Get a Virtual Reality Glimpse of OR Emergency Training (Video)

Novel way to prep trainees for rare surgical crises

The best way to learn about managing emergencies in the OR is to actually experience one. But cardiac surgery residents may complete five or six years of training without ever being exposed to some of the major emergencies they can face as practicing surgeons

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To partially bridge that training gap, Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery has started using virtual reality (VR) simulations of rare OR emergencies for its surgical residents. “The aim is to provide immersive exposure to an emergency scenario in the OR as realistically as possible,” explains Douglas Johnston, MD, the cardiac surgeon who spearheads the effort, part of a broader initiative designed to promote principles of elite performance throughout the department, as profiled in this earlier post.

In the two-minute video below, Dr. Johnston narrates as a volunteer tries out the VR experience of a simulated OR emergency — in this case, a patient who has gone into ventricular fibrillation at the end of heart surgery. We see the scenario through the VR headset of the volunteer surgical trainee.