Simulation-Based Education

Anesthesia Simulation Laboratory

For years, pilots have been trained and tested in realistic, full-scale aircraft simulators. Now, analogous technology is being used for medical education. The Department of Anesthesiology utilizes the Arizona Simulation Technology & Education Center (ASTEC), which is a new 30,000 sq. ft. facility dedicated to providing interprofessional learning opportunities in a high-tech, realistically simulated environment. The simulator laboratory consists of mock operating rooms with an adjacent control room and debriefing area. The mock operating rooms contain state-of-the-art, full scale interactive human patient simulators connected to conventional OR equipment.

ASTEC is used for all levels of anesthesia training, from an introduction to basic anesthesia concepts and skills to advanced crisis management. It is used to teach paramedics, medical students, anesthesiology residents, and experienced anesthesiologists.

More information about ASTEC can be found at their website: www.astec.arizona.edu

Simulator training sessions can include any of the following learning objectives:

Pharmacology - The simulator recognizes injected drugs and inhaled anesthetics, responding with appropriate cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous system changes. This enables realistic demonstrations of specific drug effects, drug interactions, and the effects of varying pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

Physiology - The patient simulator incorporates respiratory and cardiovascular physiologic models. Internal factors, such as pulmonary compliance, cardiac contractility, and systemic vascular resistance can be varied to dynamically demonstrate respiratory and cardiovascular physiologic principles.

Airway Management - The realistic and dynamic airway is used to teach routine intubation as well as difficult airway management. The simulator can be programmed for a variety of different patient profiles with underlying pathologies or conditions. Students may or may not be apprised of all such conditions as they create and implement an anesthetic plan for a given surgery.

Monitoring - The patient simulator generates signals for a wide variety of invasive and noninvasive respiratory and cardiovascular monitors. Students are taught to interpret EKG waveforms, arterial pressure waveforms, capnometry, oximetry, and central venous waveforms.

Anesthetic Planning - The simulator can be programmed for a variety of different patient profiles with underlying pathologies or conditions. Students may or may not be apprised of all such conditions as they create and implement an anesthetic plan for a given surgery.

Crisis Management - Critical events can be triggered during a training session. The student can practice managing common critical events, such as respiratory arrest, and rare events, such as malignant hyperthermia or local anesthetic systemic toxicity. Subsequent debriefing sessions are used to review the subject's performance and suggest areas for improvement.