New training simulator supports ECMO excellence at Swedish

Swedish's ECMO Program caregivers have a new, leading-edge training tool that supports the highest-quality care for cardiac patients. Swedish Foundation donors made it possible.     

Swedish is home to an advanced cardiac support service that provides lifesaving care to severely ill patients with heart failure. Located at our Cherry Hill campus, the program offers comprehensive care to patients experiencing heart failure, including specialized heart-lung machines for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO, which are used to treat heart failure patients who are also in need of circulatory support. ECMO is administered for patients experiencing a number of conditions, including heart attack, post-transplant complications, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and COVID-19 complications.

“ECMO is basically the pump that takes over the work of both the heart and the lungs. During surgery people are on this type of pump for several hours, but with ECMO [which is used for patients in severe heart and lung failure after something like COVID or a severe heart attack] we have had a patient on this pump days to weeks, the longest was 108 days. We use it to sustain a person’s life while the underlying heart or lung problems are corrected,” says John Mignone, M.D., ECMO program director at the Swedish Heart and Vascular Institute's John L. Locke Jr. Advanced Cardiac Support Program.

Initiated in 2015, Swedish’s ECMO program was a first in Seattle and today works with hospitals around the Puget Sound region to provide ECMO care for patients and collaborate in training for ECMO teams that have gotten up and running over the last several years.  

The program’s expert caregivers recently received a new, leading-edge training tool: the E-SIM Pro 2 ECMO training simulator. The E-SIM Pro 2 is an electronic “patient” with a cardiovascular and circulatory system designed to closely mimic a patient on ECMO. The E-SIM Pro 2 ECMO training simulator is equipped with a variety of sensors and computer-controlled components to simulate the flow of blood and gas through the ECMO circuit. Staff can practice a wide range of scenarios, including changing oxygen levels, adjusting pump flow rates, and managing pressure. Sensors and extensive pre-programming allow staff to practice skills including perfusion and cannulation training because it allows staff to practice the placement of tubes in a variety of different anatomical locations.

The E-SIM Pro 2 enables staff to gain valuable experience without risking the health and safety of patients. It will also reduce the need for expensive ECMO machine rentals and other costs associated with traditional training methods. A less tangible benefit is the confidence caregivers will bring to caring for very sick patients.

Training with the device also offers significant benefits to patients, including enhanced outcomes, increased safety and improved patient outcomes can lead to a higher quality of life for patients and their families.

“Having the right tools for education and training is so important, especially for ECMO patients,” explains Erin Lomas, RN, MSN, Swedish’s ECMO program coordinator. “Previously we had limitations around [tools for] cannulation training. Many of the skills associated with ECMO are skills we learn on the job. This simulator is excellent to learn troubleshooting in the fastest manner possible while keeping our patients as safe as possible. We can run whatever scenarios we want to and, ultimately, this allows us to continually improve our program and care for our patients.”    

Our community’s support of research, training and patient care initiatives is invaluable. Philanthropic support from generous donors to the Swedish Foundation made the purchase of the E-SIM Pro 2 possible.

Photos by Mike Kane

About Providence Swedish

Providence Swedish has served the Puget Sound region since the first Providence hospital opened in Seattle in 1877 and the first Swedish hospital opened in 1910. The two organizations affiliated in 2012 and today comprise the largest health care delivery system in Western Washington, with 22,000 caregivers, eight hospitals and 244 clinics. A not-for-profit family of organizations, Providence Swedish provides more than $406 million in community benefit in the Puget Sound Region each year. The health system offers a comprehensive range of services and specialty and subspecialty care in a number of clinical areas, including cancer care, cardiovascular health, neurosciences, orthopedics, digestive health and women’s and children’s care. 

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