CONTACT: TOM MOORE
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: September 24, 1999
UI Health Care unveils new anesthesia patient simulator
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- What breathes, has a pulse and
reacts to medications just like a real person, but is not a living being?
It's the new, state-of-the art patient simulator now being used by anesthesia
specialists with University of Iowa Health Care.
The patient system is an anatomically correct, adult-size
mannequin which appears to be nearly lifelike. Professors in the UI department
of anesthesia will use the new patient simulator to train anesthesiologists,
medical students and other health care professionals.
"The value of the patient simulator as a teaching
tool cannot be overstated," said David Brown, M.D., UI professor and head
of anesthesia. "The technology allows us to create or reproduce both routine
and emergency situations in a controlled environment without any risk to human
The patient simulator is controlled by a computer.
It can be programmed to mimic a wide range of conditions that may affect patients
in an operating room. Chest sounds and movement, pulse, pupil reaction, blood
pressure and neurologic responses are just some of the lifelike features of
the patient simulator. Intubation can be performed and chest tubes can be
inserted. The patient simulator is connected to an anesthesia machine and
other life support monitors just as a real patient would be. The simulator
reacts just as a real patient would to anesthetic agents and other medications.
The patient simulator is placed in a very detailed
mock operating room. The setting creates a very realistic environment that
can be used to instruct and challenge students.
"The applications of this system for medical education
and research are extensive," said Ann Perino, M.D., UI assistant professor
of anesthesia and director of the Human Patient Simulator Program. "The technology
is so adaptable that its potential for education is limited only by our imaginations."
The patient simulator can be programmed to create
a sequence of events to which students must respond to safeguard the "health"
of the simulated patient. An instructor can vary the response of the patient
simulator to present students with new scenarios. In addition to anesthesia
residents' training, the patient simulator can also be used to help practicing
anesthesiologists earn continuing medical education credits. Nurse anesthetists,
respiratory therapists, emergency treatment specialists, paramedics, surgery
teams and intensive care specialists will also use the system.
The advanced system costs approximately $225,000 and
is one of only a few in the Midwest. The unit is manufactured by MedSim. About
20 MedSim patient simulators are in use across the United States, with about
50 in existence worldwide.
Future plans call for the addition of an infant-size
mannequin to the system to allow for pediatric anesthesia and pediatric intensive
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership
between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the
patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.