Villanueva C, Xiong J, Rajput S. Simulation-based surgical education in cardiothoracic training. ANZ J Surg. 2020 Jun;90(6):978-983

PMID: 31828909


Simulation has emerged as a feasible adjunct to surgical education and training for most specialties. It provides trainees with an immersive, realistic way to learn a variety of skills in a safe environment with the end goal of improving patient safety. There are three broad types of simulators: full mannequin simulators, part-task trainers or bench models and virtual reality systems. This review aims to describe the current use of simulation in cardiothoracic surgical education and training. We identified multiple procedures that can be simulated in cardiothoracic surgery using a combination of the above simulators, three-dimensional printing and computer-based simulation. All studies that assessed the efficacy of simulators showed that simulation enhances learning and trainee performance allowing for repetitive training until the acquisition of competence but further research into how it translates into the operating theatre is required. In Australia, cardiac surgery simulation is not yet part of the training curricula, but simulators are available for certain tasks and procedures.