Development of a porcine model of emergency resternotomy at a low-volume cardiac surgery centre

Timothy M. Guenther, Sarah A. Chen, Joshua D. Gustafson, Curtis J. Wozniak, Bob Kiaii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emergency resternotomy in the intensive care unit (ICU) is a rarely performed, yet potentially life-saving intervention. Success relies on recognition of a deteriorating clinical condition, timely deployment of equipment/personnel and rapid execution. Given how infrequently it is performed, we sought to develop a large animal model of resternotomy to prepare ICU nurses and technicians at our low-volume cardiac surgery military centre. A porcine model of resternotomy was developed at the end of an already-scheduled trauma lab. Participants worked their way through a pre-planned simulation scenario, culminating in the need for resternotomy. Pre-simulation surveys assessing knowledge and comfort level with aspects of resternotomy were compared to post-simulation surveys. Participants improved their knowledge of resternotomy by 20.4% (P < 0.0001; 14.7% for nurses and 26.9% for technicians). Improvements were seen in all aspects assessed relating to subjective comfort/preparedness of resternotomy. The model was an effective and realistic method to augment training of ICU staff about resternotomy. Costs associated with this model can be reduced when used in conjunction with large animal labs. This model should be used together with mannequin-based methods of resternotomy training to provide a realistic training environment and assessment of skills at capable institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-805
Number of pages3
JournalInteractive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Cardiac surgery simulation
  • Emergency resternotomy
  • Resternotomy in the intensive care unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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