Inappropriately Firing Defibrillator: A Simulation Case for Emergency Medicine Residents

Rachel Lauren Thorpe, Namit Rohant, Michael Cryer, Christopher Gainey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Emergency physicians must be able to manage inappropriately firing defibrillators. Many physicians may not experience this high-risk, low-frequency patient presentation during residency. We created this simulation to increase residents' knowledge of basic defibrillator function and confidence in managing patients with malfunctioning defibrillators. Methods: Sixteen emergency medicine residents of all levels of training participated in this curriculum. The educational experience began with a lecture. Residents then managed the simulated patient encounter in groups of four. The patient was a 63-year-old male presenting after feeling his defibrillator fire. He was found to have a supraventricular tachycardia with an inappropriately firing defibrillator. Learners needed to recognize the inappropriately firing defibrillator, inactivate it with a magnet, and treat the arrhythmia. Implementation of this scenario required audiovisual equipment and a simulation room equipped with high-fidelity simulator, patient monitor, code cart, defibrillator, and pacemaker magnet. Learners completed pre- and postcourse surveys to assess changes in baseline knowledge of defibrillator function and self-reported confidence in managing these complicated patients. Results: After participating in this educational intervention, residents improved their performance on a 10-question quiz from a class mean of 60% to 84% (p < .001). Residents also exhibited an increase in self-reported confidence in managing patients with inappropriately firing defibrillators (p < .001) and in knowing when to place a magnet over a patient's defibrillator (p < .001). Discussion: Residents demonstrated increased knowledge of defibrillator function as well as increased confidence in managing patients with malfunctioning defibrillators after participating in this simulation experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10808
Number of pages1
JournalMedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources
StatePublished - 27 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Defibrillator
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Simulation
  • Supraventricular Tachycardia


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