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Novel paediatric pericardiocentesis simulator: a collaboration between the Departments of Pediatrics and Biomedical Engineering
  1. Nancy M. Tofil1,2,
  2. Chrystal Rutledge1,2,
  3. Sai Krishna Surapa Raju1,2,
  4. Jerri Lynn Zinkan2,
  5. Carrie Norwood2,
  6. Stacy Gaither1,2,
  7. Alan Eberhardt3
  1. 1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  2. 2 Children’s of Alabama, Pediatric Simulation Center, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  3. 3 Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  1. Correspondence to Stacy Gaither, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA; sgaither{at}

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Cardiac tamponade is a life-threatening compression of the heart due to accumulation of fluid surrounding the heart. It occurs in two out of 10 000 people annually and is universally fatal if the fluid is not timely drained.1 The more rapidly accumulation occurs, the quicker the patient develops symptoms, including dyspnoea, fatigue and chest pain.2 Vital sign changes include tachycardia, tachypnoea and hypotension with a narrow pulse pressure. Pericardiocentesis is the required treatment to drain this fluid improving cardiac output.3

Simulation is an adjunct education tool to practise rare but crucial procedures.1 Current manikins do not have the capabilities to practise pericardiocentesis. Only torso task trainers are available.4 5 Our objective was to develop a pericardiocentesis trainer model that could both reliably recreate the procedure and be placed in a manikin, with no fluid leakage.


Model assembly and design

The Department of Biomedical Engineering collaborated with the Department of Pediatrics to build an inexpensive pericardiocentesis model with the following constraints:

  1. Fit existing child simulators without significant chest wall distortion.

  2. Have components to protect simulator both structurally and electronically from fluid spills using self-sealing technology.

  3. Provide realistic fluid removal.

  4. Have easily refillable fluid compartment that does not require direct access to task trainer.

  5. Costs less than $500 budget.

The final design encompasses a two-piece tray system, a top and bottom tray, attached by a peg …

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  • Contributors NMT conceptualised and designed the device and study, collected data, drafted the initial manuscript, and reviewed and revised the manuscript. CR conceptualised and designed the study, collected data, and reviewed and revised the manuscript. SKSR, JLZ, CN and SG collected and analysed data and reviewed and revised the manuscript. AE conceptualised, designed, and ensured manufacturing of the device and reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding Funding for this project was from the NIH (1R25HD078327-01A1).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Institutional Review Board at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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