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The Center for Cardiothoracic Simulation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill performs training, innovation, and research with all levels of medical trainees.


The surgery residents and medical students perform numerous surgical tasks as part of their training. The team also leads many bootcamps and training sessions for trainees throughout the country.


The Center for Cardiothoracic Simulation has developed two simulators which allow for a full operative experience with cardiac surgery and with lung surgery (both open and thoracoscopic) without the use of live animals.

The lifelike simulators, which use porcine organs, are used in cardiothoracic surgery education and training at the local and national levels. The simulators use organs that have been re-animated using hydraulics, reperfusion, and computer orchestration, and are then placed in a human equivalent model.

Ramphal Cardiac Surgery Simulator (RCSS)
Fiens_heartThe RCSS was invented by Dr. Paul Ramphal and colleagues at the University of the West Indies Mona in 2001 and published in the European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2005 (Euro J Cardiothorac Surg 27(5):910-916, 2005). It lay dormant until January 2008, when it was reactivated at the CCTS at UNC under sponsorship of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and the University of North Carolina.

UNC Thoracic Surgery Simulator
A similar strategy has been used to develop the UNC Thoracic Surgery Simulator, which is capable of simulating open chest procedures and thoracoscopic chest procedures. It can be used to simulate left hilar dissection, left upper and lower lobectomies, thoracoscopic wedge resections, pleural biopsy, pericardial window, and thoracoscopic lobectomy

More information about these models and other innovation work by Dr Fiens is available here.


Posts about simulation activities in Cardiothoracic Surgery

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