VAD Program
Simulation Initiative

VAD Simulation Initiative - Practice Makes Perfect

In addition to providing traditional education for our staff, we are one of the first pediatric centers to include high fidelity simulation training for VADs. High fidelity simulation is the use of computerized manikins to simulate real life scenarios.  Clinicians can assess the manikin’s pulses, cardiac and respiratory sounds, and other physiologic responses while they provide treatment. This allows our staff to safely practice skills and work in a team environment similar to actual patient care.

These simulations can be performed in a lab such as at our Simulation Center  or on the actual patient care units such as the CICU, step down unit, and the emergency department. This type of simulation, or in-situ simulation, allows the team to practice in their normal work environment. It also helps us identify systems and safety concerns before they can harm a real patient.

While the use of VADs in pediatrics is growing, the number of pediatric VAD implants is still small in comparison to adult centers. VAD patients require complex care as we are not only caring for a patient but also a mechanical device. We use simulation to keep our clinicians proficient and current with the latest VAD innovations.

Some examples of simulations we have created include:

  • Right heart failure
  • Hypovolemia
  • Hypertension
  • Tamponade
  • Device failure

As one of the first centers to use this type of education with VADs, we are often asked to attend regional and national conferences to share our simulation knowledge.

Past Regional and National Conferences:

  • Berlin Heart User's Training, Cincinnati, OH, October 29-30, 2018
  • SynCardia TAH Multi-Hospital Training, Cincinnati, OH, August 20-21, 2018
  • American Heart Association Annual Scientific Sessions, Anaheim, CA, November 13, 2017
  • Berlin Heart North American Users Training, Orlando, FL, October 23-24, 2017
  • International Pediatric VAD Summit, Boston, October 20-21, 2016
  • Berlin Heart User's Training, Cincinnati, October 3-4, 2016
  • Regional Collaborative VAD Summit, Cincinnati, September 22-23, 2016
  • Specialist Education in Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (SEECMO) Annual Conference, Cincinnati, June 3-5, 2016
  • Berlin Heart North American Users Training, Cincinnati, October 2015
  • Cedars Sinai MCS Conference, Los Angeles, September 2015
  • ASAIO Annual Conference, Chicago, June 2015
  • Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society (PCICS) Annual Conference, Miami, December 2014
  • Cincinnati Children’s Heart Failure Summit, Cincinnati, September 2014
  • Regional Simulation Conference, Cincinnati, September 2014
  • American Society of Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO) Annual Conference, Washington DC, June 2014

Patient and Family Simulation Education


A Heartware patient and his mother participate in training simulation prior to discharge.

We also offer simulation education to our patients and families. Before discharge they are given the opportunity to practice caring for a simulated VAD patient. They can experience alarms and emergencies on the manikin first so that they are more prepared and comfortable in their home environment. This training not only tests their current knowledge but prompts them to consider other possible scenarios that could happen with the device.