Every year in the U.S., there are nearly half a million burn injury patients that require treatment, with approximately 40,000 with required hospitalizations and 3,400 deaths. Many burn patients must undergo a critical surgical procedure called an escharotomy, in which precise cuts are made through the eschar (burned skin) of a patient to relieve constriction caused by burn wounds. Traditionally, surgical training has relied only on cadaver dissection and supervised operating room training, however both methods have proven to be inefficient due to scarcity of resources and time.
To address this training gap, SIMETRI developed the Escharotomy training system. This physical task trainer uses common, commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and integrates with Laerdal SimMan and Simulaids Rescue Randy commercial manikins, which are used throughout the healthcare system.
Angela Albán, SIMETRI’s president and CEO explained, “An escharotomy is a crucial procedure that is used in burn units around the world, as well as on the battlefield, so opportunities for better training are important steps in improving the outcomes for burn patients.”
The escharotomy procedure is the leading treatment for abdominal compartment syndrome and intra-abdominal hypertension in severely burned patients. It mitigates the risk of death, amputation, loss of limb mobility, and tissue loss. It’s the only effective means of restoring peripheral circulation and adequate ventilation for deep circumferential burns of the extremities and upper torso.
Additionally, studies show that virtual reality simulation can also help fill this training gap because it offers repeated practice of high-risk procedures in a risk-free environment. Developing a curriculum and design to complement the training system is a priority for SIMETRI moving forward.
The Escharotomy Training System is being demonstrated as a stand-alone part-task training device by the U.S. Army Futures Command in the Joint Program Manager for Medical Modeling and Simulation at I/ITSEC at Booth #2185.