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Trauma training: virtual reality applications.

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  • 1National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.


Training medics, medical students, nurses, and residents to perform trauma care skills presents many obstacles. These include: emergent nature of the procedures, instructor time, availability of clinical material, and anatomic knowledge. Virtual Reality simulators address each of these obstacles. The National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center is a unique national asset that not only uses state-of-the-art simulators to teach trauma care skills to medical students and others, but adapts existing technology and develops new simulations to teach these skills. Most standard trauma training is performed on either mannequins or anesthetized animals and requires the constant presence of an instructor. VR applications can be stand-alone devices that have built-in scenarios and multiple patients to increase variation and/or level of technical expertise required to successfully complete the required steps of the trauma procedure. Commercial VR simulators to teach trauma skills include: CathSim Intravenous Simulator (HT Medical), UltraSim Ultrasound Simulator (MedSim), Limb Trauma Simulator (Musculographics/BDI), and the Human Patient Simulator (MedSim). Additionally, we have developed two additional simulators based on the HT CathSim; these are the pericardiocentesis simulator and the diagnostic peritoneal lavage simulator. Future applications include virtual environment triage simulation and surgical airway simulators.

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