training imparts skill sets for management of adverse events and can help produce safer surgeons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-321
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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