A review of epidural simulators: Where are we today?
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Authors: Vaughan, N., Dubey, V.N., Wee, M.Y.K. and Isaacs, R.
Journal: Medical Engineering and Physics
Thirty-one central neural blockade simulators have been implemented into clinical practice over the last thirty years either commercially or for research. This review aims to provide a detailed evaluation of why we need epidural and spinal simulators in the first instance and then draws comparisons between computer-based and manikin-based simulators. This review covers thirty-one simulators in total; sixteen of which are solely epidural simulators, nine are for epidural plus spinal or lumbar puncture simulation, and six, which are solely lumbar puncture simulators. All hardware and software components of simulators are discussed, including actuators, sensors, graphics, haptics, and virtual reality based simulators. The purpose of this comparative review is to identify the direction for future epidural simulation by outlining necessary improvements to create the ideal epidural simulator. The weaknesses of existing simulators are discussed and their strengths identified so that these can be carried forward. This review aims to provide a foundation for the future creation of advanced simulators to enhance the training of epiduralists, enabling them to comprehensively practice epidural insertion in vitro before training on patients and ultimately reducing the potential risk of harm. © 2013 IPEM.