The peri-mortem cesarean section, rebranded in recent years as the “Resuscitative Hysterotomy”, is a potentially lifesaving procedure for both a pregnant mother and her child. It is both daunting and infrequently performed, necessitating frequent review of indications, techniques, and pitfalls to ensure the best possible outcome for mother and baby. The decision to perform this procedure should be made only in pulseless women with a uterine fundus above the umbilicus, which indicates a gestation of >20 weeks.1,2 Prior studies suggest the procedure should be performed within 5 minutes of maternal cardiac arrest in order to maximize the probability of favorable maternal neurologic outcome and the secondary goal of fetal survival.3 Given the paucity of clinical exposure to this potentially-life saving intervention, resuscitative hysterotomy is an ideal candidate for simulation-mediated deliberate practice.
To date, there are only a few commercially-manufactured resuscitative hysterotomy task-trainers available, and each tends to be costly to purchase and maintain.4–6 Appendix 1 lists the commercially available resuscitative hysterotomy models.
To address these issues, the authors sought to develop a homegrown, high-fidelity, realistic, tissue-based task trainer, easily incorporated into an inexpensive childbirth simulator with the overarching goals of:
- Enhancing procedural training of resuscitative hysterotomies
- Integrating this simulation model into any clinical or pre-clinical environment for an immediate, hands on, rapid cycle deliberate practice with EM residents.
In accordance with the ACGME EM Milestones, the biosimulation resuscitative hysterotomy model affords the learners opportunities to practice:
- Patient Care (PC1 – Emergency Stabilization, PC4 – Diagnosis, PC9 – General Approach to Procedures)
- Medical Knowledge (MK)
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills (ICS2 – Team Management)
Educational Theory Behind the Innovation
Rapid cycle deliberate practice (RCDP) is a novel educational practice gaining traction in healthcare. RCDP represents a conceptual model for skill acquisition that provides for timely and focused education.7
Simulation training, with integration of RCDP, presents a ripe opportunity to:
- Review procedural steps
- Support the development of a mental model between medical providers
- Deliberately practice procedural skills under the supervision of a senior resident or faculty member for formative feedback
- Support the development of muscle memory for procedural skills
This activity is designed for emergency medicine residents.
The ideal group size is 6-10 learners per model.
Table 1: Biosimulation Model Materials and Cost
|Pork Belly (12 lbs)||$36|
|Pig Skin (3 lbs)||$7.50|
|Squid (2 whole)||$3.00|
|Pig stomach of adult size, multiple||$10|
|Clear plastic grocery bags||Free from grocery store|
|Foley catheter x 2||Expired supply (ED)|
|3L tap water||Free from sink|
|Gaumard S500 Original Childbirth Simulator (includes non-articulating simulation baby fetus)||Loan from the Rector Clinical Skills & Simulation Center|
|Gaumard S500 Articulating Newborn||Loan from the Rector Clinical Skills & Simulation Center|
|Suction tubing||Expired supply (ED)|
|Umbilical cord tubing from foley catheter||Expired supply (ED)|
|Suture (3-0 to 0-0 nylon, any type)||Expired supply (OR)|
|Laceration tray||Expired supply (ED)|
|Gloves||Expired supply (OR)|
|Blunt scissors||Loan from ED|
|Scalpel (10 blade)||Expired supply (ED)|
|Absorbent floor mats||Expired supply (ED)|
|PPE (mask, gown, boots)||Expired supply (ED)|
Detailed Description of the Innovation
Two high-fidelity, tissue-based task-trainer models were constructed and tested on a convenience sample of 14 EM residents. Participants included 5 PGY-1 residents, 6 PGY-2 residents, and 3 PGY-3 residents. The simulation occurred during the monthly journal club literature review, held in a classroom on the medical campus. The simulated human placenta, bladder, and uterus were constructed through the use of porcine skin, porcine stomach, and a squid mantle, and secured in place with nylon sutures. The amniotic sac was constructed with a transparent plastic bag that contained a flexible Sim Baby and was filled with warm water, representing amniotic fluid, through a Foley catheter. Each model was placed into a Guamard S500 Childbirth Simulator with an overlying porcine belly to simulate the gravid abdomen. Each model required <1 hour for assembly.
Emergent hysterotomy was first demonstrated by an EM faculty facilitator. Learners then proceeded with hands-on deliberate practice. Errors in technique were immediately corrected at each step, and preceding steps were reviewed prior to continuing the procedure. Learners were cycled twice through both simulators with rapid cycle feedback, utilizing the micro-debriefing format (feedback was delivered immediately as each step in the procedure was performed). The biosimulation models were reset between procedures via reimplantation of the fetus model with placenta inside new plastic bags with all previous lacerations repaired with nylon suture. Formal quantitative and qualitative feedback were solicited at the end of the workshop using a previously validated survey for low-fidelity resuscitative hysterotomy by Sampson et al.6
Quantitative evaluation of the simulated training session was extracted through a 5-item questionnaire using a 5-point Likert-type scale, ranging from a score of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). [Figure 2].
The response rate was 100% from participants. Responses were overwhelmingly positive [24.13 (+/- 1.36)].
Nearly all residents indicated that the model:
- Accurately represented of human anatomy: [4.63 (+/- 0.62)]
- Helped them become more familiar with the procedure: [4.94 (+/- 0.25)]
- Effectively prepared them to perform resuscitative hysterotomy: [4.88 (+/- 0.34)]
- Resulted in knowledge gained that would be directly applicable to future clinical shifts [4.75 (+/- 0.58)]
Qualitative feedback highlighted learners’ appreciation for this novel, tissue-based simulation task trainer that allowed for hands-on practice.
Suggestions for improvement included:
- Increase the number of models available
- Simulate ongoing CPR during the procedure to reflect a more realistic clinical scenario
- Provide a visual printout of the procedural steps with the model.
All participants recommended that the training session be available to future learners.
The study was limited in power due to being at a single center, and the small sample size of EM learners. This project was able to reproduce the survey questions previously described by Sampson et. al on a low-fidelity resuscitative hysterotomy model with a smaller sample size (n=9).6 Due to the small sample sizes from both studies, statistical significance was unable to be obtained. Nevertheless, both studies showed the preference for hands on simulation over traditional lectures and reading alone, the improvement in procedural competency, and usefulness for future emergency department shifts.
Resuscitative hysterotomy is a high-stakes, low-frequency procedure that demands provider practice and confidence. Review of procedural steps, indications, and materials needed is imperative to the success of this procedure. Our hybrid, tissue-based hysterotomy model represents a feasible opportunity for training. The model is cost-conscious, easily reproducible, and portable, and allows for ample deliberate practice of the procedure.
Appendix 1: Obstetrical Simulation Models/Task Trainers/Simulators
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