Aspiring heart surgeons can get serious hands-on training at The Ohio State University Medical Center.
Medical school students are now able to experience through a simulation lab what it’s like to perform heart surgeries.
Dr. Nahush Mokadam, who leads this instruction, was involved in the development of what is known as Kind Heart technology.
There are only a few of these simulators in the world. The technology includes a complete cardiac surgery simulation system that makes a real pig heart behave just like a human heart during open-heart surgery.
Dr. Mokadam said a pig heart works because it is about the size of a human heart.
“It’s been modified with various tubes and balloons, so it looks like it’s beating when it’s beating, and it looks like it’s stopped when it stops,” Dr. Mokadam said.
It may be surprising to learn that cardiac simulation has never been part of cardiac surgery. Dr. Mokadam said instead surgeons got on the job training.
“It’s not like we’re taking novices and teaching this but at the same time there’s things we can teach people in the simulation lab that we can’t teach in the operating room with real patients,” Dr. Mokadam said.
The coursework is prescribed in a textbook. Students, for example, learned to perform one of the most common operations which is an aortic valve replacement.
The lab is set up just like an operating room, although it is not sterile.
Students wear hats, gowns, and gloves because instructors believe the more real, they make it feel in simulation lab, the more natural it will feel in the operating room.