Emergency department resuscitative procedures: Animal laboratory training improves procedural competency and speed

Catherine B. Custalow, Jeffrey A. Kline, John A. Marx, Michael R. Baylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


Certain resuscitative procedures can be lifesaving, but are performed infrequently by emergency medicine (EM) residents on human subjects. Alternative training methods for gaining procedural proficiency must be explored and tested. Objective: To test whether animal laboratory training (ALT) is associated with sustained improvement in procedural competency and speed. Methods: After watching an educational videotape of saphenous cutdown (SAPH), thoracotomy (THOR), and cricothyroidotomy (CRIC), EM residents were randomized to receive either a tutored ALT session on live anesthetized pigs (Group A) or no ALT session (Group B). Residents were tested six months later by performing procedures on live anesthetized pigs. Videotaped procedures were evaluated by blinded examiners for the number of critical steps, complications, and procedure times. Results: Group A (n = 10) achieved a higher number of critical steps compared with Group B (n = 8) for SAPH (15.4 ± 0.7 vs. 9.0 ± 1.8, p = 0.03) and THOR (17.4 ± 0.6 vs. 12.3 ± 1.6, p = 0.009), but not CRIC (18.1 ± 0.4 vs. 16.2 ± 1.0, p = 0.1). Group A completed procedures in less time than Group B for SAPH (Wilcoxon X2 = 4.0, p = 0.04) and THOR (X2 = 4.4, p = 0.04), but not CRIC (X2 = 0.9, p = 0.3). There was no difference in the number of complications for any of the procedures. Conclusion: Residents with animal laboratory training six months prior to testing demonstrated improved procedural competency and speed in the performance of resuscitative procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-586
Number of pages12
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Animal use alternatives
  • Competency-based education
  • Cricothyroidotomy
  • Educational models
  • Thoracotomy
  • Venous cutdown

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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