Education| Volume 48, ISSUE 4, P481-491, April 2015

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Emergency Medicine Residents' Knowledge of Mechanical Ventilation

Published:December 09, 2014DOI:



      Although Emergency physicians frequently intubate patients, management of mechanical ventilation has not been emphasized in emergency medicine (EM) residency curricula.


      The objective of this study was to quantify EM residents' education, experience, and knowledge regarding mechanical ventilation.


      We developed a survey of residents' educational experiences with ventilators and an assessment tool with nine clinical questions. Correlation and regression analyses were performed to evaluate the relationship between residents' scores on the assessment instrument and their training, education, and comfort with ventilation.


      Of 312 EM residents, 218 responded (69.9%). The overall correct response rate for the assessment tool was 73.3%, standard deviation (SD) ± 22.3. Seventy-seven percent (n = 167) of respondents reported ≤ 3 h of mechanical ventilation education in their residency curricula over the past year. Residents reported frequently caring for ventilated patients in the ED, as 64% (n = 139) recalled caring for ≥ 4 ventilated patients per month. Fifty-three percent (n = 116) of residents endorsed feeling comfortable caring for mechanically ventilated ED patients. In multiregression analysis, the only significant predictor of total test score was residents' comfort with caring for mechanically ventilated patients (F = 10.963, p = 0.001).


      EM residents report caring for mechanically ventilated patients frequently, but receive little education on mechanical ventilation. Furthermore, as residents' performance on the assessment tool is only correlated with their self-reported comfort with caring for ventilated patients, these results demonstrate an opportunity for increased educational focus on mechanical ventilation management in EM residency training.


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