1 - Extracorporeal Life Support Organisation of the South and West Asia Chapter 2017 Conference Proceedings
  • ISSN: 0253-8253
  • EISSN: 2227-0426


Poland is setting up its first regional ECMO program and relies heavily on the use of simulation in testing processes and training clinicians.1 As ECMO is a complex and expensive procedure, we developed an advanced ECMO simulator for high-fidelity medical simulation training.2–6 It can be used to modify any type of full-body patient simulator and allows for the creation of an unlimited number of scenarios. The system is equipped with an electronic core control unit (CCU) (Figure 1), a set of synthetic valves, pressure sensors, and hydraulic pumps. The major functions of the CCU are to stabilize the hydraulic system (flow of simulated blood, differential pressures in the arterial and venous lines), providing instant information about the system to the user via a display. Electric valves and sensors provide ‘on-the-fly’ information to the CCU about the actual system's status and it can be made to respond to specific instructions imitating the physiological circulatory system and simulating several scenarios (i.e. bleeding, low pressure, occlusion, reaction to proper and incorrect pharmacological treatment). It can be connected to an ECMO machine to act like the human body during ECMO run. Silicone tubes (modified polyethylene) that can be realistically cannulated using ultrasound imaging represent the artificial vessels. The CCU is made of electronic components that can be integrated to customize any mannequin as shown in Figure 1. The hardware includes both digital and analogue components that are controlled by a software run on a computer connected to the CCU via a serial port (RS232) (Figure 2). The software allows for the visualization of measurements obtained from the sensors and the control of the pumps and valves via electronic controllers. The controllers affect the ECMO circuit simulated blood flow, and hence the readings from the ECMO machine sensors, to recreate various clinical scenarios.Figure 1.  The modified patient simulator with circulatory loop prepared for VA ECMO cannulation and CCU (core control unit) for high-fidelity simulations.

Figure 2.  The ECMO simulator architecture.

Every component used can be easily replaced. The total cost of the simulator modification, excluding the cost of the computer or future mobile device, is approximately 200 USD, and the consumable parts cost about 20 USD. It has been used to help simulate successfully a range of scenarios.1 Although the system is currently tethered, the next prototype will include a wireless controller so that the system can be controlled from a mobile application. This advanced simulator allows for unlimited possibilities with regard to creating clinical scenarios. Our ambition is to become a reference ECMO training center in Poland so that our high-fidelity ECMO simulator can be used to its full potential and for the benefit of more clinicians and their patients around Poland.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): ECMOpatient simulatorscenarios and simulation
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