Internal and Emergency Medicine

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 99–102 | Cite as

Cadaver-based training is superior to simulation training for cricothyrotomy and tube thoracostomy

  • James Kimo TakayesuEmail author
  • David Peak
  • Dana Stearns


Emergency medicine (EM) training mandates that residents be able to competently perform low-frequency critical procedures upon graduation. Simulation is the main method of training in addition to clinical patient care. Access to cadaver-based training is limited due to cost and availability. The relative fidelity and perceived value of cadaver-based simulation training is unknown. This pilot study sought to describe the relative value of cadaver training compared to simulation for cricothyrotomy and tube thoracostomy. To perform a pilot study to assess whether there is a significant difference in fidelity and educational experience of cadaver-based training compared to simulation training. To understand how important this difference is in training residents in low-frequency procedures. Twenty-two senior EM residents (PGY3 and 4) who had completed standard simulation training on cricothyrotomy and tube thoracostomy participated in a formalin-fixed cadaver training program. Participants were surveyed on the relative fidelity of the training using a 100 point visual analogue scale (VAS) with 100 defined as equal to performing the procedure on a real patient. Respondents were also asked to estimate how much the cadaveric training improved the comfort level with performing the procedures on a scale between 0 and 100 %. Open-response feedback was also collected. The response rate was 100 % (22/22). The average fidelity of the cadaver versus simulation training was 79.9 ± 7.0 vs. 34.7 ± 13.4 for cricothyrotomy (p < 0.0001) and 86 ± 8.6 vs. 38.4 ± 19.3 for tube thoracostomy (p < 0.0001). Improvement in comfort levels performing procedures after the cadaveric training was rated as 78.5 ± 13.3 for tube thoracostomy and 78.7 ± 14.3 for cricothyrotomy. All respondents felt this difference in fidelity to be important for procedural training with 21/22 respondents specifically citing the importance of superior landmark and tissue fidelity compared to simulation training. Cadaver-based training provides superior landmark and tissue fidelity compared to simulation training and may be a valuable addition to EM residency training for certain low-frequency procedures.


Procedures Competence Patient care Patient simulation Cadaver Airway management Graduate medical education Residency Emergency medicine 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© SIMI 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Kimo Takayesu
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Peak
    • 1
  • Dana Stearns
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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