Department of Emergency Medicine, White Plains Hospital, White Plains, USA. Department of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, USA. Department of Emergency Medical Services, Westchester Community College, Valhalla, USA.
INTRODUCTION Trauma is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) often arrive first at the scene of traumatic injuries to perform life-saving skills such as tourniquet placement. While current EMT courses teach and test tourniquet application, studies have shown efficacy and retention of EMT skills such as tourniquet placement decay over time, with
educational interventions needed to improve retention of skills. METHODS A prospective randomized pilot study was conducted to determine differences in retention of tourniquet placement among 40 EMT students after initial training. Participants were randomly assigned to either a virtual reality (VR) intervention or a control group. The VR group received instruction from a refresher VR program 35 days after initial training as a supplement to their EMT course. Both the VR and control participants' tourniquet skills were assessed 70 days after initial training by blinded instructors. Results: There was no significant difference in correct tourniquet placement between both groups (Control, 63% vs Intervention, 57%, p = 0.57). It was found that 9/21 participants (43%) in the VR intervention group failed to correctly apply the tourniquet while 7/19 of the control participants (37%) failed in tourniquet application. Additionally, the VR group was more likely to fail the tourniquet application due to improper tightening than the control group during the final assessment (p = 0.04). Conclusion: In this pilot study, using a VR headset in conjunction with in-person training did not improve the efficacy and retention of tourniquet placement skills. Participants who received the VR intervention were more likely to have errors relating to haptics, rather than procedure-related errors.