Simulated laparoscopic operating room crisis: An approach to enhance the surgical team performance

Kinga A Powers, Scott T Rehrig, Noel Irias, Hedwig A Albano, Andrew Malinow, Stephanie B Jones, Donald W Moorman, John B Pawlowski, Daniel B Jones
Surgical Endoscopy 2008, 22 (4): 885-900

OBJECTIVE: Diminishing human error and improving patient outcomes is the goal of task training and simulation experience. The fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery (FLS) is a validated tool to assess technical laparoscopic skills. We hypothesize that performance in a crisis depends on technical skills and team performance. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a high-fidelity simulation model of a laparoscopic crisis scenario in a mock endosuite environment.

METHODS: To establish the feasibility of the model as well as its face and construct validity, the scenario evaluated the performances of FLS-certified surgeon experts (n = 5) and non-FLS certified novices (n = 5) during a laparoscopic crisis scenario, in a mock endosuite, on a simulated abdomen. Likert scale questionnaires were used for validity assessments. Groups were compared using previously validated rating scales on technical and nontechnical performance. Objective outcome measures assessed were: time to diagnose bleeding (TD), time to inform the team to convert (TT), and time to conversion to open (TC). SAS software was used for statistical analysis.

RESULTS: Median scores for face validity were 4.29, 4.43, 4.71 (maximum 5) for the FLS, non-FLS, and nursing groups, respectively, with an inter-rater reliability of 93%. Although no difference was observed in Veress needle safety and laparoscopic equipment set up, there was a significant difference between the two groups in their overall technical and nontechnical abilities (p < 0.05), specifically in identifying bleeding, controlling bleeding, team communication, and team skills. There was a trend towards a difference between the two groups for TD, TT, and TC. While experts controlled bleeding in a shorter time, they persisted longer laparoscopically.

CONCLUSIONS: Our evidence suggests that face and construct validity are established for a laparoscopic crisis simulation in a mock endosuite. Technical and nontechnical performance discrimination is observed between novices and experts. This innovative multidisciplinary simulation aims at improving error/problem recognition and timely initiation of appropriate and safe responses by surgical teams.

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